Riddle Me This, Something Sweet, 17JAN – #1370

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I am riddled with suspense by the riddles and rich stories of the Old Testament, this is continuing in the book of Judges, leaders who helped Israel keep the peace, and is just part one of Sampson, whom I only knew by name and that hair incident. That’s the riddle of the old testament, the stories are so rich and deep, but why wouldn’t they be elaborately told? It’s likely because they were shared, told, and became more memorable. God needed and needs His Word shared – and these chapters spoke of great leaders and accomplishments of God thru people (men and women).  

Riddle me this Batman, why are we captivated by such intriguing tales with interesting characters? Because our brains can and do appreciate the details, because God looks for us to attach to Him like mental Velcro, 3M Command Strips of millions of hook and loop grabbing onto Him. He created us in His image and I can’t even imagine the complexities of Him with the very complex brain He has given me.

Riddles, not the silly kind but the thinking kind are placed in life. You may not understand them, but you will remember them. Sampson riddled his new in-laws with:  “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” For three days they could not give the answer. For us, there is the backstory that helps us here. See, Sampson was chosen by God to be dedicated to Him, a Nazirite. Sampson often was FILLED with the Spirit to do something important in God’s plan.  Sampson was given great strength at times (killed a lion, slew a thousand men with a jaw of a donkey). His mission was often probably unknown to Him as well, yet he certainly knew the Philistines were oppressing his Israelite people. We are told on paper (the Word being the Lord) that Sampson was chosen to interact with the Philistines to prime the pump and stir up the small big battles God was gearing up to sustain the Israelites. The Sampson and Philistines interactions, as you can read below in Judges 14-15, led to 20 years peace, but not before some harrowing riddling tales. 

These chapters detail only part 1 of this chosen servant (haven’t even gotten into Sampson’s hair situation). But I will stop reading here to imagine how much the Lord speaks to us individually in His Word and by interacting with His people. Jesus is now revealed to us like something sweet out of death, Jesus is the LIFE. And as there’s a backstory of how He came to us, there is a forward story of the next unwritten chapters of Him and us after He comes again. We are currently living on HIS pages “in-between” and He is filling us in on His riddle of life, day by day, one by one. He only gives the info on a “needs to know basis”.

What are we riddled with? Unknown? Illnesses and pain? Uncomfortable situations not of our doing? Immense joy and blessings when we don’t know why? God’s leading us to His next developing scenario. A friend is going in for surgery, and praying and planning for one particular date to come to fruition. Is it God’s plans for the actual date? Who knows! For a delay due to covid staffing? For something completely different? That’s not our riddle, but it is God’s riddle for this person. And God only reveals info on a daily “needs to know” basis. He is still in control but we don’t know what switches He is pulling today. We can only trust in that the train will get to the station.

These riddles of life are not always answerable in this world. A friend who passed away a few years ago after a battle with a 2nd liver failure and hepatitis and kidney shutdowns that lasted years and years, she was kept alive by a miracle and a riddle of God. She only knew that God had some plan for her, and for each doctor baffled by her healing and cat of 9 lives revamping, she witnessed to them of the power of God and the saving Grace of Jesus. We witnessed her as a grandma glue to a family – she seemingly was done but her glue rehydrated, reworked for life, resurrected in a riddle of reality that God had a plan for her. 

God has a plan for us. Who knows how He will use us today, whom He needs us to meet, how He needs us to stir up a situation or calm down someone else’s train-wreck, or be stopped by an obstacle. Maybe we will be provided an answer we never saw coming. Maybe we will have the Spirit of the Lord come powerfully upon us today. All we do know is that each time He works for us, He is ALSO working us for Himself, . 

Let’s not forget that God has a plan for each of us and take each day as it comes.  Sampson’s riddle was about a Lion and Honey. After the carcass rotted, bees moved in to make a home. The eater was eaten and something sweet, Honey, came from it. This riddle was something only known between God and Sampson (and took his wife to pursue the answer like a field getting plowed). It took time to set up and it took time to think about and it took time to answer, SO our riddles of life may only be known by God until revealed to us. Again it is that “need to know” basis… Our riddle is NOT DONE. We only know that Jesus has won.

Sampson was used by God, so are we. For each of us today, we are to know there is something sweet of God’s Plan – our something sweet is Jesus. For each of us, He is still writing us into the rest of His Story. For us, we wait upon His Timing and His Strength. His Mystery. His Majesty. 

Amen (and do read the tale of Sampson, part 1). 

Judges 13:24-25, 14, 15.

The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan [“Dan’s camp” in Judah], between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson’s Marriage

Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.”  (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.

Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon himso that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her. Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.  “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”

“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.” He replied, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” For three days they could not give the answer. On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?” Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”

“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?” She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?”  Samson said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle.”

Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.

Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in. “I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.” Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.” So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails, lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.

When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.”

So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death. Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam. The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi. The people of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?” … “We have come to take Samson prisoner,” they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”

Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?” He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.” They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.” Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.”

“Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock.  As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands.  Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.”

When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi. Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi.

Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

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