Honey from the carcass, water in the wilderness, and springs of living water…

24 05 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY TWO : Judges 14 v. 1 – 15 v. 20; John 7 v. 14 – 44; Proverbs 11 v. 29 – 12 v. 7

JUDGES
Samson’s Marriage – Samson sees a Philistine woman he’d like to marry, and asks his parents to fetch her for him. They ask him why he should want to marry outside of his ‘people’. Samson is convinced she is the right one for him (his parents unaware that this might be God’s plan to confront the Philistines).
So Samson takes his parents with Him to Timnah, where a lion jumps out at them.
‘The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands…’
Samson’s parents don’t know of this. Samson talks with the young women and likes her more and more.
When Samson returns some time later to marry the woman, he spots the lion’s carcass, filled with bees and wild honey. He ate some of the honey, and gave some to his parents (who still didn’t know where it had come from).
Samson prepares a feast, while his father goes to see the young woman. He sets a riddle for his companions:
‘Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet’.
He challenges them to come up with the answer within seven days. After three unsuccessful days, they try to get Samson’s wife to get the answer by threatening that they will burn her and her father’s household to death.
She cries out to Samson, who eventually gives in and tells her the secret answer. She passes the answer on, so that just before the deadline set, the men of the town present the solution to Solomon’s riddle.
Samson is furious, and fulfils his side of the bargain of providing 30 linen garments and sets of clothes by going down to Ashkelon and killing thirty of their men. Samson returned to his father’s house (to cool down!).
‘And Samson’s wife was given to the friend who had attended him at his wedding.’
 
Samson’s Vengeance on the Philistines – At some time later, wheat-harvest, Samson (and a young goat) head off to visit his wife. His father didn’t want to let him go, and explains he thought Samson hated her so much, that he’d passed her on to his friend. ‘Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.’
Oh dear. Samson is angry again. This time, he ties 300 foxes in pairs (how long would it have taken him to catch 300 foxes?), ties firelights to their tails, and lets them go free in the Philistine fields, destroying their crops.
Then the Philistines take revenge against Samson by burning his wife and her father to death.
Samson, in return, lashes out and slaughters many Philistines, pledging to not stop until he has got his revenge. He heads off and camps out in a cave in the rock of Etam.
The Philistines progress into Judah where they explain they’ve come to take Samson prisoner.
3000 men from Judah go down to see Samson (in his cave – why so many men from Judah ??). Samson explains how he was only trying to get his own back on them. They, however tie Samson up, promising not to kill him themselves, but handing him over to the Philistines.
‘They bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock’.
Once again, as he approaches the Philistines, ‘the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power’. He finds a donkey’s jaw-bone and strikes down 1,000 men.
‘With a donkey’s jaw-bone I have made donkeys of them….’
then, he throws the jaw-bone away.
Even when Samson is struggling in the heat of the day, without water, and he complains to God that he might die of thirst, God opens up a hollow in the ground and fills it with water for Samson to drink.
Samson leads the Israelites for twenty years.

JOHN
Jesus Teaches at the Feast – so, Jesus has arrived secretly, and it’s not until half-way through the feast that Jesus goes to teach in the temple courts. His teaching is attracting attention – where did He get such knowledge?
Just as in Capernaum, Jesus is bold in proclaiming to the Jews there that His knowledge comes ‘from Him who sent me’. He is told, in return, that He is demon-possessed, and paranoid that some are out to kill Him.
He then has a go at them again about the Sabbath thing – why were they upset that He had healed on the Sabbath, when they are simply obeying other commands when they circumcise on the Sabbath.
‘Stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment.’

Is Jesus the Christ ?  – Now the people are discussing whether Jesus really can be the Christ, if they’re just letting Him preach and teach instead of arresting Him. And anyway, they quote the belief that the Christ will come from nowhere, whereas it is known full well that Jesus comes from Nazareth. Jesus says, ‘I am not here on my own, but He who sent me is true. You do not know Him, but I know Him because I am from Him and He sent me.’
Although they try to seize Him at this point, they fail to, because ‘his time had not yet come’.
Many others put their faith in Him, believing that no one else could possibly improve upon the number or impact of the miracles they’d seen Jesus perform.
The Pharisees hear these conversations and conversions and send guards to arrest Jesus. Jesus tells them that He is only around for a short time, and then He will be going somewhere they will be unable to go. The Pharisees are mystified…what does Jesus mean? Where does He intend to go ?
On the last (and greatest day) of the feast, Jesus proclaims:
If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink…whoever believes in me…streams of living water will flow from within him.’

John tells us that this ‘stream of living water’ is the Holy Spirit, who they would ‘receive’ later, after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension.

The response from some is that Jesus is ‘the Prophet’, others say ‘He is the Christ’, whilst others are confused – how can the Christ come from Galilee? Surely scripture prophesies that the Christ will come from Bethlehem. Jesus was, and continues to be, one who divides people.

Who do you say that Jesus is…..?

PROVERBS
He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind…
the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise…
whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid…
the plans of the righteous are just…the house of the righteous stands firm…’

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