The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. Judges 13:1 (NIV)
Today we begin looking at the story of Samson. Most of the book of Judges takes place at a time when God’s people were under great oppression. The Philistine army had invaded their soil, and a foreign power was in control of their country.
God’s people had no army and no king, so everything depended on a resistance movement. But there was no infrastructure for organizing that. God’s people were helpless.
This is hard for us to imagine because we have been blessed with a freedom that we can so easily take for granted. Imagine tanks rolling up the streets in Washington, and the FBI and CIA being taken over. National security is dismantled. A foreign army is on the streets, and appalling acts of violence occur every day as defenseless people are attacked and abused.
Whenever any attempts are made at resistance, people disappear, never to be heard from again. So, the resistance crumbles. Gradually people begin to accept the unthinkable, and as they do, they lose their hope of ever regaining their freedom.
This scenario is exactly what God’s people were facing in the book of Judges: “The Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years” (13:1). God’s people lived under terrible oppression for a whole generation. It may be hard for us to imagine this scenario in the West, but in other parts of the world, people are living under these unthinkable conditions.
Pray that the Lord would have mercy on oppressed peoples around the world today.