Did It Have to Go This Way?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, March 11, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Have you ever looked back on a situation and realized that you probably could have handled it much better? Have you ever reacted with what you thought was the right thing or the justice-oriented thing to do, only to realize the outcome didn't seem good at all? Have you ever made a decision about a critical situation out of emotion, anger, or educated guess, only to discover later that God may have had a better way? Or worse, have you ever chosen your way to handle a situation because it felt right, even when you knew the way God wanted you to handle it?

Read Judges 15:1-8 and consider Samson's situation. His wife is given to someone else by her father. Samson decides to burn the crops and olive groves of all the Philistines as punishment for how the Philistines manipulated his wife at their wedding, and for how her father gave her away when he assumed Samson hated her.

When the leaders of the Philistines find out why Samson burned the fields, they kill his wife and her father, as an act of revenge and justice. In response, Samson goes on a killing spree, to avenge his wife and to hold the Philistines accountable for murder.

Samson's job was to judge, and his calling was to deliver Israel from the oppression and rule of the Philistines. In some instances, he seems almost too willing to be judge, jury, and executioner. In other situations (especially when it came to women) he seemed too willing to hesitate. It can be difficult in Samson's story to clearly define God-sanctioned actions and God-permitted actions that lead to a better resolution later. And I think it's because Samson's willfullness is in the mix, and his personal desires get intermixed with the mission and distort the situations.

Yet, if we are honest, is this really that far from us? Read any twitter or Facebook feed and look at the verbal and emotional carnage.

In this passage we never hear God's command for any of Samson's actions. I think it is a reasonable passage to pause and take a look in the mirror. How often do we, with a sense of justice and morality, engage in vengeful arguments and actions, tearing others down? Do we act with clarity knowing what should be done, or do we just do what we feel or think needs to happen?

I wonder how many would have died if Samson had consulted God on what to do. Perhaps he did and it would have turned out this way anyway; we don't know for sure. But I do know there have been many times where the emotional carnage around me has been because my moral sense of justice connected to a passionate desire to react, which overrode my trust in God's ways and led to a sinful action against someone else.

If you have been hurt, offended, or just angered at someone's comment, do yourself and everyone else a favor: PAUSE, count to 10 (or 100 if you still find your heart racing), then pray and ask God what to do, and don't act until you are sure of His answer to the situation. If it is a situation of immediate danger, get safe and get help. Ask God for help in the immediate and for how to respond in the days to come. God is able to lead us in every situation, even split second decisions. It is our job to seek Him and listen.

We dare not find ourselves jumping in to judge situations, motives, comments, or hurts too quickly. If we do, we may make the situation worse or even deadly. God's justice is perfect and complete and comes at the proper time. Our first concern should always be to know God and trust God to lead us in every circumstance. If He is first, then our actions will clearly display Him and His character. And for a follower of Jesus, God being seen should be our first concern in every situation.

Pray for one another to be strengthened in this, and for me also. It is hard for all of us to be truly faithful in every moment and every season.

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