Judges 15:15 – And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
I am starting what could be a series on the life of Samson, and don’t think I will be very chronological with this either (just like the Elijah blogs!). I love the story of Samson’s victory with the jawbone. It hasn’t always made sense to me. I know all the Bible is important, and this is more than just a story. When you see the Lord Jesus Christ in the pages, things begin to open up to you. After all, the Bible is a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the jawbone is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Samson found the jawbone. It was God’s provision for him. God always provides, God is a God of deliverance, even when we don’t deserve it. And it was a new jawbone of an ass. The ass was dead, yet the jawbone was new. This is a picture of Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:18 – I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. This is similar to Aaron’s rod that budded. It is supernatural. It is of God. Who can understand it? Samson put forth his hand and took it. This is what we must do to be saved and as believers. We must take hold of eternal life. Deliverance is there. Salvation is available. But we must take it. Forgiveness is something that must be received and we receive God’s forgiveness for our sins by repentance and faith in his Son Jesus Christ. Psalm 116:12,13 – What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
A jawbone of an ass. This is a most unusual method of deliverance. The Philistines were shouting against him, his life was in peril, he was surrounded by his enemies, he had been delivered up to the Philistines, in much the same way Jesus was delivered up by his people to be crucified. He was their judge, and they gave him up. One can only imagine the shame of being betrayed by your own people. Pilate said to Jesus, Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me. But Jesus endured the shame, his love for his Father was greater.
An ass is a servant animal. It is a beast of burden. They are extremely humble, taken for granted creatures. Yet they are so valuable. They bear burdens. And Jesus bore our burdens. He took our sin upon himself. He took on himself the form of a servant. He ministered to others, and this is what a true minister is, someone who serves the needs of others. This is what Jesus showed when he washed the disciples feet. But why the jawbone? Jaw relates to speech, and Jesus is called the Word of God. The jawbone is a picture of Jesus, the Word of God. Samson himself had no power against the Philistines. But when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and God provided him with the jawbone, God won a great victory through Samson. And it is a complete, devastating victory. All our enemies can do is shout against us. 1 John says that the wicked one cannot touch you. This is the message of walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Our enemies, Satan and his angels, and people he uses and works through, can shout at us, but we will defeat them through Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ we are victorious. We triumph over our enemies in Jesus, because Jesus has triumphed over all. Death could not hold him. The prince of this world is judged. It is finished. This is why John was given the Revelation. The book has been unsealed, we know how it finishes. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Jesus wins. And we win.
Samson and the jawbone is a picture of life and death. Firstly, it is a picture of death. Samson used the jawbone to slay the Philistines. But then it is a picture of life. The same instrument which destroyed the Philistines was the instrument which God used to save Samson. This represents the Word of God, which is sharper than any two edged sword. The same word that saves also condemns and vice versa. And it depends on what we do with the word. If we reject it, it slays us, if we receive it, it saves us. We live and die by what we do with God’s word. Samson was a man of faith, the Philistines were not, and thus the jawbone ministered death to one and life to the other.
The jawbone was also unusual. And Jesus was unusual. Samson could easily have hoped for a more glamorous way of achieving victory. And this is a picture of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53 says, He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. Jesus was King, but he came as a servant. He came in the Father’s name, not in his own name. This is why they did not recognize him. Israel was looking for their Saviour, but didn’t recognize their Saviour when he came. Furthermore, Jesus is offensive to the world. The world hates him. The world rejected him. The world crucified him. The message of the cross is offensive to the unsaved. People hate being told they are sinners and need a Saviour. They despise the law of God. It is because God’s light shines in the darkness, and it is very exposing and revealing. We either scuttle for cover or come to the light. The jawbone looked like such an unlikely, stupid, not-what-I-asked-for type of weapon. And Jesus can look like this to us. Why do I need Jesus? 1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Samson cast the jawbone away. This is what we can do with the Word. We can cast Jesus aside. We can use him for victory and then discard him in our lives. But we will then thirst. Jesus is the water of life. He is our fountain. This is what Jesus was telling the woman of Samaria. He has the life giving, everlasting water. We will never thirst in Christ. We need him all the time. We never grow up from needing Jesus Christ. We do not become independent. We do not outgrow him.
Samson called upon the God, and God heard him. This is the principle underpinning salvation and our whole life. God clave a hollow in the jaw for him and the water flowed out which revived him. And it is because he simply asked. God did not make him jump through a thousand hoops and run an obstacle course. He did not give Samson a riddle to solve. Samson acknowledged and humbled himself toward God. He confessed it was God’s deliverance, he identified as God’s servant. And that’s all we need to do. We need but ask. James 1:5 – If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
God clave the hollow in the jaw. This is significant. The water came from the jawbone. The water of life comes from Jesus Christ, and none other. God provided the jawbone in the first place. Jesus is God’s provision for our sins. This is why he is called the Lamb of God. And the jawbone was there provided by God for Samson. And it was new. Jesus never gets stale. His body saw no corruption despite the fact he died. His body never stunk. He was sinless, perfect. God provided his Son just as he provided the jawbone for Samson. And the water comes from the jawbone, and from nowhere else. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. The Father witnessed of the Son, he has glorified the Son. The Son and the Father are one. The Bible is emphatic that God the Father is in Jesus, and Jesus is in God the Father. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is God. Jesus is our only way to God. He is God’s only provided way to himself. Reject Jesus, and spend a whole life time in futility searching for another way, a better way, which you hope for, but simply does not exist, and never will. Acts 4:12 – Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
God cleaving a hollow in the jaw is a picture of Calvary. John 19:34 – But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. Jesus poured out his soul unto death. The blood and water that flowed at Calvary is what brings our spirit again. We are dead in trespasses and sin before we are saved. We needed a propitiation for our sins, someone who could bear God’s wrath for us. And Jesus is that someone. The Bible says Jesus was smitten of God. As God clave the hollow, so it was God who smote the shepherd. Jesus surrendered his life, he laid it down himself. If he didn’t want to go to the cross, he wouldn’t have. He told Judas Iscariot to betray him quickly. He was in complete control of his own death. But it doesn’t diminish what happened at Calvary. He bore the wrath of God. He sweat great drops of blood in anticipation. He knows what we feel like, although he is God, he was also fully man. He had our emotions, he wept, he felt pain. The Bible says he took part of being are partaker of flesh and blood. That’s the God we serve. That’s the God I serve. Jesus was pierced. Jesus was broken for us. And the water flowed from the jaw. That reviving, life giving, thirst quenching, satisfying water. John 4:14 – But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
So what does the jawbone mean to you? Is it merely just a story or does it mean a lot more? Can you see Jesus in the pages of your Bible? Or is it all just a bunch of words put together making no real sense. After all, without the Spirit of God, without believing what you are reading, this story sounds absurd, maybe cool, but meaningless and seemingly far fetched. But I love the story. It is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Victorious. Life giving. Saviour.