The ending of Judges 13 is one that gives readers unfamiliar with this account great hope and excitement. The boy who had been promised to save Israel from the power of the Philistines was born, grew, and the Lord blessed him, and now his heart was being stirred up by the Spirit of the Lord. So as we turn to chapter 14, we might expect Samson to gather an army and square off against Israel’s enemy.
But that is not what we see as Judges 14 opens. Instead of pursuing the Philistines, Samson pursued a Philistine—a single woman that he saw and wanted to take as his wife. Samson was stirred, but instead of acting on behalf of his people—or better yet, God—he acted on his own behalf for his own selfish gain. We know that in the mysterious ways of God, Samson’s selfishness would serve God’s own purposes. Samson’s selfish pursuit led to the Philistines being overthrown later on. But we cannot miss the warning: It is far too easy for us to live selfishly rather than selflessly, even when God is at work within us. We can never take for granted our desperate need for Christ to captivate our hearts and prompt actions that bring Him, and Him alone, glory.
When have you found yourself intending to seek God’s glory only to end up pursuing your own?