Today's Devotional: A Jawbone

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.” (Judges 15:14-16 ESV).

When I was a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I remember vividly the peril of attempting to argue with the wisdom of someone much smarter and knowledgeable than you. I was very young in the faith then and fortunately had enough good sense to remain silent when in class. However, one student was not nearly as wise. During a class covering the topic of the Second Coming of Christ, this student decided to debate the professor during the class. While he may have had some kernel of truth to share from his opinion, what he said was completely lost in the manner that he spoke. He was disdainful and disrespectful as he attempted to correct the professor at one point calling him the “apex of heretics in the modern age.” After he finished his verbal assault, the professor calmly said, “I now know how the Philistines must have felt.” Not knowing the Bible nearly as well then as I do now, I did not recognize the reference. The professor was referencing today’s reading as he continued by saying, “I have been slain by the jawbone of a donkey.” Actually, the professor used the King James translation for “donkey” when he spoke. You may recall the Old English word for donkey is “ass.” The student certainly made a fool of himself.

And, while it would easy to go down the path of using wisdom in our speech at this point, I think another tack would be more helpful. I personally would not have thought that a donkey’s jawbone would make an adequate weapon to strike down “a thousand men.” I know bone is about as hard as any wood. The teeth may have been sharp and certainly made an imposing weapon; however, it wouldn’t have been my first choice. Yet Samson “found a fresh jawbone” nearby and used it to win the victory. I find that a very telling principle.

How many times have we surrendered in the face of seeming insurmountable challenges because we didn’t really see what we had and wanted more?  Begging God for more when what we have is enough has brought defeat on more than one occasion to God’s people. It is so easy to underestimate the power of God working within us. So, whatever challenge you may face today, take up the power of God within you and let him use what he has already given you to bring you through to victory.

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