JUDGES – Chapter 15

And it came to pass that a while after, that during the time of the wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a little goat.

Samson cooled off, and decided to go back and see his bride. He started to go into her bedroom, but her father stopped him and told him what he had done.

And so he started to go into her chamber, but her father would not allow him to go in. Her father said, “Hey, when you left here you were so mad, I figured we would never see you again.
So I let her marry the best man. But look at her little sister over there. Hey, she’s prettier than she was anyway. Hey, why don’t you take the little sister for your wife? And Samson said, “I’m going to be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure.”

In other words, Samson declared that he was going to get even.

And Samson went out and caught 300 foxes [these were actually jackals] and he took fire brands, turned them tail to tail, tied their tails together and he put the fire brand in the midst of them between the two tails. And so, he then turned them loose in the fields of standing wheat.

Samson burned both the standing wheat, the shocks, the wheat that had already been gathered and bundled, along with the standing corn, the vineyards and the olives.

And the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And they answered, “It was Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite. Because he has taken his wife, and given her to his best man.” And so the Philistines came up and burnt her and her father with fire. And Samson said to them, “Though you have done this, yet I’m going to get even with you and after that I’ll stop.” And so he went out and smoked them hip and thigh with a great slaughter.

Again, we see that this is nothing to Samson. He just went out and wiped out a bunch of these guys, all alone. No problem.

And then he went down and dwelled in the top of the rock Etam. And the Philistines went up and pitched in Judah and spread themselves in Lehi. And the men of Judah said, “Hey! Why are you guys come up against us?” And they said, “To bind Samson, and to get even with him, do to him as he’s done to us.” And so 3,000 men of Judah came to the top of the rock Etam and they said to Samson, “Don’t you know that these Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us man?” And he said unto them, “Look, I only did to them, what they did to me.” And they said unto him, “Look, we’re come to bind you that we may deliver you to the hand of the Philistines.” And Samson said unto them, “Swear to me that you’ll not fall upon me yourselves.” And they said, “No, we won’t fall upon you, but we want to bind you fast and deliver you into their hand, but we will not kill you.” And so they bound him with two new ropes, and they brought him up from the rock. And when he came to Lehi, where the Philistines were in camp, they shouted against him. They cried out and they began to run for him, and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him. The cords that bound his arms became like flax that were burned in the fire. His bands were loosed from off of his hands and he found a new jawbone of a donkey, and he put forth his hand, took it and he slew a thousand men with it. And Samson said, “With a jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps…….

This was a reference to the piles of bodies around him.

“Heaps upon heaps with the jaw of a donkey, I’ve killed a thousand men!” And it came to pass when he had made an end to speaking, that he tossed the jawbone aside and he called the place Ramath-lehi.

Ramath-lehi is literally translated as ‘the Hill of the Jawbone’ or ‘Jawbone Heights’. .

And he was very thirsty and he called on the Lord and he said, “You have given me a great deliverance unto your servant, and now am I going to die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” But God clave a hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water out of it and when he had drunk, his spirit came again and he revived. And so he called the name of the place, En Hakkore, which is in Lehi, unto this day.

En Hakkore is translated as ‘The Well of Him that Cried’, or ‘Spring of the Caller’. He called unto the Lord, and God provided the water.

And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for twenty years. (15:1-20)

The Power of No

So I have a word for you today. God really can use that word to change your life. The word is No. It’s such an important word. It can liberate you. It can free you. It can help you to set your boundaries. There was a time in your life when you loved this word. There was a time when you were about 2 years old. You said this word recreationally, joyfully, gleefully.

“Clean your room.”

“No!”

“Eat your peas.”

“No!”

“Share your toys.”

“No!”

Then over time, you learned that people like you better if you say yes than if you say no. We do not like it
when people say no, and they don’t like it when we do.

See, that’s what you’re in for when you say no, and who wants to set themselves up for that? We learn
over time to say yes in ways that create enormous problems. We say yes to bosses, and we say yes to
schedules and yes to meetings and yes to obligations and yes to burdens and yes to stuff we’re going to
buy that we don’t really need and yes to people we barely know and don’t even like. Then eventually our
lives are crammed full. So many times we become decent, respectable, exhausted, fatigued, resent-filled, people who have said yes to the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

Remember that sanctified saying , “The good is the enemy of the best.” What we need is this word no.

God wants to give you today a scalpel to remake your life, to make space for Him, because God generally
won’t force his way. God generally will not honk the horn. He is just there. The Bible, among other things,
is a book filled with amazing noes, wonderful noes, glorious noes.

There’s a man named Joseph, and he had a lot of reasons to have a lot of self-pity and think he deserved to
just have some pleasure. He was invited into this relationship he knew would mess him up. He knows his
identity and his mission. He says, “No.”

There are some young men, and their names are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their lives turned
out really badly, a lot of disappointment. They’re invited to worship an idol. We’re all invited to worship
idols. They know their identity and their mission, and they said, “No.”

Wisdom from God teaches us when to say yes and when to say no. Wisdom says yes to God and no to the Devil. Pray for wisdom.

(From Dennis Bradley)

Give them water…

I AM the Alpha & the Omega, the Beginning & the End. To the thirsty I will give water to drink without cost from the water of life.

1) Then because of the decree King Darius had sent, Tattenai, governor of the Trans-Euphrates, & Shethar-Bozenai & their associates carried it out with diligence. So the elders of the Jews continued to build & prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet & Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel & the decrees of Cyrus, Darius & Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. The temple was completed on the 3rd day of the month of Adar, in the 6th year of the reign of King Darius (Mar. 12, 515BC).—Isn’t it amazing how quickly people jump when a worldly leader decrees an order, but totally ignore Almighty God?

2) Then the people of Israel–the priests, the Levites & the rest of the exiles–celebrated the dedication of the House of God with joy. For the dedication of this House of God they offered 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 male lambs &, as a sin (or purification) offering for all Israel, 12 male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel. And they installed the priests in their divisions & the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.—It has been 90 years since Daniel & the 1st group of exiles were taken from Jerusalem & now the new temple is being dedicated. Oh, Joy, what a glorious day!

3) On the 14th day of the 1st month, the exiles celebrated Passover. The priests & Levites had purified themselves & were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the exiles, for their relatives the priests & for themselves. So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the Lord, the God of Israel. For 7 days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the House of God, the God of Israel.

—.90 years have passed. It may have been even longer than that since the Passover was celebrated, may as long as 107 years. Can you imagine the joy they Israelites felt when they celebrated the Passover again.

Thank you, Lord that YOU are SO faithful. Even when we are faithless, YOU are still faithful. Praise YOUR Holy Name!
Like

JUDGES – Chapter 14

Now as the child grew up, Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah with the daughters of the Philistines.

Zorah is right at the base of the mountains, and Timnah is at the western end of the valley, just a few miles down from Zorah, entering into the mountains. This is the valley that was occupied by the Philistines. The people of Dan pretty much hugged the hillsides, while the plains were pretty much controlled by the Philistines.

Samson went down the valley to Timnah, a Philistine city, he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines, and he came home and told his father and his mother, I have seen a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines, and I want you to get her for me as my wife. (14: 1-2)

Now, in those days, marriage was by arrangement. The parents would get together and haggle over a dowry. Once the amount of the dowry was determined, the groom’s father would pay the dowry to the bride’s father, and the son would then have the privilege of marrying the girl. A dowry was their answer to their weak divorce laws, which gave a woman no rights. A woman could not divorce her husband under any circumstance, but a husband could divorce his wife under any circumstance. If he didn’t like her, if he wasn’t satisfied with her, if she didn’t fix his eggs to his liking, he could just write “I divorce you” on a piece of paper, hand it to her, and she had to leave. She had no rights at all. There were, in those days, many lousy men, who would take advantage of this law. And this was the custom of dowry, which was developed to protect the women. The dowry was nothing more than alimony, in advance. The dad would make the arrangements. “You pay me so much, you can have my daughter.” It was the father’s duty to invest the dowry and to increase it by the investment. If the husband kicked the wife out, she would come home, and the dowry would be used to support her, so she was no burden to her family. The father’s duty was to keep the dowry intact and invest, so that she would always have something to fall back on.

So, Samson came home and said “Hey dad, I saw a cute little girl down there in Timnah, a daughter of the Philistines. Go down and make the arrangements! I want to marry this girl!” His father and his mother asked him if there weren’t enough cute girls in Israel, maybe his nieces. They asked him why he had to fall in love with one of those uncircumcised Philistine daughters. Samson basically told his father to stop arguing with him and get him what he wanted. The girl pleased him.

This is the first time, but not the last time we will see Samson falling in love with a Philistine girl, and each time it led him to great trouble. Now, I read on Facebook, all the time, how romanticists say that you can’t help who you fall in love with. I say you can! It’s an error to think that you can’t help who you fall in love with. And, this is a good story to demonstrate just that fact. You see, Samson fell in love with a girl in Timnah, when, actually, he had no business being in Timnah. Had he never gone there, he would never had fallen in love with a girl in Timnah.

His first mistake was going into the camp of the enemy. His first mistake led to his second, which was falling in love with the girl. There are places where we, as children of God should never go. If we go to these places, trouble will come our way. We could avoid so many problems if we would simply stay out of the camp of the enemy. The best way to avoid problems is to stay away from problem areas. In Samson’s case, just don’t go to Timnah. Stay away from the camp of the enemy. He went to Timnah. Things compounded, and he fell in love with a girl in Timnah.

So often, God takes our mistakes and turns them around for His purposes. I love the way that God so often turns the tables. Joseph’s brothers sold him to the slave traders, who were going to Egypt. Later, when Joseph faced his brothers, he said “Hey guys! Don’t trouble yourself for what you did. I know you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” It is so gracious that God will, many times, take those things that we do wrong, and turn them around to use them for His purposes. He even causes the wrath of man to praise Him.

And so, the parents did not know that the Lord was seeking an occasion against the Philistines for at that time, they had dominion over Israel. (14:4)

The angel of the Lord said that Samson was going to BEGIN the deliverance from the Philistines, not that he would completely deliver them.

Then Samson went down, and his father and his mother, to Timnah. And as they came to the vineyards of Timnah, behold, the young lion roared against Samson and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and he tore that lion as you would have torn a little goat and he had nothing in his hands no knife, or sword, or whatever and he didn’t tell his father or his mother what he had done.

This was, to Samson, no great feat. He just tossed it over the vineyard and bushes and went his way, without even telling his folks. If I torn a lion apart, with my bare hands, I would be in permanent chest out position, telling everyone I met. But not this guy. It was nothing to him.

My son, Kiiler, has some of Samson’s character traits. Kiiler could bench press Montana, so it is nothing for him to work out with 400 pounds on the bench press. If I could do that, everyone in Branson would be aware. But, for Ki, it is not worth mentioning.

So he went down and talked with the woman and he was very much in love with her. Now, after a time, he returned the time of the wedding, to take her as his bride, and he decided to go in and take a look at the carcase of the lion. And behold there was a swarm of bees and there was honey in the carcase of the lion. And he took the honey in his hands and he went on the path eating it and he came to his father and mother and gave it to them and they did eat it, but he didn’t tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion. (14:5-8)

Why is this important? You see, Samson is supposed to be a Nazarite. One of the rules for a Nazarite is that you cannot touch a dead carcase. Even if it were his own parents, he was not to touch a dead body. Here, he is taking honey out of the dead carcass of the lion. Samson must have been quite a guy, to just reach in to this carcass and get a handful of honey. He was licking it off his fingers, sharing with his parents, and letting them take a few licks. He is really a tight mouthed type of man. He didn’t tell them about killing the lion in the first place, and now he makes no mention of where he obtained the honey. In fact, Samson must have been extremely confident. Perhaps it was just that quiet confidence that we admire in so many today? Most guys, had they been attacked by a lion, along a certain road, would never take their parents along that same road, for fear of another possible attack by another member of the pride. Yet, he didn’t seem to have any concern about that. Perhaps he felt he could slay the whole pride, should they attack. It just was of no importance to him. He had no fear, and felt no need to brag or even discuss the events.

So his father went down to the woman and Samson made there a feast.

The young men would have these huge wedding feasts, lasting seven days.

And it came to pass that when they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.

These young men were hired to spend the week with the groom, to be his companions during the celebration and to help him prepare for the wedding. This was similar to our bachelor party, only it lasted a lot longer. Samson’s parents were, evidently, of means, to hire that many young men attend to Samson all week.

So Samson said unto these thirty men, “I’m going put forth a riddle unto you. If you can declare it me within the seven days of the feast and find it out, then I will give you thirty shirts, and thirty changes of garments. But if you can’t declare to me the riddle, then you have to give me thirty shirts and thirty changes of garments. They said to him, “You’re on man! What’s your riddle?” And so he said to them, “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong, came forth sweetness”. And for three days, they tried to figure this thing out. And it came to pass that on the seventh day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband that he may declare unto us the riddle, or else we are going to burn you and your father’s house with fire.” (14:10-15)

These shirts, which he bet, were really just undershirts. They were worn next to the body, and the thirty changes of garments were the outer robes. This was a healthy bet.

So, these guys, who were hired to keep Samson company, can’t figure this riddle out. So, they threaten the bride, if she doesn’t entice Samson for the answer. They threatened to burn her father’s house and burn her with it. Not really a nice choice for groomsmen.

And Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You hate me! You don’t love me! You put forth a riddle to these fellows and you haven’t told me what it is!” And he said,
“Hey! I haven’t even told my parents woman!” (14:16)

She was probably trying to figure this thing out for most of the week. Now, she has even more reason to seek the answer. She really pushed him for the answer.

And it came to pass that on the seventh day, that he told her.

You can be sure that she nagged him all week, until he gave in.

And so she told the riddle to the children of the Philistines. And the men of the city said to him, on the seventh day, before the sun went down, what is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than a lion? And he said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you’d have never found out.” (14:16-18)

It is interesting that he used this language to speak of his wife. What he said was, to say the least, unkind. “Plowing my heifer” was a strange use of words, and a bit telling. Samson was really upset, and he was fully aware that she was the one that told the answer to these guys. Trust went right out the window, before they were even married.

So the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he went down to Ashkelon, one of the coastal cities and there he got hold of thirty Philistines, who he killed, took their shirts and their garments. (14:19)

Samson’s response to being cheated in this way caused his anger to flare. So, he went down to the coastal city of Ashkelon and killed thirty Philistines, stripped them of their clothing, and gave the clothing to pay his bet. This was also, a bit “in your face!” He came right back and paid off his bet to the guys who had expounded his riddle. He was still extremely angry. He just went home, without even saying anything to his wife. In retaliation, her father gave her to the best man. I think Samson became even angrier, after this insult.

No cost water for life.

I AM the Alpha & the Omega, the Beginning & the End. To the thirsty I will give water to drink without cost from the water of life.

1) Now if it pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this House of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter.—I’m pretty sure that Tattenai didn’t expect King Darius to reply in favor of the Jews.

2) King Darius then issued an order, & they searched in the archives stored in the treasury at Babylon. A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana in the province of Media, & this was written in it:

Memorandum:

In the 1st year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning the House of God in Jerusalem:

Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, & let its foundations be be laid. It is to be 60 cubits (about 90′) high & 60 cubits wide, with 3 courses of large stones & one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury Also, the gold & silver articles of the House of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem & brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in the temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in the House of God.—Ah ha, so the Jews, not Tattenai & his cronies, are the ones telling the truth. And how will this develop from here?

3) Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, & Shethar-Bozenai & you other officials of that province, stay away from there. Do not interfere with the work on this House of God: Let the governor of the Jews & the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on this site..

Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this House of God.:

Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. Whatever is needed–young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, & wheat, salt, wine & olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem–must be given them daily without fail, so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven & pray for the well-being of the king & his sons.

Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house & they are to be impaled on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble. May God, Who has caused HIS Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem.

I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence

.—Isn’t it amazing how God works out HIS will & way? Here all this opposition came against the building of the temple & the city & a search is made & the opposite is discovered & carried out.

Lord, may YOUR Word be declared in heaven & on earth. May YOUR worship be on the lips of all. YOU alone are God & there is none like YOU.

Letter to the servants.

I AM the Alpha & the Omega, the Beginning & the End. To the thirsty I will give water to drink without cost from the water of life.

1) (This is a copy of the letter [those who opposed the rebuilding of the temple] they sent [Artaxerxes])

To King Artaxerxes,

From your servants in Trans-Euphrates:

The king should know that the people who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem & are rebuilding that rebellious & wicked city. They are restoring the walls & repairing the foundations.

Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built & its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty will be paid, & eventually the royal revenues will suffer. Now since we are under obligation to the palace & it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king, so that a search may be made in the archives of your predecessors. In these records you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings & provinces, a place with a long history of sedition. That is why this city was destroyed. We inform the king that if this city is built & its walls are restored, you will be left with nothing in Trans-Euphrates.—No exaggeration here, huh? As if the walls & temple were rebuilt, no other nation would pay taxes, etc. Neither are they mentioning that both Cyrus & Darius had commanded that the Israelites return & rebuild the temple & that the Trans-Euphrates was to support the effort.

2) The king sent this reply:

To Rehum. the commanding officer, Shimshai the secretary & the rest of their associates living in Samaria & elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates:

Greetings,

The letter you sent us has been read & translated in my presence. I issued an order & a search was made, & it was found that this city has a long history of revolt against kings & has been a place of rebellion & sedition. Jerusalem has had powerful kings ruling over the whole of Trans-Euphrates, & taxes, tribute & duty were paid to them. Now issue an order to these men to stop work, so that this city will not be rebuilt until I so order. Be careful not to neglect this matter. Why let this threat grow, to the detriment of the royal interests?”

As soon as the copy of the letter of King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum & Shimshai the secretary & their associates, they went immediately to the Jews in Jerusalem & compelled them by force to stop.

Thus the work on the House of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the 2nd year of the reign of Darius King of Persia.—Why is it, so often, that people in authority jump to conclusions based on one side of a story instead of saying, “What is the other side of this situation?”

3) Now Haggai the prophet & Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah & Jerusalem in the Name of the God of Israel, Who was over them. Then Zerabbabel son of Shealtiel & Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the House of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.

At this time Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, & Shethar-Bozenai & their associates went to them & asked, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple & to finish it?” They also asked, “What are the names of those who are constructing this building?” But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, & they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius & his written reply be received.

This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, sent to King Darius. The report they sent him read as follows:

To King Darius:

Cordial greetings,

The king should know that we went to the district of Judah, to the House of the great God. The people are building it with large stones & placing timbers in the walls.
The work is being carried on with diligence & is making rapid progress under their direction.

We questioned the elders & asked them, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple & to finish it?” We also asked them their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders for your information.

This is the answer they gave us:

“We are servants of the God of heaven & earth. & we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built & finished. But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, HE gave them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon, who destroyed this temple & deported the people to Babylon.

“However, in the 1st year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this House of God. He even removed from the temple (or palace) in Babylon the gold & silver articles of the House of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem & brought to the temple in Babylon. Then King Cyrus gave them to a man names Sheshbazzar, whom he appointed governor, & he told him, ‘Take these articles & go deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem. And rebuild the House of God on its site.’

“So Sheshbazzsar came & laid the foundations of the House of God in Jerusalem. From that day to the present it has been under construction but is not yet finished.”‘— Amazing how calm truth can re-color a false or misstated “fact”. The truth will always rise to the top if it is left in God’s hands.

Lord, help us to always tell the truth & hear the truth when it is told. Give us a discerning Spirit to understand the truth & act accordingly at all times. Thank YOU that YOU are the great God of heaven & earth & the God of truth.

JUDGES – Chapter 13

In the 13th Chapter of Judges, we begin with the same old sad refrain.

And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord (13:1).

This is the seventh time that we hear this mournful refrain in the book of Judges, the seventh apostasy, and as the result, we see a very familiar penalty from the Lord.

The Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years (13:1).

In II Chronicles, Chapter 14, the prophet came to King Asa, upon his return from victory near the beginning of his reign, and he told him “The Lord is with you, while you are with him and, if you seek him, he will be found of you. But, if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” This is just a basic Biblical truth, which didn’t apply JUST to King Asa. It goes for us today, also. The Lord will be with you, if you’ll be with Him. If you seek Him, you’ll find Him. If you forsake Him, He will forsake you. The children of Israel forsook the Lord. They did evil in the sight of the Lord and God delivered them into the hands of their enemies, this time the Philistines.

The Canaanite people, called the Philistines, populated the coastal region in the southern part of Israel. One of the cities of the Philistines, Ashkelon, is still a city in Israel today. We hear a lot about the Gaza Strip. The city of Gath, today, is nothing but ruins. There is an Israeli settlement nearby Gath, but it’s the coastal region in the southern part of Israel, which was the area that was occupied by the Canaanites, known as the Philistines. From them came the name Palestine.
Now, there was a certain man of Zorah, which is west from Jerusalem, about a third of the way to Tel Aviv. It’s right at the base of what they call the Jerusalem Mountains. From Zorah, you go up the mountains to Jerusalem. This area is where the tribe of Dan first settled. The tribe of Dan later moved on up into the northern part of the country, near mount Hermon in upper Galilee, but the tribe of Dan originally settled in this area next to the Philistines. Because the Philistines were tough, they found it hard to settle in that area and ultimately moved.

This man’s name was Manoah and his wife was barren. Now, that was a cultural curse. The most important thing that a woman could do in that culture, was to bear children. If she could not bear children, she was considered cursed by God.

It was legal grounds for divorce. If a man’s wife could not bear children, the man could legally divorce her. It was considered a disgrace for a woman not to be able to bear children. So, there was always a heavy pressure upon a young girl to bear a child, so that she is not shamed with barrenness.

There were other cases in the Bible. We all remember the case of Abraham’s wife, Sarah. In I Samuel, you can read of the case of Samuel’s mother, Hannah. In the New Testament there was Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, who for years was barren. These are a few of the women in Biblical history, who had to endure the shame of the cultural curse. Here, we hear of the wife of Manoah.

“But the Angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, “Behold, you are barren, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Now, therefore be careful, I pray thee. Don’t drink any wine or strong drink, nor eat any thing that is unclean. For lo you are going to conceive and bear a son and no razor shall come on his head, for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God, from the womb and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.” (13:3-5)

As the result of her barrenness, the angel of the Lord appeared and informed her that she was no longer to be barren. She was going to have a son, and that God was going to use this son to begin to deliver the children of Israel. She was informed that, during her time of pregnancy, she is not to drink any wine, or any strong drink, and not to eat anything unclean. When the child is born, a razor is never to come to his head for he is going to be a Nazarite unto God.

Numbers, Chapter 6, deals with the vow of the Nazarite. However, the description in Numbers 6 was only for a specific period of time, not a lifetime.

During this period of time, the person was to totally dedicate their life to God. So, it could be for a month, or a shorter or longer period, but for the child to be, it was for a lifetime. To take the Nazarite vow, the person would first shave their head and beard, completely. Then, for the month, or whatever period of time of seeking the Lord, the person would seek the Lord. They would not work, they would not cut their hair, they would not drink any wine or strong drink, and they wouldn’t drink anything that came from the vine, even to the point of not eating grapes. At the end of the dedication period, they would again shave their head and face, and take the hair to the priest to burn on the altar as an offering to the Lord. This was the vow of consecration to God, as a Nazarite.

In the Book of Acts, Chapter 17, we read how Paul made such a vow. He took a Nazarite vow and dedicated himself totally to God for a specified period of time.

This was to prepare himself for the feast, because he was heading back to Jerusalem.

Here, we read how this young man, who is to be born, is not to have a time limit on his commitment, but it was to be a life-long commitment to God. He’s gonna belong to the Lord and be committed to God throughout his life. During his entire lifetime, a razor is never to come to his head.

“So the woman came and told her husband, and she said there was a man of God that came to me and his countenance, his face was like an angel of God (13:6)..

In the Old English translation, the word is terrible. When you see that word, in the Old English translation, it literally translates ‘awesome’. So, she saw this angel of the Lord as awesome.

But I did not ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name (13:6).

So, she comes home and tells her husband “I met an interesting man he had a face like an angel. I don’t know where he came from, and I didn’t ask him his name, but he told me that I was going to conceive and bear a son, and that I wasn’t to drink any wine or strong drink, and that I wasn’t to eat any unclean thing, for the child will be a Nazarite to God from the womb, until the day of his death. His whole life is to be spent committed unto God.”

“So Manoah, her husband, prayed and he asked the Lord to let the man of God come again to us and teach us what we should do for this child that’s to be born.

So God listened, or hearkened to the voice of Manoah. The Angel of God came again to the woman, as she sat in the field, but her husband wasn’t with her. So she said, “Would you wait here a minute?” and she ran with haste and got her husband and she said to him, “Behold, the man has appeared unto me, that came to me the other day”. So, Manoah arose and went with his wife and they came to the man and said unto him, he said unto him, “Are you the man that spoke with this woman?” And he said, “I am.” And Manoah said, “Now let your words come to pass. We would like to have a son but how shall we order the child? What shall we do to him?” And the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Just everything that I told the woman, be careful that you do that.” She may not eat of anything that comes of the vine, neither let her drink any wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. All that I have commanded her, let her observe.” So Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “I pray thee, let us detain you until we can make ready for you a little uh shish kebab, a kid, and then they used those little goats for shish kebab, and the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat of your bread, and if you want to offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the Lord, for Manoah did not know that he was an Angel of the Lord. And so, Manoah said unto the Angel of the Lord, “What is your name? That when all of this comes to pass we’ll be able to say, well, you know, we’ll want to give you honor, we’ll want to recognize you for this.” And the Angel of the Lord said unto him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing that it is wonderful?”

The word translated here as “secret”, is the same word that is used in the Greek, in Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Jesus. His name shall be called “Wonderful”.

“Why do you ask my name seeing that it is wonderful?”

So Manoah took the little goat with the meal offering, and he put it on the rock, offered it unto the Lord, and the Angel did wonderously as Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass when the flame went up toward heaven, from off the altar, that the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on and they fell on their faces to the ground. And the Angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah and to his wife and Manoah knew that it was the Angel of the Lord; and, he said to his wife, we’re gonna die. Because we’ve seen God. We’ve had it. That’s it! You know, it’s all over! We’ve seen God! His wife having a little more presence of mind said to him, “If the Lord wanted to kill us, why would he tell us we are going to have a son? How can we have a son if God kills us; and, why would He have received our burnt offering and our meal offering? And so, the woman bear a son, called his name Samson, which refers to the son; and, you have Mahaneh Dan right near the valley of Zorah, between Eshtaol and Zorah, and the child grew. The Lord blessed him and the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. (13:8-25)

Okay, we have the birth of the child, announced before hand by the Lord. He was to be, truly a special child.

Watch for Chapter 14 – Coming in a day or two!

Teaching notes – Don D. Stephens

Adam & Eve were REAL

Adam and Eve were REALDid you ever wonder, if there might be, somewhere a document or a bit of something that talked about Adam and Eve, to prove they were real?

When History teacher, and Bible Buff Jim Brooks began his telling tale of reveal to discover the facts of Adam and Eve… He found insights and revelations that brought the story to the forefront of History. Life began at Creation.

* * *

This book could wake up the population to the truths in the Bible!  Cultures around the world that had never before been visited by Christians or Jews tell of legends handed down from generation to generation that verify the majors stories of the Bible.  Some of the stories include Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, and the Tower of Babel.  The names of the events may be altered somewhat but the stories are similar.  There are 250 books and numerous Journal Articles referenced to show the validity of the items. Scientific evidence has validated what it would be like prior to the flood. The conditions were ideal for long life due to—oops I better let you learn by reading the book.

Click on the cover, to order your copy!

Be an Influencer in Your Niche

Influence Your Niche

Sometimes you get an opportunity to write a message so incredibly strong that it deserves to be published. Such is the message of the Proverbs 31 Woman. In a world where women feel the need to beat themselves up or prop themselves up, it’s nice to meet someone now and then who knows she’s a child of God and she just doesn’t have to be bloated with self importance and ego. It’s okay to know who you are, be empowered and strong, without telling the world you’re more than you really are.

And it’s okay to be a follower of the most high in a way that gives them the distinct imprint of your presence without being overwhelmed with your self-inflicted positioning.

Use your natural voice to be an influencer in your niche – and empower your readers to follow Christ.

Pick up a copy of this book today and learn more about being an Influencer

King of Kings

I AM the Alpha & the Omega, the Beginning & the End. To the thirsty I will give water to drink without cost from the water of life.
1) When the enemies of Judah & Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a House for the Lord, the God of Israel, they came to Zerabbabel & to the heads of the families & said, “Let us help build because, like you, we seek the Lord your God & have been sacrificing to HIM since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here”.
But Zerabbabel, Joshua & the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus, king of Persia, commanded us.
Then the people around them set out to discourage the people of Judah & make them afraid to go on building (or “troubled them as they went on building’). They bribed officials to work against them & frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia & down to the reign of Darius king of Persia.
—Inevitably, the more important the task the Lord gives us, the more blatant satan’s opposition will be.
2) At the beginning of the reign of Xerxes (or Ahasuerus), they lodged a complaint against the people of Judah & Jerusalem.
And in the days of Artaxerxes the king of Persia, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel & the rest of his associates wrote a letter to Artaxerxes. The letter was written in Aramaic script & in the Aramaic language.
Rehum the commanding officer & Shimshai wrote a letter against Jerusalem as follows:

“Rehum the commanding officer & Shimshai the secretary, together with the rest of their associates–the judges, officials & administrators over the people from Persia, Uruk & Babylon, the Elamites of Susa,, & the other people whom the great & honorable Ashurbanipal deported & settled in the city of Samaria & elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates.—Now, you know & I know that the people of Judah & Jerusalem were not rebelling, in fact they had Cyrus direct command to build the temple & make sacrifices on his behalf.

3) (This is a copy of the letter they sent him.)
To King Artaxexes,
From your servants in Trans-Euphrates:
The king should know that the people who came up to us have gone to Jerusalem & are rebuilding that rebellious & wicked city. They are restoring the walls & repairing.the foundations.
Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built & its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty will be paid, & eventually the royal revenues will suffer. Now since we are under obligation to the palace & it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king, so that a search be made in the archives of your predecessors. In these records you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings & provinces, a place with a long history of sedition. That is why this city was destroyed. We inform the king that if this city is built & its walls are restored, you will be left with nothing in Trans-Euphrates.—Do you wonder what the motivation of these people was? What difference did it make to them that Jerusalem was rebuilt? Do you really think they cared about the king’s interest, or were they just strumming the tune that would most like make the king dance?. Were they afraid that they would lose status in the king’s eyes if Jerusalem was rebuilt & came back into prominence? Of course we know that the REAL cause of this aggravation was satan fighting to prevent Jerusalem from being re-established so that Jesus could be born, raised & reign over all.

Thank YOU, Lord, that no matter how YOUR mortal enemy tries to dishonor YOU, YOU will always win in the end. YOU alone are King of Kings, Lord of Lords & God Almighty. YOU have written the end of the Book & YOU win!