What is in the news today? Mob rule. Chances are there is a mob of people making demands to have someone canceled or arrested. The media rushes forward with cameras to put into the protestor’s face. The protesting groups become emboldened and act even more outrageous demanding more attention. Blocking traffic and trains. Shutting down entire blocks of city streets. They demand to be heard and destruction follows their path.
God is a God of order but chaos follows the evil heart sinners everywhere it goes. In the book of Judges we find the Philistine society in a similar state. They are a fear based and mob ruled people. They are oppressing the Israelites but everyone seems to have found a precarious but corrupting balance. This is when God decides to act. With the birth of Samson God is going to use a passionate man to break Israel free of this mob ruled philistine society.
Angry Unthinking Mob
We all are predisposed to certain sinful ways. Samson is a lustful man and God uses Samson’s weakness to judge the Philistines. Samson after killing 30 men in secret at his wedding festival to pay a gambling debt returns to collect his wife. Finding that she had been given to someone else Samson sets fire to the Philistine harvest in a spectacular way. When the mob figures out who and why they murder their own by killing the bride and her father. They did not go after Samson directly they wanted revenge on him in the most painful way possible by murdering innocent people. Once they capture Samson God intervenes and allow Samson to kill 1000 men.
18 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years. Judges 15:18-20 ESV
God is Always at Work
Don Smith points out in his commentary of Judges that Samson being a descendant of Dan (Judges 13:2) is fulfilling the prophecy that Jacob gave to this son listed in Genesis.
16 “Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that his rider falls backward. 18 I wait for your salvation, O Lord. Genesis 49:16-18 ESV
It would be an interesting exercise of scholarly research to deep dive into all of these promises to see where they are fulfilled and Samson does fit the bill of a snake that surprises everyone at the most unexpected moment with venom and death.
God is Faithful Even When I am Faithless
Samson even though he is unfaithful to God by pursuing a Philistine wife is still used to judge the Philistine peoples. God does not need a white knight of saintly virtue to accomplish his will. In fact we find over and over throughout the Bible that God uses broken vessels of everyday people to accomplish his plans.
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. Isaiah 41:17 ESV
God Uses the Mob to Accomplish His Plans
Salvation always comes from God. Mobs of people will not hold back God’s plans. Even if the mob seems to win God’s plans are only accelerated. The mob wanted to kill Samson but God judged them and set Samson up as a ruler over them for 20 years.
In the early days of the Church a mob came for Stephen and his death led to growth in the church and kicked off the transformation of the primary author of the New Testament Bible (Saul renamed Paul by Jesus)
4 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. Acts 7:54-58 ESV
Thanks for reading. Don’t like Mob rule? Here is the kind of Government Jesus would want.