Judges 14, Phil 1:12-26
We sat with friends on Sunday in a house surrounded by the burnt out remains of people’s homes. Neighbours were sifting through ash looking for precious momentos, their kids looking at the remains of their bedroom. Winmalee shows many faces of devastation. But there are also tales of courage, of firefighters and ordinary neighbours who showed compassion and courage in saving people, property and pets. Courage under fire is an inspiring quality. Many handwritten signs showed the community’s thanks.
Courage under fire of life’s circumstances is also inspiring.
We read this morning in Judges 14 of Samson, a far from perfect judge, but certainly a courageous one. Judges has been showing us the mini-saviours or Messiahs of Israel, who for short and limited periods of time, brought peace to Israel, often through courageous acts. Samson is the climax of these characters, and he is full of flaws, but still moved by the Lord to do amazing, courageous acts. Judges is pointing us to, and we are longing for, the perfect Saviour or Judge, who will bring enduring and comprehensive peace…
As you read this chapter, you can’t help see, amongst the faults of Samson, that the Spirit of the Lord was with him in power ( verses 6,19) . With this power he was able to tear apart a lion, and kill 30 men. Imagine a roaring lion approaching you (without the security of iron bars and a cage protecting you!) Samson displayed great courage along with great power.
In Philippians 1:12-26, Paul is in chains. Courage is a theme. While we might be thinking of our loss of comfort and contact with others, Paul is telling everyone he can – the whole guard detail (which may have been hundreds of soldiers),about Christ. He is excited that ordinary Christians are becoming bolder in sharing about Christ. They too are showing courage; chains could be a consequence for them also.
The important thing for Paul is, whatever the motivation, that the great news, that Jesus through His death and resurrection, brings lost sinners into a life-giving relationship with the Living God, gets out to people who haven’t responded to it.
It’s like saving people from fire.
This is something that the Spirit of the Lord, with power, and prayer (v19) works through ordinary people. Paul prays in verse 20 that he wont be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage…
Paul’s relationship with Jesus is the biggest thing in his life, bigger than life itself (v21), and he knows it is not for him alone, but for any who are lost. Will we have compassion for those we live with, in our workplace, club, neighbourhood and family who don’t know Christ?. Will we pray for courage today? Will we be courageous under fire?