A Lustful Warrior

The middle chapters of Judges provide interesting juxtaposed stories. It begins with Abimelech, the first character whose back story goes to his birth. As Gideon’s illegitimate son, he killed his brothers and acted out a murderous rampage. The next major judge after him was Jephthah. His beginning is similarly inauspicious. He also was an illegitimate son rejected by his brothers. After reading about Abimelech, I’d forgive you for thinking Jephthah’s a lost cause. But Jephthah turns the tables. He proves that one’s background doesn’t determine their destiny. Jephthah wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t commit the murder that Abimelech embraced. Still, he leaves us looking for a better deliverer. After Jephthah, the Scriptures provide a third birth story, Samson’s. Samson’s barren parents received a visit from God Himself. He promised to give them a son dedicated to God and prepared to be Israel’s deliverer. So we have two dysfunctional birth stories with concubines, prostitutes, and broken families. But Scripture follows those with a story of a miraculous birth and the compassion of God. The contrast between Samson’s birth and the other two raises our hopes that he might be the one. Could this baby be the deliverer promised to Eve and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? With this much going for him, this baby will surely turn out better than Abimelech and Jephthah. But as quickly as Scripture raises our hopes and expectations, it tells us Samson heads to Timnah. There he lusts after a Philistine woman and demands her for his wife. That little trip south would bring ramifications that would ripple throughout Samson’s life. And it still ripples today. When we hope in men, they always let us down. Our culture throws hero after hero at us. We praise their stories; we raise our expectations; and we face disappointment over and over again. But someone did come whose birth story was similar to Samson’s. His mom heard from an angel too; she also heard that He would be a deliverer. But this One is different. He’s not only a man; He’s also God. Hoping in this One will never disappoint, because He’s invincible. Samson’s story reminds us that we need a righteous divine deliverer, and it points us to that One, Jesus. He alone will deliver Israel, and He alone delivers us from both sin’s penalty and its power. Don’t look to man; hope in God; you have no good besides Him! –Pastor Rory

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: Evangelism–Chatru Mohinani

10AM: Pastor Nate–A Lustful Warrior–Judges 14-15 (sermon notes)

6PM: Evening Gathering–Light vs Darkness–Romans 13:8-14

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