Judges 15:1-20 (Part 2) – I Thirst, Me First!

Posted: September 19, 2017 in Book of Judges
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Judges 15:1-20 (Part 2 of 2)
Samson’s Vengeance on the Philistines

Isn’t strange how we sometimes we think God owes us happiness? We’ve been through hell and back concerning some event or stretch in our lives and we think that God owes us big time. I know that when I was going through both of my divorces, I felt at times as though God owed me some happiness. After all, He wants us to be happy, right? I thought if I survived loneliness, depression, starting over again, child support, doing without while others had plenty, I deserved some happiness. I was paying my dues. And the attitude was that if you pay your dues long enough, God will pay you back with happiness. The long-hard road was going to end at the end of the rainbow with a pot of gold.

That kind of attitude can lead you to justifying sin as well. God just wants me to be happy. It leads you to think, man, I am going through all this stuff that’s hard to deal with, I deserve this or I deserve that. It is kind of pride that comes from self-pity. I deserve to do this with this girl because God wants me to be happy. I deserve to do things that are clear from Scripture to be reserved for marriage because God just wants me to be happy. I can do all these things that God says are not good for me because God just wants me to be happy. I can do things that I said I’d never do because I am going through the valley and God will make an exception for me because we deserve happiness. Have you ever felt that way? God won’t mind this or that because you are having a rough time and God just wants us to have this stasis of happiness. We think that there is an equilibrium that must be achieved. If there is a big negative in our lives, that makes it OK for us to do things are sinful because it’s all about being happy. God won’t mind if I step out on my wife or my husband, because God just wants me to be happy. God won’t mind if I lie to get what I want, because God just wants me to be happy. It’s OK if I act unethically in a business deal, because, well, God just wants me to be happy. It’s OK to be mean to my brother because he took my toy, and, well, God just wants me to be happy. It’s OK to not say something when we should have and let someone else take the blame, because, well, God just wants me to be happy. It’s OK to steal this one time, because, God just wants me to be happy.

Just think how we all do that at times. There are certain lifestyle choices that we make and we justify them up one side and down the other by saying that God just wants us to be happy. If that means us living a lifestyle that is in opposition to God’s own Word, then, that’s OK because our happiness trumps God’s universal truths. We think our happiness is God’s greatest aim and if that means allowing us to contradict His timeless Word it’s OK. Happiness is superior to truth and moral absolutes. That’s the mentality that many of us have today. We are instant gratification generations now and we believe that we want what we want and we want it now. We justify it all through the mantra, “God just wants me to be happy!”

We see this same attitude from Samson in this passage, Judges 15:1-20 when he says, “Must I now die of thirst?” He had this I thirst, me first attitude. He felt he deserved some pleasure, some happiness, because he had done something God. We treat God the same way at times and it boils down to this thing about God just wanting us to be happy. Let’s read this chapter of Judges one more time this morning with that in mind:
15 Later on, during the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat as a present to his wife. He said, “I’m going into my wife’s room to sleep with her,” but her father wouldn’t let him in.

2 “I truly thought you must hate her,” her father explained, “so I gave her in marriage to your best man. But look, her younger sister is even more beautiful than she is. Marry her instead.”

3 Samson said, “This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.” 4 Then he went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and he fastened a torch to each pair of tails. 5 Then he lit the torches and let the foxes run through the grain fields of the Philistines. He burned all their grain to the ground, including the sheaves and the uncut grain. He also destroyed their vineyards and olive groves.

6 “Who did this?” the Philistines demanded.

“Samson,” was the reply, “because his father-in-law from Timnah gave Samson’s wife to be married to his best man.” So the Philistines went and got the woman and her father and burned them to death.

7 “Because you did this,” Samson vowed, “I won’t rest until I take my revenge on you!” 8 So he attacked the Philistines with great fury and killed many of them. Then he went to live in a cave in the rock of Etam.

9 The Philistines retaliated by setting up camp in Judah and spreading out near the town of Lehi. 10 The men of Judah asked the Philistines, “Why are you attacking us?”

The Philistines replied, “We’ve come to capture Samson. We’ve come to pay him back for what he did to us.”

11 So 3,000 men of Judah went down to get Samson at the cave in the rock of Etam. They said to Samson, “Don’t you realize the Philistines rule over us? What are you doing to us?”

But Samson replied, “I only did to them what they did to me.”

12 But the men of Judah told him, “We have come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”

“All right,” Samson said. “But promise that you won’t kill me yourselves.”

13 “We will only tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines,” they replied. “We won’t kill you.” So they tied him up with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.

14 As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph. But the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon Samson, and he snapped the ropes on his arms as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists. 15 Then he found the jawbone of a recently killed donkey. He picked it up and killed 1,000 Philistines with it. 16 Then Samson said,

“With the jawbone of a donkey,
I’ve piled them in heaps!
With the jawbone of a donkey,
I’ve killed a thousand men!”

17 When he finished his boasting, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was named Jawbone Hill.[a]

18 Samson was now very thirsty, and he cried out to the Lord, “You have accomplished this great victory by the strength of your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagans?” 19 So God caused water to gush out of a hollow in the ground at Lehi, and Samson was revived as he drank. Then he named that place “The Spring of the One Who Cried Out,”[b] and it is still in Lehi to this day.

20 Samson judged Israel for twenty years during the period when the Philistines dominated the land.

Here, in this passage, we see that Samson was physically and emotionally exhausted. After a great personal victory, his attitude declined quickly into self-pity. During times of vulnerability, we must avoid the temptation to think that God owes us for our efforts.

God is not in our debt for anything. God is not our servant. And contrary to how many of us think, He is not here to serve us. We have this temptation to sit down and credit to our account the things we have done for God this week, and thereby put him in our debt. We have cash in the bank so speak that we pay for our occasional daliances with sin. As long as we don’t overdraw our account (having committed more sins that we have done good), we can do as we wish and it’s OK. God just wants us to be happy so let’s cash in some of sin chips. I’ve been good enough and I have gone through enough to earn some sin credits, right, Lord?

Paul says, do not adopt the attitudes of the world (because this is the attitude of the world–a kind of debit/credit type of relationship). Paul says, don’t adopt that attitude, but let your minds be molded from within. Let the Holy Spirit correct your attitude. And what should our thinking be? First of all, we must not think in terms of rights and privileges. It is all of grace, from start to finish. We can’t earn enough sin credits to allow us to circumvent God’s universal truths. We can never be good enough to deserve anything. We are sinners through and through and we can’t even come close to justifying our sins in the sight of God. We are not even able to negotiate because we have nothing to offer. Our good works are but filthy rags in comparison to Him. He is Creator and we are the created. He owes us nothing. We don’t deserve anything. We cannot demand happiness from God. We think we are equal with Him but we are not. We are like the losers of a war before the victor making demands when we do not have the right nor the power to do so.

However, God is gracious with us. He loves us rebellious little kids. He is sovereign and we must trust that He is leading us somewhere. Even in our unhappy times. God has a big picture He is painting in our lives and in the lives of all humanity. We must remember that He is a great and that we must trust Him. We must remember we are not equal with Him. We must let God be God and trust that even in the rough times, He has a plan. So, let us not justify sin as a right to happiness, but trust God to carry us through the hard times and just be faithful in our trust in Him.

Amen and Amen.

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