Episode 3.  Samson destroys the temple

Samson uses his renewed strength to sacrifice himself and destroy the Philistine temple, Judges 16:27-31

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  • The search. The book of Judges is structured around a cycle of Israel’s sin followed by suffering which causes Israel to shout to God. God hears and raises up an unlikely hero who saves them and restores a measure of peace. Then the cycles begins again. The controlling verse of the book is Judges 17:6 “In those days there was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” The entire book is a story about searching for a true and good and faithful king. In fact, one can make the case that all of human life is a search for the rightful King.
  • God’s faithfulness. In the face of Israel’s stubborn sin and rebellion, it is God and his stubborn faithfulness that shines through as the ultimate hero. He will not give up on his people—no matter what. Our lives, if we can see them rightly, is the story of God’s stubborn faithfulness to us even in the midst of our greatest sins. No matter what darkness we might be facing now, God has not abandoned us. His power has not left us. Indeed, it is made perfect in weakness.
  • Flawed heroes. Samson is the greatest of the unlikely heroes in Judges. He is deeply flawed and yet used by God to show us that God does not work according to human merit or righteousness (lest we grow proud and rely on ourselves), but instead works according to his grace and through those who know deeply their need for a Savior. All of these flawed heroes, though, keep the readers longing for a True and Perfect King. A Mighty Man who will finally end the cycle of sin and suffering.
  • Jesus. Samson, God’s mighty man, here gives his life as a final act of faithfulness in order to destroy the enemies of God. The Greater Samson, Jesus, in a later act of ultimate faithfulness gives his life in order to saveGod’s enemies from eternal destruction.

Episode 4.  David & Goliath

Young David defeats the giant Goliath with great faith and a small sling, 1 Samuel 17:40-50

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  • By faith not by sight. David is often seen as an example of great faith and courage against all odds. While this is true, David’s faith wasn’t a blind faith. No, he saw with a different set of eyes. While everyone saw the menacing physical presence of Goliath and compared it to their own physical resources, David saw Goliath’s physical presence and power in the light of God’s presence and power. When he compared Goliath not to himself but to his God, the odds shifted considerably. He had courage and faith not because his faith was blind but because his faith saw rightly.
  • The champion. The battle lines are drawn and Goliath is the representative of the Philistines and David the representative of Israel. If David loses, his defeat applies to all Israel. If he wins, the benefits of his victory applies to all. David is Israel’s champion and he fights for Israel and his victory means the victory of all who are identified with him. The story, then, while certainly speaking of faith and encourage, actually is intended to point us to our need for a True Champion for none of us can face and defeat the “Goliaths of life” relying on our own strength.
  • Jesus. Jesus is most often called the Son of David in the NT. He was the king like David, a man after God’s own heart, that God’s people had been waiting for. His life, death and resurrection is a battle against the greatest enemy: Satan and death. If this Son of David loses his battle, then we are all doomed. If he wins, it means victory once and for all for anyone who would identify with him by faith. On the cross, it looked as though our Champion suffered the worst defeat imaginable. But it was in submitting to the enemy, death, that he destroyed it from the inside out. He won the battle in our place and the fruits of his victory are ours—eternal life.

Contributed by:  Abe Cho, Assistant Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York, NY