Monday, July 9, 2018

Unholy Retribution

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

My psychology professor in Bible College was also the school’s President (one of his degrees was a PhD in psychology from Ohio State University). While we learned a lot about psychology from him, we also learned a lot about the Bible. He was so insightful. One day, he was talking about self-centeredness. I jotted down this quote from that class, “We are so full of ourselves. We get hurt by the smallest of things. The reason we are so easily offended is that we are still alive to self and full of pride.”

Sampson was like that. He was easily offended when things did not go his way. He was one of Israel’s last judges, a powerful warrior/judge who overcame many attacks by the Philistines. But he was full of himself, and that pride, along with lust, ultimately led to his downfall. 

A case in point is the time his wife got him to reveal the answer to a riddle he had given. The prize was to be thirty changes of clothing. She gave the answer away and that made him boiling mad. He went out and killed thirty men and took their clothing. 

Samson’s father thought he hated his wife, so he give her to Samson’s best man. Then one day, Samson took a goat and went to see his wife so he could “go into her tent and be with her.” When he realized what his father had done, he burned down some Philistine grain fields. In turn, his wife and her father were killed by the Philistines. When they did that, he took revenge by killing more Philistines. On and on it goes.

Samson’s eye-for-an-eye response only reinforced his selfish reputation as he said, “As they did to me, so I have done to them” [Judges 15.11].

God allowed some good to come from Samson’s life, but his selfishness and unbridled desire for retribution led to much heartbreak. 

I don’t know of a Christ follower who hasn’t been hurt or offended in one way or another. I have. And sometimes, like Samson, all one can think about is getting even - getting their pound of flesh. The only way I know to come against that is to recognize that “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God” [Galatians 2.20]. How does that help, you ask? When Christ is in us, we also have “the hope of glory” [Colossians 1.27]. 

Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? What is this you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” Judges 15.11

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