WILD • Wild Side – 4/21/24

Bruce Banner was a kind, caring, mild-mannered man who turned into the Incredible Hulk when provoked to anger. As much as he didn’t want to turn into that destructive creature, he was helpless to prevent it when rage overtook him. Samson responded to anger in much the same way. Because of the supernatural strength he possessed, his out-of-control anger brought on destruction and havoc. Samson was set apart by God from birth. His purpose was to deliver Israel from Philistine domination, but his weaknesses continued to bring him down, and prevent him from reaching his God-given potential.

Samson was emotionally driven. This was a serious problem. Samson made many bad choices which started by hanging out with the wrong people in the wrong places. Soon he was doing ungodly things, and the downward spiral continued.

At his bachelor party, which was attended by many Philistines, since he was marrying a Philistine woman, he threw out a challenge to 30 of the men giving them a riddle to solve within seven days. The winner got 30 suits of clothing. Samson was full of himself and confident that no one would solve the riddle. After 3 days the men pressured his bride-to-be for the answer, threatening her and her family. She implored Samson crying and begging until he told her the answer. When the men returned to him with the answer, Samson was furious. His fiancée had betrayed him, and he lost the bet. He left the woman at the altar, went to a nearby town and killed 30 men and took everything they had. With the spoils he paid his debt, then went home to his parents.

After Samson cooled off, he returned to Timnah to make amends with his bride but learned that she had married his best man. In a rage, Samson burned all the Philistine fields and crops. The Philistines blamed his fiancé and retaliated by burning her family home and killing them all. The Philistines hunted Samson. His own people, the Israelites, asked him to turn himself in. He agreed if they promised not to kill him. The Israelites handed him over to the Philistines. Bound with rope, Samson broke free from his captors and, with the jawbone of a donkey, killed 1000 Philistines and bragged about it.

Emotions are God-given and they are not bad, but we are not to be driven by them. Left unchecked they can lead us down a dark path and cause pain and devastation. Paul says we are going to want to do good but fail, and we are going to do bad when we don’t want to. However, there is hope and power in Christ. The Holy Spirit will lead us if we allow it. We don’t have to follow our human nature; we can follow the Holy Spirit.

Scriptures: Judges 14:1, 14, 18-20, Judges 15:16, 18-19; Romans 7:19; Galatians 6:16-17

Verse: (Ro 7:19) I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. (Ga 5:16-17) Let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature. For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do.

Questions: How quick are you to respond to positive emotions? How quick are you to respond to negative emotions? When have you allowed your emotions to take you down a bad path? Explain. How did that turn out? How does your relationship with Jesus help you keep your emotions in check? Do you have a process for managing anger when it flares? If so, explain.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, give me this day all that I need to accomplish what you have placed before me. May I respond to others as you have responded to me, with grace, mercy, and love. Holy Spirit be my guide. Give me strength to do what is right and holy. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.

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