Tuesday, October 14, 2008

God is in the Details (act 2)

When we last left Sampson he was jerry-rigging (it's in the dictionary) some foxes with torches in a scheme to get even with those Philistines, after being informed that his Philistine wife had been given away to his good Philistine friend. So here are some details from the rest of Samson's story:
- The people of Judah handed him over to the Philistines, who planned to get back at him.
- The Spirit of the Lord came on him at the showdown and he slew 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey.
- The place where the slaughter took place was later referred to as Jawbone Hill (or something like that).
- After his feat of strength (whippin' the 1,000 Philistines), God renewed his strength by opening up a spring for Samson to drink from. The spring was referred to as, "the spring of him who called" (or something like that).
- He slept with a prostitute from Gaza (I had to edit that detail when while reading to Elias & Jonah).
- The Philistines tried to trap him in the city by locking the city gates while he was sleeping in Gaza.
- In the middle of the night he ripped the gates, the gateposts, and the metal bar from the wall and carried them home on his shoulders (that's quite a souvenir). We're not told whether or not the Spirit of the Lord was upon him for this adventure.
- He fell in love with a woman named Delilah from the Valley of Sorek.
- The Philistine leaders promised Delilah 28 lbs. of silver if she was able to discover the secret of his strength.
- 4 times Delilah asked him to tell her the secret. 3 times he tricked her. He told her that if
(1st trick) he was tied up with 7 leather straps, not completely dry,
(2nd trick) he was tied tightly with new ropes,
(3rd trick) his hair was woven into the cloth of a loom and pined to it,
he would be powerless. Each time he broke free.
- Finally, he told her that if his hair were cut, his strength would leave him.
-When he fell asleep in Delilah's lap she had one of the Philistine rulers come in and cut off Samson's 7 braids of hair.
- After his hair was cut the LORD left him--he was weak and easily overpowered
- The Philistines gouged his eyes out, took him down to Gaza, put bronze chains around his neck, made him grind grain, and shaved his head.
- The Philistines forgot to keep his hair cut.
- While the Philistines were having a party and making sacrifices to Dagon, their god, they got wasted and said, "Bring out Samson and let him put on a show for us."
- When the Philistine servant brought him out he asked the servant to lead him to the large pillars that held up the temple, so that he could lean on them.
- All of the Philistine rulers were at this party and there were about 3,000 people on the roof of the temple.
- He prayed to God for strength one last time so that he could get back at the Philistines for what they did to his eyes. He asked that it could be done in one blow.
- He put his right hand on one pillar and his left on the other and pushed.
- EVERYONE died.
- Samson's bothers brought his body home and buried him in his father's tomb.
- Samson led Israel for 20 years.

The End.

That was much more detailed than what I originally intended it to be. It's was difficult to decide which of the particulars to leave out and which ones to include. Each little detail makes the story that much more rich, vivid, memorable, and fascinating.
My boy's love the little details; if they knew that I sometimes skipped or reworded things that might not be age appropriate (I try to do this as little as possible), they would want to know what they were missing out on. Each night before we read the latest installment in the Biblical saga, we review some of the details from the night before; some things they remember and some they don't. I'm always eager to hear which of the finer points they picked up on. And this is the reason: those little details build and shape character!
These facts about the history of God's people are recorded with a purpose; they inform our worldview, they challenge us to consider whether our lives align with God's desire for us as His people, they inspire us to heroic and righteous deeds, they warn us against cowardice, irreverence, and apathy, they remind us of God's mercy, judgment, and providence, they remind us of our own humanity and beg us to transcend it, and they make it clear that God is involved in the lives of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). In these stories God has revealed Himself and His desire for us. And so, these little details, imbedded in our hearts and minds, help make us into the men and women God has in mind for us to become.
If you take time to notice, you will see God's involvement in the details above. My prayer for Elias, Jonah, Anna, and Elizabeth is that He will be evident in the details of their lives as well, and that each decision they make, each action they take, each consequence they reap, every dream of their hearts will be viewed in the light of these details that they learned in their youth.
May God be evident in the details of your story too.


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