Between Zorah and Eshtaol

And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. (Judges 13:24-25)

The book of judges is a tragic tale of a repetitive cycle of judgement and deliverance for the people of God. The people would neglect God, fall under judgement and become subject to the cruelty of the neighbouring peoples. In their despair they would cry out to God, and he, in his mercy, would hear their entreaty and send them a deliverer who would drive out the nations because God was with him and went like a hornet before them [Ex 23:28, Jos 24:12]. Yet after the death of the judge, the people would return to their own ways, and the sorry cycle would begin again.

The details in the call of Sampson are interesting [to me!] He, as an individual, seems to embody the state of the nation. He too oscillates in his ministry between compromising with the enemy, and driving them out in the power of the Spirit. So it grabbed my attention when I discovered that the places he was between when the Spirit stirred him - Zorah and Eshtaol - mean "Hornet" and "Entreaty". God meets the man where he is, and meets the nation as it is; in the state where they are the Spirit begins to stir.

Although the tale of Sampson is an account of victory, and contains great typology of Christ, the end of the account I find sobering:

Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. (Jdg 16:31)

Sampson dies, the cycle begins again, and not only have the people not moved on, but the deliverer himself is back where he started.

It's sobering, because today's move of the Spirit does not guarantee tomorrow's victory. We can be stirred by the Spirit - blessed, touched, refreshed, delivered, healed, equipped, envisioned, empowered - and yet afterwards still be in exactly the same place that we were before.

God meets us where we are at, but to break the cycle we have to move on.

It's not enough to be stirred by the Spirit's movings, we must be moved by the Spirit's stirrings.


Bill said...

Not only does the bad fruit need to be left at the cross so does the root that causes it. If we don't allow the Spriit to remove the issue by the roots the bad fruit will just grow back.

In His Grip

Anonymous said...

I was actually doing an internet search on the meanings of Zorah and Eshtaol when I came upon your blog. Thanks for the info, and may God bless you!

Check out:

Genesis 49:16-18
--> prophecy concerning Dan
Judges 13:25
--> Mahaneh Dan

Mahaneh Dan means "camp of Dan," which lends further weight to what you wrote.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading. Interesting to consider the context of the story of Sampson from the perspective of God stirring him in the physical location between Zorah and Eshtaol, the very sensational details of his life, and his burial back in the same area where God began this work in Sampson. Appreciate your thoughts regarding the spiritual symbolism and the distinction between being stirred and moved.

Steven Young said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Young said...

To God be the glory I find your posting. It helps me to know that this is a truth that it is intended to be noticed in this passage. I had been doing research on this passage as well before I stumbled on this. Thanks for posting.