Advent Series - December 12
The last of the 12 judges was Samson.
Before Samson was born, the Israelites once more fell into evil. God allowed their enemies the Philistines to take over. After 40 years, the Israelites again turned back to God and God heard their prayers.
And an angel appeared to Samson’s mother telling her that she would have a son, who would be a Nazarite of God.
According to the Old Law, the Nazarites were those who led a more perfect life. They abstained from wine, and all unclean things. They were not supposed to cut their hair for the law stated “All the time of his separation no razor shall pass over his head, until the day be fulfilled of his consecration to the Lord. He shall be holy and shall let the hair on his head grow.” (Num 6:5)
For this reason, Samson had long hair.
Samson led the people of Israel for 20 years. He had immense strength. He could kill a lion with his bare hands, and fight a thousand Philistines (Judges 15:15), but he had one weakness.
Samson loved a Philistine woman named Delilah. The other Philistines offered Delilah money to find out the secret of Samson’s strength. So Delilah pestered and pestered Samson to tell his secret. Samson told her he was consecrated to God. The sign of his consecration was his hair, which had never been cut. Samson told Delilah that if his hair was cut, he would no longer be consecrated to God and would lose his great strength.
While Samson was asleep, Delilah cut his hair. The Philistines came and took Samson prisoner. They poked out his eyes, making him blind and forced Samson to work as a slave. Samson was sorry that he had not kept faithful to God. He thought and thought about what he could do to make up for his sins.
Over time, Samson’s hair grew back and his strength returned. This time he kept it a secret. One day the Philistines held a large banquet, and they brought out Samson so that everyone could look at him.
Samson had a plan. He leaned against the pillars that supported the house and broke them, bringing down the roof and killing everyone inside. Samson gave his own life to weaken the enemies of the people of Israel.
The next part of history we are going to read is the life of Ruth.
Ruth lived during the same time the Judges ruled Israel.
There came a famine in the land and a certain man of Bethlehem went to live in the pagan land of Moab with his wife, Naomi and his 2 sons.
While they were there, the man died, and his sons married 2 women of Moab. Their names were Orpah and Ruth.
After a time, the 2 sons also died and their mother Naomi was left all alone with her 2 daughters-in-law.
Naomi was getting old, and she decided to return to her own country of Bethlehem
where she heard there was food again. Naomi said to Orpah and Ruth, “ Go ye home to your mothers: the Lord deal mercifully with you” (Ruth 1:8)
But Ruth would not leave Naomi. She said to her mother-in-law, “Be not against me, to desire that I should leave thee and depart: for withersoever thou shalt go, I will go: and where thou shalt dwell, I also will dwell. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) So Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth.
Ruth and Naomi were very poor, but Naomi’s husband had a relative by the name of Booz. Booz was a rich man, and had fields of barley just ripe for picking. Ruth went to the fields and gathered whatever was left behind by the harvesters for food for Naomi and herself.
Booz saw Ruth and was kind to her, saying, “keep with my maids, and follow where they reap. For I have charged my young men, not to molest thee: and if thou art thirsty, go to the vessels, and drink of the waters whereof the servants drink…at mealtime, come thou hither and eat of the bread” (Ruth 2:8-9, 14)
And Booz said to his servants, “let fall some of your handfuls of purpose, and leave them, that she may gather them without shame.” (Ruth 2:16)
Booz eventually married Ruth and we may safely assume that they had a happy life together. Their life is important because they had a son named Obed.
And Obed was the grandfather of King David from whose descendants the Savior of the world would be born! (We're getting closer to Christmas!!!)