I’m an idiot

We were looking at the story of Samson on church on Sunday. His time with Delilah is beautifully told in Judges 16 with both humour and pathos. It’s use of repetition creates a powerful effect:

So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes you so strong and what it would take to tie you up securely.” Samson replied, “If I were …” So Delilah took … She had hidden some men in one of the inner rooms of her house, and she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” … Afterward Delilah said to him, “You’ve been making fun of me and telling me lies! Now please tell me how you can be tied up securely.” Samson replied, “If I were … So Delilah took … The men were hiding in the inner room as before, and again Delilah cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” …

And the effect of this repetition is to make you think, ‘What an idiot!’ This process cycles through four times. Surely the second or third time Samson woke up with Philistine men hiding in his room he should have realised what was going on. But, no, the story highlights what an idiot he is.

Except that it then dawns on you that this is what you do. I go back to my sin time and again. I fall for its lies time and again. I’m just like Samson. I can’t resist the smooth-talking Delilah even though I know temptation leads to disaster. I know in my head that God is bigger and better than anything sin offers, but still I fall for the lies of sin.

So in the end the story makes me realise what an idiot I am. It makes realise that sin itself is idiocy. And maybe, hopefully, I’ll remember that next time sin comes knocking.

New Word Alive: Don Carson on the Cross and Propitiation

Here are my notes on Don Carson’s morning Bible reading on 1 John 1:1-2:2. Without directly addressing recent debates, it was an excellent defence of the content and significance of substitutionary atonement. (Remember: these are my notes of Don’s talk and I may not always rightly convey what he intended.)

It’s all too easy to present the gospel message and omit the relationship between our sin and God. We might talk of God creating a good world that we have messed up, but which God sorts it out. But this misses what is chiefly out of line in history and therefore misses out what the cross chiefly achieves. Understanding sin and understanding the cross go hand in hand. Miss out the wrath of God against sin and the story distorts. You do not simply minimise something; you change the whole picture.

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