Saturday, January 26, 2008

The son who wanted a wife

And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. And his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said to his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. -- Judges 14:1-3

I think this is one of the saddest stories in the Bible. Samson could have done so much for God, but he became a playboy instead. And for the record, I personally believe Samson was a little guy who looked like a wimp. If he'd have been one of those weightlifter-body builder types like he's pictured in children's Bible story books, people would not have been so curious about where his strength came from.

In relation to our current series on courtship and marriage, there are three points I want to make here.

1. Samson saw the woman he wanted and asked his father to get her for him. There was nothing wrong with him following this process. His father would probably not have objected if only Samson had picked an Israelite woman. So courtship, in the Bible, allowed for the man to pick his own bride rather than wait for the parents or matchmakers to choose for him. The parents still arranged everything, but the son was allowed to make his choice known.

2. Samson picked the wrong woman. He went to the world instead of to God's chosen people. Granted, this was all in the providence of God, and God planned to use this against the Philistines. But God's providence should never be an excuse for sin. Never, ever should a godly man pick a worldly woman and say that God will work it for good.

3. Samson failed to follow his father's advice. Manoah knew that the Philistine woman would not be good for his son. He cautioned Samson to look among God's people for a better bride. Samson would have none of them, and insisted on having the Philistine woman. He got his way. . .or did he? Read Judges 14 and 15 for yourself and find out.

Fast forward several thousand years to the Church age. What does the New Testament say about each of these three points?

1. Choosing your own bride: Sorry, but I could not find anything in the New Testament that specifically addresses whether there should be a matchmaker involved or not. The Lord speaks highly of marriage, however, and the epistles give plenty of principles to follow for choosing the right bride and how the marriage itself should function.

2. Choosing the right bride: What kind of woman should a man choose? First and foremost she should be a Christian. 2 Corinthians 6:14 makes this very clear: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. . ." If you want to know how to tell if a woman is truly converted, read 1 John.

She should have the fruit of the spirit in practice. That fruit may not be fully developed, but it should be at least growing. Read Galatians chapter five in order to get verses 22-23 in context. Then do your own study of just exactly what each of those words means. Simply looking them up in a concordance will show you a lot, but you can get deeper.

She should be trained specifically for the role of wife and mother. Read Titus 2:4-5. Other passages to study: 1 Timothy 3:11 (specifically about deacon's wives, but can--should?--apply to any woman serving the church), 1 Peter 3:1-6, 1 Timothy 2:9-10.

3. Following godly advice, particularly that of godly parents: God gives older Christians insight that younger Christians would do well to follow. Titus 2, for example, lists things that Titus was to teach the younger men and things that older women were to teach younger women. Be teachable. Hebrews 13 speaks three times of those who have the rule over you. This can include parents, pastors, teachers, or even mentors. Verse 7 tells us to "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."

A godly older person can look unromantically at a prospective bride and see more clearly her faults as well as those points in her favour. He or she can help the young man determine whether those faults should be remedied before considering her for marriage, or if they are things that will work themselves out with time. A young man can ask the older women in the prospective bride's life what they think of her. But don't expect perfection. Very few (if any) younger women have achieved the high standard set in Proverbs 31:10-31. In fact, most older women are still working on that!

The man who wants a good wife will do some careful examining of the young women available. He will not rush off to marry the first pretty girl (or good cook!) he meets. He will seek the counsel of others with regard to his choice. He will also PRAY much about the matter. He will wait for God's choice for him, regardless of how long that may take. My own husband waited ten years. (He says I was worth it, and I guess Proverbs 18:22 agrees. But, oh, that I might be a better "good thing"!)

This was going to be a shorter post! Oh, well. Ruth is next. Meanwhile, here's a hint for the young women. Do you want to be chosen by a godly man? Do your own study of all the passages mentioned in this post. How do you measure up?


Twinklemoose said...

"She should be trained specifically for the role of wife and mother."

I object! If she has been so trained, it is advantageous, but not a major consideration. If she is godly and wants to learn, that is good too.

Cathy said...

You are right, of course. Considering the lateness of the hour in which this post was written, I am surprised it is coherent at all.

A book would be well outlined and more carefully arranged and edited, but I wasn't intending to write a book. I sometimes feel in a hurry to get something written, then when I go over the post a day or a week later I sometimes wonder, "Now where did I think I was going with that thought?"

The prime characteristics of a good prospective wife are that she be godly and teachable. I think what I meant by that statement had more to do with what we as parents should be doing, and that the young woman herself should at least have a mindset geared toward home and family rather than toward an outside career for herself.

Caleb said...

I wonder if the training of a women ought to start with how to be a wife and mother, but that there is often more to being the helpmeet or "helper fit for him" then just being a wife and mother, a woman who uses her intelegence to also asist a man in his calling could be a very great blessing. For example at the college I go to the big "sport" is not a physical one but debate and one of the college leaders (I am not sure if it was the president) said that the girls who had just been through the national moot court meet would be good wives for lawers whether or not they ever went to law school and practiced it at a job or not because they would be able to help their husbands think about the arguements critically.
So I think that a good wife might also be a help in the husbands vocation and calling.

Sujai said...

You ignored what the Word of God says in the very next verse when Samson asks his parents for the Philistine woman: Judges 14:4
"But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel".

The Lord God of Israel sought an occasion against the Philistines. May be God wanted to give the Philistines a chance to know that the Lord God of Israel is the God of all. We do not know.

People view Samson as someone who failed God. In spite of what men say; the Spirit's word is final and the Holy Spirit lists Samson as one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Well, indeed he was. By faith, when the Holy Spirit came upon him, he obeyed and by faith he killed a lion.
He executed God's just judgments on the wicked Philistines when ever the Spirit moved him. He killed a 1000 armed men with a donkey's jaw bone when the Spirit moved him. He obeyed God whenever He moved Samson by His Holy Spirit. After he killed 1000 armed men with a donkey's jaw bone, God listed to his prayer for water and opened up a spring from the ground.

No one is perfect, for Samson is also a flesh and blood. David did the same thing as Samson did, but David is held in high esteem among the people because you see David's heart in the Psalms. But Samson fulfilled the purpose of God. He was born when the Israelites were under the Philistines and God raised Samson and he liberated Israel from the hands of Philistines. Holy Spirit lists Samson as a hero of faith in Hebrews 11. That is final.

Sujai said...

Samson's had super human strength. He killed a 1000 armed men with a donkey's jaw bone. He caught 300 foxes and tied them with their tails in pairs. He killed an young lion. He tore the gates of a fortified city.
This is not normal human strength and no matter how strong a human looks, he cannot do these super human acts. There is no reason to belittle Samson. He must have been like a well built man.

Cathy said...

Read my post again more carefully. I did not ignore the verse you mentioned. I quote myself:

Granted, this was all in the providence of God, and God planned to use this against the Philistines. But God's providence should never be an excuse for sin. Never, ever should a godly man pick a worldly woman and say that God will work it for good.

What you seem to have ignored is the word "against". God did not intend Samson's unlawful marriage as a tool to save the Philistines. He intended to destroy them.

People view Samson as someone who failed God because he did fail God. The same people also see that he did do some things by faith. The same Holy Spirit who inspired Hebrews 11 also inspired the book of Judges. His purpose is not to make us feel better about the fact that we are imperfect humans. God's word always shows sin as something to avoid at all costs, not something that we humans just have to learn to live with.

The purpose of this post was not to examine the life of Samson, good and bad. My purpose was to pull out one incident that should serve as a warning to those young men who are looking for a wife.

Sujai said...

Yes, that is my mistake that I ignored that word. Ofcourse, his purpose is not to make us comfortable of the fact that we are imperfect humans and therefore an excuse for sin. My purpose was to write that was to tell you that there is no need to have a negative view of Samson.

Your post shows your hostile attitude towards Samson. He did not do somethings. He did a lot of things by faith. One of them: Imagine yourself before an army and you have to confront them with a weapon you've never used and God is telling you to go ahead. Samson obeyed God and he did kill all of them by the strength God gave him because he believed God's provision.

I quote you now: Samson could have done so much for God, but he became a playboy instead.

The Spirit of God views Samson as a a hero of faith and you view him a negative light.

My purpose, by no means, is to justify Samson's sin or anything like that. We all have to live a holy life acceptable and pleasing to God's sight.

I really appreciate your effort and I personally have benefited by reading your blog and posts. Probably, I am of one of your son's age.