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.
This post will serve as part 2 in looking at the story of Samson and the jawbone of an ass (part 1 can be found in my directly previous blog post). It is a story of immense significance, there is so much that can be learned from this story which seems unique and maybe even cool, but seemingly useless for the reader. God provided a jawbone for Samson with which he slew the Philistines. After the victory, Samson cast away the jawbone and was sore athirst, and after calling upon God, God clave a hollow in the jawbone from which flowed the water which revived Samson. Judges 15 contains the story. We have already seen that the jawbone represents the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. God uses pictures, stories in the Bible, because we humans like picture stories. They make principles, doctrines, fundamentals of a believers life easy to understand. The jawbone not only represents the living Word of God, but it also represents the written Word of God. It represents the Bible in our life. The humble Bible. Scorned, scoffed, ridiculed, yet the divider between life and death.
The jawbone was provided for Samson by God. And God in the same way has provided his word for all of us. The Bible says that God’s word has gone into all the world, and it bears fruit. It is God’s provision to us. The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. The jawbone is available to all of us. God’s instrument of our victory is the word of God. Your victory in your life will only go as far as you go with the word of God. Do you read your Bible? Do you meditate in your Bible? Do you delight in each word? Do you consider the words pure and preserved? Are the words of God the authority in your life? Will you be like Samson, who put forth his hand, and took it, or will you leave it there, will you refuse it? After all, it is the jawbone of an ass, to the carnal, fleshly human understanding the Bible seems stupid, and it is offensive. We can vehemently refuse the jawbone. And in doing so we refuse God’s salvation and deliverance. This highlights the difference between God’s ways and man’s ways, God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom, God’s spirit and man’s spirit. For those of us who are saved though, we can eagerly take the jawbone and win a great victory. Our enemies cannot beat us when we have the jawbone, not matter what the odds. This is the confidence we should have in the word of God. It is the authority. God has magnified his word above his name. God’s word is what builds our faith. There is no circumventing the need for the Bible. The Holy Spirit works through the Bible, not around it. Samson slew a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass. It is an unbelievable victory. This is the strength of the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Ephesians 6:17 – And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
The jawbone is also a picture of the law of God. We are under a heavy burden under the law. We cannot but sin. We are fallen mankind, we all have a sinful, unregenerate first nature which unceasingly breaks God’s laws in rebellion and defiance. This is why Paul said sin revived when the commandment was given. The law condemns us. It is alive. It reveals and judges our sinfulness. And we are all sinners, the law condemns all of us. The law is merciless. This is why the law was so severe. The penalty is death. God in his loving kindness provided the law, so that we could be lead to the solution, the Lord Jesus Christ. The law is necessary. It shows us the sheer holiness and perfection and authority of God. It points us to Jesus Christ. It is the instrument by which we see ourselves, it shows the sorry condition of our heart. It is a schoolmaster to bring us to repentance. And there is hope. Water flowed from the jaw. The life giving water, the spirit reviving water, the saving water. It is the water flowing out from the jawbone that gives us life. Jesus kept the law perfectly. He fulfilled the law. When we are saved, his righteousness is imputed to us. We partake of his victory, his perfection. His Spirit, the spirit that kept the law, lives in us, reviving our spirits which were dead in sin and alienated hopelessly from God. Suddenly the law becomes blessed, it becomes our friend, it guides us through life. The Bible says God’s commandments are not grievous. God’s commandments are our life. So much of the Book of Psalms is about delighting in the law, the statutes, the judgements of God. This seems nonsensical, stifling, stuffy, spoilsporty, stupid to the unbeliever, or to someone who does not understand the purpose of the law, and our relationship to the law before and after salvation. After all, how can you delight in a law? We have a rules are made to be broken mentality. We have a laws ruin the fun mentality. Yet God’s laws are good and they are life. A society without law is anarchy, chaos, death. Imagine if killing, rape, murder, theft, violence was unrestricted, and anything permitted, where you lived. How much fun would that be? Odds are you would not be reading this. Our relationship to the law depends on what we do with Jesus Christ. The law kill us, or is our life, depending on whether we are saved or not. Once again, this is the message of the humble jawbone that ministered both death and life in the same story!
Samson won the victory, but it was God who won it through Samson, and it was the jawbone which was the instrument of his deliverance. It is important to note that Samson was just a normal man. He was only strong when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. And this is the same for us. When the Spirit of the Lord eventually departed from him after Delilah shaved his head, Samson became as any other man. And he was proud of his achievements with the jawbone. He said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. And then he cast the jawbone away. It is so easy to become proud in victories that Jesus gives us. We so easily forget the source of our victory. How often and how easily we can cast the jawbone away! And as soon as the jawbone was gone from his hand, he became thirsty. It lay on the ground rejected. We, even as believers, can reject Jesus. We can become ashamed of him. After all, Samson stood there with an ass’s jawbone in his hand. Isaiah 53:3 – He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 1 Corinthians 1:27 – But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. In Mark 12:10,11, Jesus said, And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Despite the fact that the jawbone was that which Samson had won the victory, it was so easily, so quickly discarded.
And this casting away had consequences. He became sore athirst, to the point of death. He called on God, and God clave a hollow in the jawbone and water flowed out. The water that revived Samson. The jawbone was still useful after all, and was in fact, his only hope. The life was in the jawbone, even as it ministered death to the Philistines. What do you do with the words in your Bible? Do you receive them in humility, and thus are ministered life by reading of the Lamb of God provided for us? Or do you receive it with pride, and resist it, and in refusing the life it offers, find death in its place? There is one way of salvation. There is one God. One Gospel. One Spirit. There is no salvation in any other. The water came from the jawbone. When we get back into the word, we are once again planted by the rivers of living water. The water issues forth from the Lord Jesus Christ. The water flows in us and through us. Once we are made alive, then we can bring the life of Christ to others. And this is what the last verse of chapter 15 shows, Samson judged Israel 20 years after this. God could use him. And God did use him. Although we read of his failures, and we scoff at his seeming stupidity and weakness, he was in fact a man of great faith, and gives us hope when we fail. And we do fail, just like Samson, we are not superior to him. He is in Hebrews 11, one of the great faith chapters of the Bible. When we are weak, God is strong. Samson was weak, but God was mighty through him. As the jawbone issued forth water, so the Bible points us to Jesus Christ, the river of life. We need his water. And that water in us satisfies our thirst. It brings our spirit again. If you are truly saved, you need to get back into the word and stay in it, if you are not saved, you need to get into the word to begin with and believe it. Submit to it in humility. God will reveal himself to you in amazing ways. God resits the proud, but gives grace to the humble. We must all humble ourselves to be saved. We are all in the same boat. And as the jawbone was new, defying our understanding, so the word is always new. The manna from heaven was always new. The Bible should never be boring, stale, worthless to the reader. If it is, the problem lies not with the words of God, but rather with the heart of the reader him/herself.