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Vital signs- Thursday, June 15th, 2023

“After a while, in the time of wheat harvest, it happened that Samson visited his wife with a young goat. And he said, “Let me go to my wife, into her room.” But her father would not permit him to go in. Her father said, “I really thought that you thoroughly hated her; therefore I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister better than she? Please, take her instead.” And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be blameless regarding the Philistines if I harm them!” Then Samson went and caught three hundred foxes; and he took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. When he had set the torches on fire, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burned up both the shocks and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards and olive groves. Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they answered, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire.”

‭‭Judges‬ ‭15‬:‭1‬-‭6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

For a lot of people anger is a default emotion. When someone embarrasses us, rarely do we feel only embarrassment. Most of the time, that embarrassment also makes us angry. Nobody’s gonna make me look like a fool. They’ll be sorry they messed with me. That’s because when people experience something negative, anger is usually our automatic response.

You might have thought Samson’s reaction was over the top—killing 30 guys to pay off a gambling debt—but he was just getting warmed up. Today we see him really turn up the heat.

After Samson stormed off from his engagement celebration, his bride’s father was embarrassed that his future son-in-law had just disappeared. So he did what any father in that position would do: he gave her to another man in the wedding party! (This may not make sense to us, but it was appropriate in their culture at the time.)

In today’s reading, we see what happens when Samson returns to find that his wife went to another man.

Let’s review Samson’s greatest hits so far: He went someplace he had no business going. He lusted after—then pursued—the wrong woman. He ignored his parents’ advice (and God’s wisdom). He touched dead things. He got drunk. He taunted the Philistines with his riddle. He gave his own secret away. He left his wife at the altar to go kill a bunch of guys.

And who was responsible for every single one of these actions? Samson himself.

Samson keeps getting mad at the world, but in reality, almost everything that happened was his own fault. At any point, he could have backed off, even just a little. If he had just taken a minute to cool off, maybe he even could have turned things around. Instead, over and over, he escalated every situation, forcing others to react.

Today, we see how one more emotional decision from Samson forces an emotional response from the Philistines—and costs him everything he cares about.

What about us ? If you’re angry at those around you, where is your responsibility in that? Could it be possible that at least some of the hard things you’re going through right now are the result—perhaps even the direct consequences—of your own choices? Really try to be honest with yourself here.

Do you feel tempted to make excuses for your behavior? If you do, it’s time to stop and fight that temptation. Own your part. Ask for forgiveness if you need to. And not just from God, but from the people your actions and attitudes may have hurt. Ask God’s Spirit to lead you. Then go make the hard changes he shows you.

“A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Team Wade loves you and is praying for you ❤️👊

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