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The Jawbone of Judgment

Read Judges 15:1-20

As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph. But the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon Samson, and he snapped the ropes on his arms as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists. Then he found the jawbone of a recently killed donkey. He picked it up and killed 1,000 Philistines with it. Then Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, I’ve piled them in heaps! With the jawbone of a donkey, I’ve killed a thousand men!” When he finished his boasting, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was named Jawbone Hill.

Samson was now very thirsty, and he cried out to the Lord, “You have accomplished this great victory by the strength of your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagans?” So God caused water to gush out of a hollow in the ground at Lehi, and Samson was revived as he drank. Then he named that place “The Spring of the One Who Cried Out,” and it is still in Lehi to this day.

Samson judged Israel for twenty years during the period when the Philistines dominated the land.
(Judges 15:14-20)


The Lord’s strength came upon Samson, but he was proud and boasted only of his own strength. “With the jawbone of a donkey, I’ve killed a thousand men,” he said, and later asked God to refresh him because of his accomplishments (15:16-18). Samson was physically and emotionally exhausted. After his victory, his attitude declined quickly into self-pity—“Must I now die of thirst?” When God responded and created a fresh water spring at Lehi, Samson named the place after himself, never mentioning God who provided it.

Emotionally, we can be extremely vulnerable after a great effort or when faced with real physical needs. Pride can cause us to take credit for work we’ve done only because of God’s strength. During these times, avoid the temptation to believe that God owes you for your efforts. It was his strength that gave you victory.


Do you feel like God owes you something for all the sacrifices you’ve made for him? Do you resent God for not rewarding your hard work? Of course, you know that God doesn’t owe you anything, but you may still feel unappreciated. Take some time to step back from all your activities and serving. God wants you to be refreshed, just like Samson. God cares about your needs and desires. If you need to simply rest in his love, do so. More than your service, God wants your heart. If your serving God is taking away from your loving God, what needs to change?

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