Day 79: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 79: The Way Of The Warrior

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

The Way Of The Warrior

In our recent devotions we have been reviewing Samson’s conflict with the Philistines.  Samson’s call on his life was: he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” (Jdg. 13:5).  They were a determined and aggressive adversary, and they fought the Israelites hundreds of years, even until the time of King David.  Samson’s tactics were heavy-handed, and the Philistine’s response was barbaric.  There wasn’t a negotiated truce, rather fighting. Bashing and crashing, shock and awe.

After Samson’s most recent attack (15:8) he had destroyed Philistine crops then maimed the perpetrators. Then Samson removed himself: and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. (15:8).  The word ‘Etam’ means: ‘lair of the wild beasts.’  Samson was a survivalist.  He hid in the wilderness, alone.  The Philistines went looking for him. They will not stop their marauding brutality.  They patrol: Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. (Jdg. 15:9).  They encircle a Jewish city.  They were menacing.  Lehi had a large population, and they were at risk from these brutes.

The citizens of Lehi don’t blame the Philistines, they blame Samson.  Samson was confronted by his own people who were suffering from the conflict: Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?”  (15:11).  The scale of confrontation was growing, now bigger populations were getting sucked into this vortex of hostility. All this over a wedding party riddle!

The men from Lehi tried to reason with Samson: “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” (Jdg. 15:11).  Both Samson and the Lehi men are abysmally wrong, while the Philistines were demented.  No heroes here.

“Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us?  The Israelites were squishes willing to give in to the Philistines.  The Promised Land of Canaan was not the Philistines. The Lord gave Canaan to Abraham and his son; Isaac, and grandson Jacob. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. (Gen. 17:7).  Everlasting means forever…. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” (Gen. 17:8).  Hint: The Philistines were not the title holders to this real estate.  Sorry, men of Lehi.  You forgot your Bible — God’s doesn’t forget.

The Lord intended to kick the Philistines out of Canaan.  He’s going to use Samson.  But Samson was being petty, and small-minded, forgetting the bigger picture.  He was thinking about the wrongs done to him – though they’re grievous.  Will either the men of Lehi, or Samson choose the greater glory of God for their strategy?  Nope, neither.

And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.”  (Jdg. 15:12).  They brought plenty of men – 3,000 to help (15:11).  So much for their perspective of honoring the Lord and his plan.  Their choosing personal safety over God’s will.  This is not an unusual choice.  It happened to Jesus.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, not all were thrilled: So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. (John 11:47).  Sounds like the men from Lehi. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”        (11:48).  Hmmm, sounds like personal safety and ambition were controlling their choices. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” (11:50).  Bingo! Self -preservation trumped God’s plan.  The Pharisees were like the men of Lehi. They will sacrifice their champion.

Back to Samson. He negotiates with the men of Lehi.  Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” (Jdg. 15:12). They said to him, “No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. (15:13).  The men of Lehi compromised.

Samson pretended to be taken captive, being brought to the enemy.  He was tied and transported to the Philistines, [like Jesus] and they: When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. (15:14).  ‘Shouting’ is a war cry, not an invitation to a parley. Enemies were intent on killing Samson, like Jesus centuries later.

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. (Matt. 27:1). So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” (John 19:5). When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” (19:6).

Back to Samson: The following melee was like a Super-hero movie, where the champion takes on a horde of enemy, and obliterates them.  Samson must have been like a whirling dervish, because: And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. (Jdg. 15:15).  Goodness!  Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Ironman all rolled into one.  Samson was one mean machine!

After the fight, he’s standing alone, piles of Philistines around him.  He thoughtfully makes a proverb!  And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.” (Jdg. 15:16). The word ‘struck’ means to beat and kill.  This was thuggish brutality.  It was probably justified as self-protection, but the impact on Samson will be profound.  Samson was all about hero-worship.  ‘Look at me!’  ‘See what I’ve done?’  He even counts the number he killed!

Listen, Biblical heroes are not always bright shining models of virtue.  The Bible presents them warts and all.  Though motivated by faith, they often perform acts of self-indulgence, or arrogance.  But the Lord does not abandon them, just as he will not abandon you.  If you fail, you won’t be thrown away, you’ll be reconstituted.  Don’t give up, God doesn’t.

There’s more to learn to learn from Samson’s life – stay tuned…

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

I beg that you don’t let me slide into self-absorption, and self-focus.  Grant me grace, so I might learn when I am selfish, giving myself an accurate self-assessment.  I do not wish to have glory at the expense of defilement.  I do not want you to suffer from my ignobility.  I do not want your reputation tarnished by my selfishness or foolishness. I wish humility over success.  I want godliness or gratification.  I want you to receive glory from my attitudes and behaviors, not regret because of my failure.

Then Lord, help me cultivate a humble spirit, with your help.  Let your Holy Spirit receive glittering honor through my life.  Let people get a sense of your presence when my behavior is redemptive and honoring.  Let people comprehend the God of glory, when I mirror your characteristics. Let your reputation be enhanced because of me.  I want you to receive the highest regard through my behavior and my attitudes.  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

Let's Talk

100% Confidential | Warrior-to-warrior

We respond within 24 hours and can provide community support, resources, and referrals.