Is the Christian God crazy? All Christians would likely join the chorus, shouting, “No!”
So would I.
However, I hope that after reading this post you will agree that, from a human point of view, the Lord does some things that are very…what’s the word? Curious? However, there is a reason for His “curious” behavior, as we shall see.
To begin the discussion, I want to look at the marriage of Samson. Now, Samson’s parents had been contacted twice by an angel before his birth. The wife—we’re not told her name—experienced the first visit. (She was barren, by the way.) She was given some basic instructions about how to raise this boy. He should drink no wine or strong drink. He should eat nothing unclean. His hair should not be cut. He would save Israel from the domination of the Philistines (Judges 13:2-20).
Well, the day came when this God-chosen deliverer wanted to get married. He’d found a woman who was beautiful and desired her. One major problem existed, however. The woman was a Philistine. The Philistines were not only one of Israel’s enemies, they were pagans. They worshiped Dagon. Not much is known about this god, but The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary says, “As divine ruler of his land, Dagon was responsible for king and people; this is well attested in spheres of military expansion, fertility, living and deceased human rulers, and divine advice (Kupper 1947: 150–52). A number of messages from Dagon to his territory have survived. By dream, by ecstatic possession, and by oral command, male and female prophets and commoners related Dagon’s messages on topics ranging from war and peace.” 1
The parents, however, knowing how distasteful this was to God, urged their son to relent. He did not. So, they went to Timnah to secure Samson’s heartthrob. In my opinion, they gave in to this unrighteous request because they knew, based upon their two encounters with the angel, that this man was chosen and called by God. However, was this behavior unrighteous? Read this: “His father and mother did not know that it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel” (Judges 14:4).2
So, let’s get this straight. God chooses Samson as the man to deliver Israel and is going to use his marriage to a pagan enemy of Israel to do it.
Right. Happens all the time.
Thus, a wedding was arranged. Just before the joining, however, Samson told the bride-to-be’s relatives that he had a riddle for them. I mean, everybody does this, right? Just to add to the oddness of this account, the riddle had to do with a lion Samson had killed with his bare hands and the beehive he subsequently found it its carcass. Just normal, everyday stuff. These men did not know the answer to Samson’s riddle, so they told Samson’s wife-to-be that unless she spilled the beans, she and her family would be burned alive.
That’s called incentive.
So, she cajoled Samson, and he gave up the answer to the riddle. Then he responded the way the Lord wanted him to: “And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house. And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man” (Judges 14:19–20).
But it doesn’t end there. Samson catches three hundred foxes, ties their tails together, attaches torches, and burns up the Philistines’ stacked grain, standing grain, and olive orchards.
Do you know of anyone who has, without the aid of a trap, caught a fox, much less three hundred of them? Then tied their tails together? It’s clear—this man had supernatural enablement.
It doesn’t stop there. He kills one thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey. Right. John Wick with a jawbone. At least Wick finally got shot. Samson did this with no one stabbing him or shooting an arrow between his shoulder blades.
Feel free to read the Samson account, but it ends with the now blind Samson pushing on two pillars in the temple of Dagon, destroying it and killing about three thousand worshippers. Again, this man was enabled by the Spirit of God. No one is that strong.
Why would the Lord do things this way? It just seems crazy.
No, not crazy. The Lord God Almighty goes out of His way to inform us that He alone performs His work, so He alone will be glorified. Consider Gideon. His pots and torches were great, I’m sure, but they are not effective war weapons. Break the pots. Shout. Hold up the torches. The enemy is defeated. Good job with those pots and torches, men!
We could go on. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt by a man holding up his staff. I mean no disrespect, but I’m sure Moses would not think holding a staff up accomplishes, on its own, anything.
Defeating an enemy city, Jericho, by marching around it, shouting and blowing trumpets. Great work on those trumpets, guys! And the shouting? Awesome!
Could the Lord make it any clearer? He alone brings victory and deliverance. He alone, not us, is to be glorified.
1Handy, L. K. (1992). Dagon (Deity). In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 1–2, pp. 1232–2). New York: Doubleday.
2All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
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