Matins Devotion: July 14, 2023
When Samson takes a Philistine wife, he doesn’t outwardly break the law of Moses, but he does break the spirit. While the Philistines were not among the seven nations Israel was forbidden from marrying, the whole point of the command from Deuteronomy 7 was “don’t join yourselves with people devoted to idols because you don’t want the same things. You want to worship the true God. They want to kill him through their idolatry, and they’ll conscript you into that attempted murder.” So even if the Philistines weren’t a big enough threat to Israel when the Law of Moses had been written down many generations earlier, the point still remained: “These people hate the promise of the Messiah. They are your enemies. So don’t make yourself one flesh with them.” Now when our text tells us that Samson’s plan here is from the Lord, I think God has simply told Samson to war against the Philistines, so this marriage is the rather unhinged and foolish way Samson has chosen to do that. But even if God has specifically told Samson to do this, He’s told him to do it as a kind of warning to us: Even if you’re fighting for the Lord, look what happens when you make yourself one with those who hate Him.
So earthly marriage cannot make peace between the children of God and the enemies of God. Politics can’t make peace between them. War can’t do it either. Conquering and subduing a godless people may bring a temporary peace but it won’t last and before you know it, they’ll be back to trying to corrupt your soul through the worship of idols.
There was only one thing that can bring peace between Israel and Philistia, and it wasn’t the marriage of Samson and the Philistine woman. It was the marriage between Christ and His bride the Church. Likewise, the divinely-given strength and power of Samson that tore down the Philistine temple at the end of his life couldn’t bring true peace to Israel because neither the blood of Samson nor the blood of the Philistines could forgive the sins of men. Only the blood of Christ could do that, which is why it was the strength of power of Christ that won peace as He tore down the devil’s kingdom with His nail-pierced hands. By shedding His blood, our Lord sprinkled the nations, destroyed their sins, and gave everyone the right to be born again into the family of God. The blood of Jesus has called to every Philistine, every Canaanite, Jebusite and Amorite, every European, ever African, and every Asian on earth. It has struck their idols dead and given them rest.
Samson used marriage as a trick to defeat his enemies. Christ used marriage as a gift to save His enemies, to cleanse them, and them His own forever. So now, in the arms of Christ, Israel and Philistia can have eternal peace with each other. So can you and your enemies who have been made your brothers through faith and who now rest with you in the arms of our Lord.