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It happened again. God’s children wandered off the path and did bad stuff. So God let the Philistines beat and push God’s people around for 40 years.
But one day, the Angel of the Lord appeared to a woman who had not been able to have any children and said to her, “You will have a son. You must never cut his hair, for this child will be dedicated to God from birth. He will begin to deliver God’s Family from the Philistine enemies. So be careful and don’t do anything that will make you dirty to God.”
The lady went and told her husband everything the angel said, and the angel appeared to him, too. Of course after that they did have a son, and they named him Samson.
As Samson grew, the Lord made him powerful, and God’s Spirit began to move him to take action. One day Samson traveled to a town where he noticed a Philistine woman. When he got home, he told his father and mother, “I want to marry that woman.”
His father and mother were shocked. They said, “Surely you can find a wife from God’s Family. Don’t get one from our enemies, the ungodly Philistines!”
But Samson said, “No, this Philistine woman is the right one for me.” (The Bible says that God was directing Samson to marry the woman in order to stir up trouble with the Philistines.)
As Samson headed back to the town of the young woman, on the way, a roaring young lion attacked him. Roar! The Lord’s Spirit made Samson super powerful, and he tore that lion into two pieces with his bare hands! But he didn’t tell anyone what he’d done.
Time went on as Samson made arrangements to marry the Philistine woman. One day when he was walking again on the road to her town, he turned off the road to look at the dead lion’s bones. Inside the bones, Samson saw a swarm of bees and their honey! He scooped some of the honey up with his hands and ate it as he walked along.
When it was time for Samson to marry the Philistine woman, he threw a big 7-day party (because that’s what the Philistines usually did). When the Philistines saw that Samson didn’t have any friends there with him, they sent him thirty guys to keep him company at his party.
Samson decided to have a little fun with them. He said to them, “I will give you a riddle. If you can solve it during the seven days of the party, then I will give you thirty robes and thirty sets of clothes. But if you can’t solve it, you will give me thirty robes and thirty sets of clothes.”
They said to him, “Okay, deal. Let’s hear your riddle.”
He told them, “Out of the one who eats came something to eat; out of the strong one came something sweet.”
For three days the men tried to solve the riddle, but they couldn’t figure it out. They did not want to lose and have to give Samson thirty robes and sets of clothes.
On the fourth day, they did a terrible, mean thing. They said to Samson’s bride, “Trick Samson into telling you the answer to the riddle. If you don’t, we’ll kill you and your father’s family.”
That must’ve scared her or something because Samson’s bride went along with their idea. She cried on Samson’s shoulder and said, “Oh Samson, you must hate me; you don’t love me! You told the young men a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer. Whah!”
This is very bad emotional blackmail. If you don’t know what that means you can ask an adult. But, it’s very ugly behavior for a lady! She should have just told Samson the truth about what the mean men said to her.
She cried on his shoulder until the party was almost over. Finally, on the seventh day, he was so tired of her Whah! Whah! Whahing! cry, cry, crying… fuss, fuss, fussing… nag, nag, nagging… that he told her.
Do you know what she did? She told the answer to the young men at the party!
That night just before the sun set, the men of the city said to Samson, “Hmmm… What’s sweeter than honey? What’s stronger than a lion?”
Samson knew right away that his wife had told them the answer. He said to them, “You wrongly used my wife to get the answer!”
Then the Lord’s Spirit made Samson superstrong and full of power. He left the party, killed thirty Philistine enemies, took their clothes, and gave them to the men who had “solved” the riddle. Then he furiously went back home (without his new wife).
His wife’s father actually gave Samson’s wife away to another man at the party. When Samson found out about that… Owwza!
Samson went and caught 300 foxes. (Don’t ask me how he caught 300 foxes, because I have no idea.) He tied torches of fire between their tails, 2 by 2, then he let the foxes loose in the Philistines’ fields, burning up their food. Talk about causing some trouble for the Philistines.
This made the Philistines so mad that they went and killed Samson’s wife and her father. That made Samson so mad he started killing all the Philistines around him. Then he went and hid in a cave.
Of course, more Philistines got mad. They started attacking the tribe of Judah.
The men of Judah said to the Philistines, “Why are you attacking us?”
“Because of Samson!” the Philistines answered, “You better hand him over to us, or we’ll keep attacking you!”
Three thousand men of Judah went and told Samson, “The Philistines want us to give you over to them.”
Samson answered them, “Go ahead and give me to them. Just promise not to kill me.”
What?! Turn their brother over to the enemy? This was one of the judges God had given them to help defeat their enemies! How was it going to help for him to be captured by the enemy?! Hmmm… Let’s see what happens.
The men of Judah promised not to kill Samson and then tied him up and gave him to the enemy.
How do you think that felt? To have your own brothers tie you up and hand you over to the enemy! Could that have felt a little humiliating? Maybe.
What happened next is one of those Incredibly Credible things. God gave Samson superpower strength. Samson was all wrapped up in two brand new strong ropes, but when he saw the enemy coming at him yelling, he broke those ropes like they were a little piece of burned grass.
Then he saw a jawbone of a donkey laying there, and he grabbed it and struck down a thousand enemies with it. ONE guy, beat up a thousand guys. That’s Incredibly Credible Superpower God-Stuff, huh?
Sometimes being useful to God starts in some strange (and maybe even humiliating) ways, huh? Samson had superpower strength because God was WITH him.
Do you know that later Jesus made a way for God to be not just with us, but IN us! If this is what God can do when He is WITH someone, can you imagine all God plans to do with people who have God living INSIDE them? Talk about super, super, superpowers!