ODJ: Hope for the Future

March 12, 2018 

READ: Judges 13:1-20 

He will begin to rescue Israel (v.5).

Poet Carl Sandburg said, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” This thought rings true for many of us. Despite the nappies, frequent feedings and sleepless nights, infants give renewed hope for the future.

Manoah and his wife had unusual reasons to look at their infant son with wide-eyed hope. Before his birth, an angel told Manoah’s wife she would have a son (Samson) who would “begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). The couple must have marvelled at this since the Philistines had been oppressing their people for forty years (v.1).

Although Israel was suffering from the outcome of their sin (v.1), God still cared about their suffering and took action to help. He did so through judges—political and military leaders—including Samson, whom He endowed with supernatural strength. As an adult, Samson led Israel for twenty years (Judges 15:20)—years filled with successes as well as evident moral failures (14:3, 16:4,17). In his final moments, Samson single-handedly destroyed over three thousand Philistines while demolishing their temple (16:26-30).

In some ways, Samson’s life parallels Jesus’. Both were announced by angels (13:6-7; Luke 1:30-31), set apart to serve God (Judges 13:5; Luke 1:31-33) and confirmed as the hope of their people (Judges 13:5; Luke 2:27-32). Yet, while Samson helped rescue his people from oppression, he’s often remembered for his sin.

But Jesus saves anyone who believes in Him from sin’s oppression. Sin does not determine the destiny of anyone in Christ through His Spirit (Romans 8:1-2). God’s forgiveness and restoration gives freedom and hope—today and forever (Colossians 1:13-14).

—Jennifer Schuldt

365-day plan: Judges 15:1-20

Read Romans 5:3-5 to see the relationship between endurance, strength of character and hope. 
Why does the resurrection of Christ provide hope for those who believe in Him? Consider your greatest hopes for the future—how do they relate to your relationship with Jesus?