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August 1, 2012 – Judges 15

Click here to read Judges 15 on BibleGateway.com

Every since I was a kid, I’ve heard horror stories about the damage television does to young, impressionable minds. “Don’t watch too much TV, you’ll turn into a drooling zombie…really, does anyone need more than 3 channels?…is your butt glued to that couch?…your muscles are atrophied into pudding…etc etc.” Yet, I never heard complaints about the one thing I believe is more damaging than any other (now that I’m all growed up): the discrepancy between television and reality.

On television and movies, if a man (particularly a man with exceptionally good martial arts skills and exceptionally bad acting ability) feels wronged in any way, he takes vengeance on those who have dared to trespass on his personal space. He always has the better plan, the quicker fists, the bigger muscles, or whatever. And then the movie ends. Finite. Over.

AND THE GIFT GOES ON

However, in real life, it never ends. There is no point where the “bad guys” say “ok, you win.” In real life, nobody thinks of themselves as a bad guy; everybody is the hero. As a result, everyone always has to get vengeance for whatever junk has happened to them. Everyone wants the last word, everyone wants the ace in the hole. The truth is, in real life, no one has a better plan. No one has the answers, everybody loses in the end. Example? Your wish is my command.

In today’s chapter, we get to see the result of a man trying to outdo his opposition. One of the more tragic figures of the Bible, Samson, is off romping around and decides to go visit his wife (wonder why he’s off romping and his wife is elsewhere? That’s for another day.) He goes to her house, where Samson finds out that her father – unsurprisingly assuming that Samson is probably not coming back – has married her off to Samson’s best man. Samson’s response: “Now I have the right to get even.” (note: nobody ever has a “right” to vengeance. That’s God’s prerogative.)

AND SO IT BEGINS

So Samson burns down a few Philistine fields (the original foxfire, for you pilots out there). But it doesn’t end there. Now the Philistines have the “right” to get even, so they go and burn Samson’s wife and her father alive.

Samson’s turn: he “attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them.” Now the Philistines return to the attack, this time possibly putting the rest of the israelites in the crosshairs. On and on it goes, until ultimately Samson is captured and blinded. If only Samson had let it go to start out with. Or better yet, if he had been a better husband, or not even married a girl against his parents’ wishes. Notice how his whole life snowballs because of his “rights.”

This is the real danger of television/movies. We believe that somehow we’ll get the last word, and it’ll be over. Look at some of the nations that have been fighting for hundreds of years around the world. Why? Because somebody had their “rights” violated. When we become Christ followers, we give up our rights. He is our Lord, and that means he takes vengeance when needed; that is out of our hands. Does Christ do this because he’s a powermad dictator? No, he does it to protect us from the consequences of our own stupidity. He does it for Love.

That’s the real Reality.

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