Wake up calls are common when we travel. We call the hotel’s front desk and we tell them when we want to be awakened. The next morning, the phone rings at the appropriate time, and a computer-generated voice can be heard telling us the time. Sometimes wake up calls come in other forms. Our boss telling us one more mistake, and we are fired. Flunking out of school. A near brush with death.
Sometimes we are awakened in the middle of the night, by a knock on the front door or a phone ringing or a child crying or an animal prowling or by a dream or by a man killing a 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey.
Remember our man Samson? His wife has been given to his best man, he has wreaked havoc on Timnah a Philistine village by destroying an entire year’s worth of crops and now he is holed up in a cave. The Philistines are ticked, they will “do to him what he did to us.” Escalation. Our unmet desires if allowed to escalate will lead to war.
The Philistines retaliate at Lehi (Judges 15:9-10). NOTE- Lehi means jawbone. Israel is surprised and frightened. Then we read the saddest verse in the chapter.
Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.”
There is so much wrong here.
- The first time they muster an army, they do so to capture Samson and not fight the enemy. They could’ve rallied the troops and marched behind their hero instead they hand him over.
- The Israelites were OK w/slavery over freedom. Compromise over commitment. Their God is the God of the Angel armies, he split the Red Sea, he caused 900 chariots to get stuck in the mud and opposing armies to kill each other without Israel lifting a finger, and he is the one who led them here. The Israelites were overtaken by apathy and fear.
Bridge to Your World Personally– Are you tired of status quo? Are you OK with missing opportunities for biblical reflection because life is too busy? Are you busier with important pursuits and leave knowing God for later? Are you so caught up with you plans that you don’t have time to deal with growth issues? Do you need a wake-up call?
God’s Wake-up Call at Jawbone Hill
Judges 15:14-20 reads like a Hollywood movie like Patriot, Braveheart, or Gladiator. One man sending a clear message to the enemy.
The Philistines sounded their victory battle cry! The Jews hung back! Samson was EMPOWERED. Ropes came off.
Samson picks up a fresh jawbone and kills 1,000 Philistine men. What did this do to the Jews? Do you think some of them had the urge to go out and fight? This was God’s Wake Up Call…
What is Samson’s response? Judges 15:16-A Play on words- Donkey and heap are the same words- with the jawbone of a DONKEY or the other word for donkey- Donkey upon Donkeys (don’t miss the poetic humor from Samson). However, there is not mention of God, Samson takes the credit.
Then everything changed…Judges 15:18- First time he calls on God was in response to a physical need. He is thirsty. He sees his need big time. He still does not have mature God exalting responses, it is still all about HIM. No mention of anyone else…but it is a start.