“(His parents did not know that this [Samson marrying a Philistine] was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)” (Judges 14:4)
Samson, Samson, Samson, smh. This guy is a real piece of work. Still, God used him. The author of Judges tells us why right here: God wanted to confront the Philistines.
The problem in Israel at that time wasn’t that they were being ruled by overlords like the many times before. The problem was that this time Israel never “cried out to God.” They never asked God for help. They never asked God to remove the ungodly Philistines from their land. On the contrary, Israel had adopted Philistine values, ideals, mores, idols, and even gods.
In fact, Israel wanted to be like the Philistines…to be accepted by them. Samson even hoped to marry into the ruling class. Israel and Philistia had essentially become indistinguishable. They did the same things and worshiped the same idols and gods. There was no conflict between them. So, God used Samson to create some conflict.
And this is the problem of the church. When we forget that we’re in the world but not of the world (1 Pet. 2:11), when we become “friends with the world” (James 4:4), when there is no longer any conflict between their values and our values, we find that the church is in the same danger as Israel. Michael Wilcock says: “There is no such thing as harmonious co-existence between the church and the world, for where there is no conflict it is because the world has taken over.”
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.” (Matthew 5:13) God loved Israel too much for them to be thrown out and trampled on the ash-heap of history. So he sent Samson whom he used as a crowbar to pry Israel and Philistia apart.
Let us continue to pursue holiness, to be set apart from “the world.” Let’s pray God doesn’t have to use a crowbar on us!