From Out of Nowhere

S (Scripture): Judges 13

1 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines for forty years.  

2 There was a man named Manoah from Zorah, from the Danite tribe. His wife was infertile and childless. 3 The Lord’s angelic messenger appeared to the woman and said to her, “You are infertile and childless, but you will conceive and have a son. 4 Now be careful! Do not drink wine or beer, and do not eat any food that will make you ritually unclean. 5 Look, you will conceive and have a son. You must never cut his hair, for the child will be dedicated to God from birth. He will begin to deliver Israel from the power of the Philistines.”

24 Manoah’s wife gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The child grew and the Lord empowered him. 25 The Lord’s spirit began to control him in Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

O (Observation):  Israel goes back and forth between doing good and doing evil in the sight of the Lord.  This is part of how they operated for hundreds of years after the Exodus. 

Today is an example of God intervening for God’s people, regardless of their strength or devotion to the Lord.  The Lord always remembers the promise that He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Like a parent to a wayward child, God’s love is shown here. 

And who will help rescue them?  Not their great army, but God will rescue them, through Samson.   

A (Application): Sometimes, we just can’t find the strength or the will power to go on.  And in those times, we rely on the Lord.  

As I look back at my life, I see many people who rescued me from pain, from suffering, from my own stupidity.   These people came to me in the form of my parents, my wife, all of my family, my friends, my church family…

I can feel inundated with work or family issues.  I can feel like I don’t have enough time in the day for things to get done, or not enough money to make certain things happen.  

So many times, I wonder: “How am I going to make it?”  

And I try to think about texts like today’s.  God’s people were up to no good, but God chose to rescue them anyway.   Maybe I can see it around me.  Maybe I’m blind to God’s hand.  Either way, I know God’s got me.  

And finally, I can be at peace. 

P (Prayer):  Lord, rescue us again from our own faults.  Amen. 


The Surging Water

  S (Scripture):  Psalm 18:16 He reached down from above and took hold of me; he pulled me from the surging water. 17 He rescued me from my strong enemy, from those who hate me, for they were too strong for me.

O (Observation):  The psalmist acknowledges the Lord’s hand in saving him from his troubles.  The surging water was a famous metaphor for the difficulties in the world, one’s enemies, or  evil itself.  The psalmist sees the hope in relying on the Lord, because the Lord is the one to save us. 

A (Application): I think all of us can name a time when we felt the surging water rising around us.  Doubt is my surging water.   Not doubt in the Lord, but doubt in myself.   Could I do more?  Could I do things better?  That doubt causes me to disengage from my family, my friends, even my hobbies.   

I lean not on my own efforts, but trust in the Lord this day to tell me that my efforts are good.  My work is what it needs to be.   Sure, things can improve, but only as an outcome of my overall health and trust in the Lord.    I’ll see what God has in store for me this day, and hope for engaging moments with my family, work, hobbies, and those around me.  

Thank you, God, for bringing me into the fold and for claiming me as your own.

What is the surging water in your life?  In what, in whom do you trust?

P (Prayer):  Lord, protect me from the surging water that rises.   You can rescue me.  Help all who struggle with the rising water.  Amen.