May 9: Success Deceives
Judges 15:1–17:13; Philippians 4:2–9; Psalm 69:18–70:5
When leaders come to power, there are always people who become insistent on stopping them. It’s incredible how easy it is for people to justify envy or hatred for authority figures. Most of us have made the offhand remark, “I hate that guy.” And in those words, even when they’re meant in jest, we reveal the motives of the human heart. But this doesn’t represent who we’re meant to be—people who live for others.
Samson, an Israelite judge, endured that fate. A young warrior, he had enemies who wanted him dead and would do nearly anything to bring him down—spiritually or physically. The Philistines who opposed him went so far as to burn his wife and her father alive (Judg 15:6). Samson brought these trials on himself by disobeying God and marrying a foreign wife who would ultimately lead him to worship foreign gods. Even so, the acts of violence against him were not just his own doing.
The Philistines, like many people today, didn’t like to see an enemy succeed. They were envious and frustrated, and they weren’t used to being second to anyone.
There are lessons here for all of us no matter where we’re at in life. If we succeed, we should be thrilled when others do the same. We should try to help them succeed in the work God has called them to, designated specifically for them. If you have yet to come into that realm of success, you should be excited when others do, for the same reasons. Whatever your position in life, set aside the obstacles of envy or hatred. Set your sight on the work God has called you to and encourage those around you who are working toward theirs.
How can you help others succeed in God’s work? How can you set your sight on your own work without becoming envious?
JOHN D. BARRY
- But within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a kid, saying, I will go in to my wife into the chamber: but her father would not suffer him to go in. And her father said, I thought that thou hadst hated her: therefore gave I her to my companion. Is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of the other. Then Samson said unto them, Now am I more blameless than the Philistines: therefore will I do them displeasure. And Samson went out, and took three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned them tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he sent them out into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the ricks and the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives. Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. Then the Philistines came up and burnt her and her father with fire. And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and then I will cease. So he smote them hip and thigh with a mighty plague: then he went and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam. Then the Philistines came up, and pitched in Judah, and were spread abroad in Lehi. And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up unto us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, and to do to him as he hath done to us. Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Eram, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that done thus unto us? And he answered them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them. Again they said unto him, We are come to bind thee, and to deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves. And they answered him, saying, No, but we will bind thee and deliver thee unto their hand, but we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him from the rock. When he came to Levi, the Philistines shouted against him, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms, became as flax that was burnt with fire: for the bands loosed from his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hands, and caught it, and slew a thousand men therewith. Then Samson said, With the jaw of an ass are heaps upon heaps: with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. And when he had left speaking, he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramath Lehi. And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? Then God brake the cheek tooth, that was in the jaw, and water came there out: and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he was revived: wherefore the name is in Lehi unto this day. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years. Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her. And it was told to the Gazites, Samson is come hither. And they went about, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, Abide till morning early, and we shall kill him. And Samson slept till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gates of the city and the two posts, and lifted them away with the bars, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that was before Hebron. And after this he loved a woman by the river of Sorek, whose name was Delilah: Unto whom came the princes of the Philistines, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may overcome him, that we may bind him, and punish him, and every one of us shall give thee eleven hundred shekels of silver. And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound, to do thee hurt. Samson then answered unto her, If they bind me with seven green cords, that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. And the princes of the Philistines brought her seven green cords, that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. And the princes of the Philistines brought her seven green cords that were not dry, and she bound him therewith. (And she had men lying in wait with her in the chamber) Then she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the cords, as a thread of tow is broken, when it feeleth fire: so his strength was not known. After Delilah said unto Samson, See, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies. I pray thee now, tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. Then he answered her, If they bind me with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson: (and men lay in wait in the chamber) and he brake them from his arms, as a thread. Afterward Delilah said to Samson, Hitherto thou hast beguiled me, and told me lies: tell me how thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou plattedst seven locks of mine head with the threads of the woof. And she fashioned it with a pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the web, and the woof. Again she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And because she was importunate upon him with her words continually, and vexed him, his soul was pained unto the death. Therefore he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There never came razor upon mine head: for I am a Nazirite unto God then from my mother’s womb: therefore if I be shaven, my strength will go from me, and I shall be weak and be like all other men. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent, and called for the Princes of the Philistines, saying, Come up once again: for he hath showed me all his heart. Then the Princes of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought the money in their hands. And she made him sleep upon her knees, and she called a man, and made him to shave off the seven locks of his head, and she began to vex him, and his strength was gone from him. Then she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and thought, I will go out now as at other times, and shake myself, but he knew not that the Lord was departed from him. Therefore the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters: and he did grind in the prison house. And the hair of his head began to grow again after that it was shaven. Then the Princes of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hands. Also when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands the enemy and destroyer of our country, which hath slain many of us. And when their hearts were merry, they said, Call Samson, that he may make us pastime: So they called Samson out of the prison house, and he was a laughing stock unto them, and they set him between the pillars. Then Samson said unto the servant that led him by the hand, Lead me, that I may touch the pillars that the house standeth upon, and that I may lean to them. (Now the house was full of men and women, and there were all the princes of the Philistines: also upon the roof were about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson played) Then Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, I pray thee, I think upon me: O God, I beseech thee, strengthen me at this time only, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson laid hold on the two middle pillars whereupon the house stood, and on which it was borne up: on the one with his right hand, and on the other with his left. Then said Samson, Let me lose my life with the Philistines: and he bowed him with all his might, and the house fell upon the princes, and upon all the people that were therein: so the dead which he slew at his death, were more than they which he had slain in his life. Then his brethren, and all the house of his father came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, in the sepulcher of Manoah his father: now he had judged Israel twenty years. There was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah, And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, for the which thou cursedst, and spakedst it, even in mine hearing, behold, the silver is with me, I took it. Now therefore I will give it thee again. And when he had restored the money unto his mother, his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, which made thereof a graven and molten image, and it was in the house of Micah. And this man Micah had an house of gods, and made an Ephod, and Teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who was his Priest. In those days there was no King in Israel, but every man did that which was good in his own eyes. There was also a young man out of Bethlehem Judah, of the family of Judah: who was a Levite, and sojourned there. And the man departed out of the city, even out of Bethlehem Judah, to dwell where he could find a place: and as he journeyed, he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah. And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And the Levite answered him, I come from Bethlehem Judah, and go to dwell where I may find a place. Then Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a Priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by year, and a suit of apparel, and thy meat and drink. So the Levite went in. And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man was unto him as one of his own sons. And Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man was his Priest, and was in the house of Micah. Then said Micah, Now I know that the Lord will be good unto me, seeing I have a Levite to my Priest. Judges 15:1-17:13
- I pray Euodia, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of one accord in the Lord. Yea, and I beseech thee, faithful yokefellow, help those women, which labored with me in the Gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice. Let your patient mind be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be nothing careful, but in all things let your requests be showed unto God in prayer and supplications with giving of thanks. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall preserve your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Furthermore, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are worthy love, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, or there be any praise, think on these things. Which ye have both learned and received, and heard, and seen in me: those things do, and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:2-9
- Draw near unto my soul and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies. Thou hast known my reproof and my shame, and my dishonor: all mine adversaries are before thee. Rebuke hath broken mine heart, and I am full of heaviness, and I looked for some to have pity on me, but there was none: and for comforters, but I found none. For they gave me gall in my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. Let their table be a snare before them, and their prosperity their ruin. Let their table be a snare before them, and their prosperity their ruin. Let their eyes be blinded that they see not: and make their loins always to tremble. Pour out thine anger upon them, and let thy wrathful displeasure take them. Let their habitation be void, and let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute him, whom thou hast smitten: and they add unto the sorrow of them, whom thou hast wounded. Lay iniquity upon their iniquity, and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be put out of the book of life, neither let them be written with the righteous. When I am poor and in heaviness, thine help, O God, shall exalt me. I will praise the Name of God with a son, and magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than a young bullock that hath horns and hoofs. The humble shall see this, and they that seek God shall be glad, and your heart shall live. For the Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners. Let heaven and earth praise him: the seas and all that moveth in them. For God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah, that men may dwell there and have it in possession. The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein. O God, haste thee to deliver me: make hast to help me, O Lord. Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek my soul: let them be turned backward and put to rebuke, that desire mine heart. Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame, which say, Aha, aha. But let all those that seek thee, be joyful and glad in thee, and let all that love thy salvation, say always, God be praised. Now I am poor and needy: O God, make haste to me: thou art my helper, and my deliverer: O Lord, make no tarrying.. Psalm 69:18-70:5