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Archive for March 1st, 2009

There is a recurring pattern in the Biblical story of Samson:  the human characters “didn’t realize” what God was doing.  Whether this is an indictment or a truth about us, probably both, it reminds us implicitly that there is ” an infinite qualitative difference between God and us.” Wow, that last sentence might have been to much!  Anyways, here are a few thoughts:

  • The text(Judges 13-16) is intentionally ambiguous about the encounter between Samson’s parents and God.  They “didn’t realize” that it was God that they were having a conversation with.  Huhhh??  What was really going on in this brief story?   Why is there so much ambiguity?  Well, I think that’s the point.  Our encounters with God are similar; they are sometimes difficult to explain.  I think we all can relate to the the reality, the conundrums and the ambiguities that are packaged in our encounters with God. It’s confusing!  At least, in trying to communicate this to someone. But it’s also so real and clear, thus the paradox.  Words never seem to be adequate or descriptive enough in speaking about our experience(s) with Him.  But they are necessary…
  • The tension within the story is unmitigated.  The narrative continues to point to this motif of mental clumsiness.  Samson marries a Philistine women, his parents object, they “didn’t realize” that God was using this.
  • for Samson’s parents this must have come across as bona fide crazy.  God’s purpose lies outside our purview.  He even works through our indiscretions to move His purpose forward in human history.
  • Samson among other things is a tease.  But this gets him into trouble… In an ominous twist, Samson wakes up after his head had been shaved and “didn’t realize” that the Lord had left him…
  • The narrative crystallizes within it’s storyline a human tendency:  we can be very slow to grasp God’s purpose.  Or for that matter just slow. That’s why trusting God is essential!  What God does is astronomic, gigantic, befuddling, crazy, and perplexing but His purpose is always extraordinary and surprising and breathtaking.  Isaiah’s words are an indictment or maybe just a fact that forces us to acknowledge that “His thoughts are not are thoughts, His ways are not are ways.”   This is a tough pill to swallow for most of us.  Our opinion, our wisdom, our education, our knowledge is inferior not superior within God’s world.  I’m not saying were all mentally challenged.  Well, maybe just a little bit ?!  It’s just difficult to square our logic with the what we see in the Biblical story!  God seems to work in human history in some very strange ways,  which is comforting for us who are experiencing some strange things that do not line up with our logic.. Or maybe we just need some Nyquil…
  • Finally,  Samson’s life builds up this theme –  circumstances can be very strange but they always point to one humbling reality: we are not in charge; God is…

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