Fighting the Comfort of Sin
September 26, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
James says Scripture is like a mirror. If we merely “hear” Scripture, but do not “do” it, we are “like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror,” and then does nothing to change our appearance (James 1:23).
Judges 15 is a mirror that stings.
At first glance we read about Samson’s self-centered back-and-forth revenge-seeking against the Philistines. The foolishness of Samson’s and the Philistines’ actions sting as we consider our own foolish tendencies to seek revenge.
The deeper sting, however, is found in the response of the Israelites to Samson’s actions. We read in verse 15, “Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, ‘Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?’” These men were annoyed with Samson. They believed that Samson was disturbing the peace by stirring up the hornets’ nest, namely, the Philistines. It’s hard to disagree with the men of Judah.
The problem, though, is that this response from Israel reveals that they have made peace with idolatry. Remember that God “gives Israel into the hand of the Philistines” because they “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (13:1). The rule of the Philistines is a punishment from God for idolatry. For these men of Judah to complain to Samson about disturbing the peace of their punishment reveals that they have become complacent with their sinful lives. They don’t want to change. As Dale Ralph Davis says, they “see deliverance as a threat to peace.”
Yes, Samson is stirring up the hornets’ nest.
Yes, it is becoming very uncomfortable for the Israelites and Philistines to live peaceably together.
Yes, Samson is a bratty, self-centered man-child.
But God did not make peace with their idolatry.
The sting of Judges 15:11 is that we too make peace with sin. We complain when hardships and trials come into our lives. We lash out at those who might stir up the hornets’ nest in our worlds. We come to love comfort and the status-quo more than God’s designs for holiness, because his designs often involve the discomforts of refining fire.
Our Confession of Faith speaks about this reality. God does not allow his children to become comfortable and complacent with sin. He designs trials, much like what Israel experiences in Judges 15 at the hands of Samson, to “chastise” and “humble” his children. He even allows us to suffer under the “corruption of our own hearts” in order to “raise us to a more close and constant dependence for our support upon himself” (WCF 5.5).
Praise God that he does not leave us in the comforts of sin, but loves us enough to refine and grow us in holiness!