The Fine Art of Failure: Week 8 - Day 5

Opening Prayer: 

Father God, in all my days ahead, help me follow Your plan so I “finish well,” and YOU get the glory.


Read: Judges 15:11-15 NIV

“Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, ‘Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?’ He answered, ‘I merely did to them what they did to me.’ They said to him, ‘We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.’ Samson said, ‘Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.’ ‘Agreed,’ they answered. ‘We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.’ So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock. As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.”



In this week’s devotionals, we have seen the continued decline of Samson and the Israelites. You can see how far the Israelites have slipped in this Scripture.  They have now accepted their status of the Philistines as their rulers and they want to appease them.  They’re willing to send a fellow Israelite to his death to smooth things over with the Philistines.

 Also, Samson is willing to play along because he knows his gift of super-human strength will set him free.  It does.  The Spirit of the Lord comes on him and he breaks free from the bonds holding him.  He grabs the jawbone of a donkey and slays a 1000 men.  In Samson’s continued slide He forgets that his gifting comes from God and takes credit himself.

 “Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.” (Judges 15:16 NIV

 Even in this situation God uses a highly flawed, impetuous, selfish and proud individual to accomplish His task of disrupting the comfortable lives of the Israelites.  As a result:

 “Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.” Judges 15:20 NIV

 This imperfect, but gifted, individual not only led the Israelites for 20 years, he made the “hall of fame” in Hebrews 11:32.  We learn from this that God uses gifted but imperfect people to accomplish His plan.  He does not want us to become complacent in our comfortable, busy lives.  He has a plan for us.  Follow Him.



 All of us are gifted but imperfect people.  Ask this week, “How is God wanting to use me to accomplish His plan?”  Then listen and act on His leading.


 Closing prayer: 

Father, help me to pray sincerely as the hymn goes, “Have Thine own way, Lord…Thou art the potter; I am the clay.  Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.”

(“Have Thine Own Way, Lord! “  By Adelaide Addison Pollard, 1862-1934, and based on Jeremiah 18:3-6)

Terry Schneider