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Picture this. You are getting married. Family and friends have gathered. You have provided and prepared good food and wine in abundance. People will be dancing and enjoying good conversation. All will be happy for the bride and groom. Everything is going well except one very important thing: The family of your fiancée is your enemy, devoted to your personal destruction and that of your people and family, the very ones at the wedding.

If you’re the groom, what should you do? Make peace. Walk on eggshells. Don’t stir up any controversies. Maybe we can all get out of this…alive.

Or you could do what Samson did. Instead of saying, “Howdy and welcome to my wedding. Let’s all get along and have some food,” he decided to offer the members of his future wife’s family a riddle and a game to play in which they could lose a substantial amount of goods.

Just kind of a normal thing to do on one’s wedding day.

“His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do. As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. And Samson said to them, ‘Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes, but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.’ And they said to him, ‘Put your riddle, that we may hear it.’ And he said to them, ‘Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet’” (Judges 14:10–14a).1

No, “Take it easy, man” was going on here. No, “Let’s make sure we are careful in this potentially volatile situation.” No, it was, “I’m going to make trouble at my wedding. I’m going to get in the face of my guests. I’m going to try to humiliate them. Deal with it. My spouse-to-be? My family? Oh, well.”

Samson was an in-your-face, confrontational agitator. An inflammatory instigator.

This is how God made him.

Did I mention that he was supernaturally strong?

By the way. He was also a type of Christ.

Do you think what Samson did at his wedding is unwise? Crazy? I would agree. But Scripture tells us that his desire for a Philistine bride, despite opposition from his parents, came from the Lord (Judges 14:1–4).

What shall we do with that? Samson was seemingly unwise and crazy but he was acting this way in agreement with God’s will.

We don’t have the time or space to tell the whole story of Samson, but at the end of his life, he destroyed more of Israel’s enemies in his death than he did in his life. Samson pulled down their house upon them (Judges 16:30).

Now, this sounds a bit like Jesus, doesn’t it, destroying God’s enemies? “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:24–25).

However, I think there is more to Samson being a type of Christ than this sacrificial death alone. I think that Samson being a confrontational agitator and inflammatory instigator is likewise a type of Jesus. Please allow me to explain.

You remember, of course, that one day Jesus decided to stir up a bit of trouble on the temple grounds: “In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables” (John 2:14–15). Jesus could have kept silent and walked on by the whole greedy scene. He could have avoided stirring up a controversy. Why didn’t He? Zeal for His Father’s house had consumed Him (John 2:17). Oh, how He loved His Father—too much to let sinful things continue without challenge.

You may also remember that Jesus called the Pharisees sons of the devil (John 8:44), liars (John 8:55), and hypocrites (Matthew 23:14). Could Jesus have avoided calling the Pharisees names? Certainly. But our God is a consuming fire, to whom we should bring “acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28). After all, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Just ask those 3,000 Philistines who were worshiping their false god whom they thought had brought them victory over Samson, the man God had chosen.

In a similar confrontational light, consider these words from Jesus: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:12–14).

You remember Elijah, right? He’s the prophet who challenged the prophets of Baal and after their god had failed the test, killed them: “And Elijah said to them, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.’ And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there” (1 Kings 18:40).

The Christian God is a troublemaker. A confrontational agitator. An inflammatory instigator. His kingdom will come and is now underway. He will destroy His enemies. His desire is to pull down the house of the false gods in our cultures that want to destroy us and make us bow the knee. Some of His work may make us uncomfortable and turn our religious worlds, if necessary, upside-down—with love and compassion and mercy, of course.

Praise His name.

 

1All Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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