24 February 2014

Delilah: The Secret of your Weakness

Judges 16

Did they not warn you,
o Man,
that woman is dangerous?
Did they not tell you
she would lure you into her web,
wrap you round her little finger,
conquer you to be her slave?
Did they not warn you,
o Man?

But you thought yourself strong,
and thought womankind weak.
You thought you conquered me,
thought you possessed my heart,
thought I was yours,
trembling in your hand.
Did they not warn you,
o Man?

Tell me, o Man,
the secret of your strength,
and I will tell you
the secret of my weakness.
Tell me, o Man -
let it slip
like honey from your lips,
like the kisses you give
unsparingly -
they prove nothing,
they cannot prove your love.
Tell me, o Man,
if you truly love me,
the secret of your strength.
Did they not warn you,
o Man?

You thought yourself strong -
but you are weak.
You thought me weak -
but I am strong.
You thought you had me captured,
but I had captured you,
ensnared you in my web,
wrapped around my little finger.
You thought my heart
was trembling in your hand -
now you are trembling under mine,
stripped of your power.
O Man,
did they not warn you?

This is the secret
of your weakness:
that you forgot
the secret of your strength.


[January 2013]

Don't overestimate yourself.
Don't underestimate women.
And be careful of anyone saying "you don't love me if you don't do (...)". It's what finally made Samson snap and tell Delilah his secret.
Though I think Samson's biggest mistake was that he overestimated himself and forgot that God gave him his strength, and that it didn't just grow on him with his hair. Growing his hair was a sign of belonging to God - by giving himself to Delilah he actually left that calling already, in a way. God should be our priority; we should not end up forsaking him for someone else.

The very last bit used to be "you forgot / the secret of my strength" - I changed it today (24. Feb 2014) because I think Samson was not only underestimating Delilah, but not estimating with God.

I must confess I had fun writing this. ;-)

21 February 2014

Jephthah's Daughter: No Ram For Me

Judges 11:30-40

Where is the ram caught in the bush?
Where is the angel to sweep me away?
I'll accept it, let it happen
if you don't stay his hand -
but tell me this: why
is there no ram for me?

So many things I'm going to miss.
I cry for the man I never will meet,
the first kiss that I'll never know,
his touch I'll never feel;
it is too late now -
and there's no ram for me.

Sometimes I've wondered how it feels
in the arms of a man. I used to dream -
only daydreams. Or was it wrong?
But now I'll never know.
They go up in smoke,
for there's no ram for me.

Is it because I am a girl?
No link in the chain of greater events?
Nothing special, no mother blessed,
no daughter of promise;
not special enough
to have a ram for me?

So a child will walk through fire,
and you don't let it stop - oh God, why not?
There's nothing here to save me now,
no lightning, no angel,
no voice from above,
and there's no ram for me.

But soon I'll be with you, safe and at peace
in the arms of the God I don't understand
most of the time - like now.
I will love you nonetheless,
and trust and hope that you know best
and have your reasons which I cannot see.

I'll swallow down my wishes,
forget all my regrets -
let it happen, and when it's through
the first thing that I'll ask of you
is: why
was there no ram for me?


[December 2011] [Commentary February 2014]

The ram refers to the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22). God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but in the last minute provided a ram to sacrifice in Isaac's stead - a beautiful image of what later happened with Jesus taking our place on the cross. But why did Jephthah's daughter not get rescued in that way?

I also had to think of this verse: "You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods." (Deuteronomy 12:31) - did God even want Jephthah to make such a sacrifice?

Jephthah found himself before an alternative: my child, or my God. I believe that was a false alternative. Are we understanding God correctly, if we get the feeling we have to hurt others in order to please him? The pharisees also thought they were pleasing God by getting rid of Jesus. I believe at the Cross God clearly showed: This is not how it's done. God is on the side of the suffering - because He suffered like them, with them, for them, on the Cross. There He also showed that He does not take pleasure at the brutal things done in His name. Because if we keep doing such things, at some point we kill God Himself - that's what the pharisees ended up doing.

What about Jephthah's daughter? Maybe she did not understand why God was letting this happen to her. Sometimes there is no explanation. God has a purpose, but sometimes it just really remains a mystery and we can't understand why He does what He does. Two child sacrifices in the Bible: one He stops, one He doesn't. Why? Do we have to, in the end, know why? Maybe sometimes it's better to accept the fact that not everything can be explained. More important than trying to find explanations is to trust God and that He knows what He's doing and loves us, even if we can't understand.

But I do think God gave an answer to this question, "Where is the ram?" - on the Cross. Because Jesus became like Jephthah's daughter, suffering at the hands of people who thought they were doing God a service by killing Him, and in that showed that this is not right, and that He is on the side of those innocently and needlessly suffering.