Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 633 · 2 months ago

The Book of Judges #19

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Judges 13:1-14:4

If you can turn with me in the Bible, and then I will pray. But we're going to look beginning at Judges thirteen one, and we'll be going through Judges fourteen four. Judges thirteen one will be going through Judges fourteen four. Let's pray, Lord, as we come to your word. Now again we do ask one more time that you would illuminate it to us, that you would make it clear that's your word would be a lamp onto our feet and light into our path. That's your word would direct us and guide us. And Lord, as we look at a very very complicated and tragic figure this evening, that it may exhort us to watch over our own lives and to make sure that we are not ruled by things that we should not be ruled by. But Lord, tonight, as we look at your word, help us also to see your overruling providence and how you work all things out according to the cons of your will. And so Lord, we thank you for your word, and again we ask you to bless it, and Lord to illuminate it to us, for we prayed in Christ name. Amen. Judges chapter beginning with verse one year is God's word and the people of Israel again did what was evil in the side of the Lord. So the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. It was a certain man of Zorah of the tribe of Danites, whose name was Manoah, and his wife was barren and had no children. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, behold, you are barren and have not had, have not born children. But you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore, be careful and drink no wine or strong. Drink and eat nothing unclean. For behold you shall conceive and bear a son. No razors shall come upon his head, for the child shall be in nasright to God from his womb, from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines. Then a woman came and told her husband. A man of God came to me, And his appearance was like the appearance of an angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him maria is from, And he did not tell me his name. But he said to me, behold, you shall conceive in Paris son. So then drink no wine or strong, drink and eat nothing unclean. For the child shall be in Nazareth to God from the womb to the day of his death. Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, Oh Lord, please let the man of God whom he sent, come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born. And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in a field. But Minoah, her husband, was not with her. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, behold the man who came to me the other day as appeared to me. And Minoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, are you the man who spoke to this woman? And he said I am. And Minoah said, now, when your words come true, what is to be the child's manner of life?...

And what is his mission? And the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, of all that I said to the woman, let her be careful. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine. Neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her, let her observe. Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you. And the Angel of the Lord said to Minoah, if you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord. For Minoah did not know that he was the Angel of the Lord. And Minoah said to the Angel of the Lord, what is your name? So when your words come true, we may honor you. And the Angel of the Lord said to him, why do you ask my name? Seeing it's wonderful. So Manoah took the young goat with the great offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders. And Manoah and his wife were watching. And when the flame went up towards Heaven from the altar, the Angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now mino and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground. The Angel of the Lord appeared, uh no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Minoah knew that he was the Angel of the Lord. And Minoah said to his wife, we shall surely die, for we have seen God. But his wife said to him, if the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted it. Burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these. 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, began to stir him in Mohanna declin between Zorah and est Sampson went down to Timna. And at Timna he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up and told his father and mother, I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timna. Now get her from my wife. But his father and mother said to him, is there not yet a woman among the daughters of your relatives, among all your people, that you must go take a wife from the circumcised Philistines. But Sampson said to his father, get her for me, for she is right in my eyes. His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines, and at that time the Philistines ruled over Israel. Thus ends the reading of God's word please be seated. So we are looking at the story of perhaps the most famous judge of all the judges of Israel. I was asked tonight by Heather whether I was going to be able to finish the Sampson story before we departed Tucson, and I responded, I'm not entirely sure. I think I can, but then once I get into a tech sometimes I find out I'm going to spend a lot more time than I thought. And I haven't planned out these next three weeks as to exactly what will be done. But it is certainly a very famous story. I'm sure most of us, even the children here, no thing about the story of Samson. It's...

...not the story that we sometimes thought we knew from Sunday School, but it is a story that we are at least somewhat familiar with. I want to start by covering some verses that I actually dealt with last week, but I want to go back and touch on a couple of things. One or two may one. I think one is a repetitive thing and the others are different but I do want to touch on them. Uh. First of all, let me point out the interesting thing and I did I do think I mentioned, is maybe not that even though we are told that Israel again does evil in the side of the Lord, and the Lord delivers them into the hands of the Philistines, we are not told anywhere in this account that they cried to the Lord for deliverance, that to ask God to deliver them from the Philistines. Barry Webb on his chapter on Samson, I think I mentioned this. He called the chapter title the Savior that No one asked for? That was that Sampson. In another book that he wrote on Judges, he said, the people showed little sign of even wanting to be rescued. And it seems when you read the story, it seems to us that not only did they really not I mean they fought against Sampson, they were seemed to be against Sampson. They were more than willing to give up Sampson so that they could live in peace with the Philistines. And so we have this very very complicated time that is going on uh in Israel. And even it tells us in our text that Sampson will begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines. You know from your Bible history and and from Love Samuel and kings and chronicles, that Israel does not get completely delivered from the Philistines and judges, it will have to wait and tell. Another judge by the name of Samuel arises, and after that to other kings by the name of Saul, and David will come. In verse two we note that Samson again is the only judge that we know of that comes from the tribe of Dan. And in the beginning of the Book of Judges, we found that Dan had been forced out of the land which was their inheritance. They were not able to live in their inherited land, and uh in Judges wanted says, the Amorrds pressed the people of Dan back into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the plane. The Amorords persisted in dwelling in Mount Harris, in Angelon and in shall Being, but the hand of the House of Joseph rested heavily on them, and they became subject to force labor. So Dan wasn't even able to keep their land that had been allotted onto them. Judges eighteen one says, and in those days the tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself and inheritance to dwell in for and tell them no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. Well, there had been...

...inheritance, but they didn't keep it, and so they didn't have it. There's also the curious fact that you may be aware of that when we have the listing of the tribes and Revelation chapter seven, there is no mention of the tribe of Dan. It's always difficult because they're trying to list in these various places the twelve tribes of Israel, the problem being that there's thirteen of them, so they always have to leave one out. Uh, And it's different in different listings. But in Revelation seven, Dan is left out. And uh why that is? I will leave that for you to discover or figure it out, and then come and tell me so I'll know. Uh. But anyway, they're not there. And then verses three through five, we noticed that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Samson's mother, who is, as I mentioned, the star of the story. There's no question about it. She keeps coming back again and again. But the curious thing is we are never once given her name. We don't know who she is. So let me begin now with where I left off last time, with verse six. And so Sampson's mother goes to Sampson's father Uh to tell her about the visit of the angel, and uh As or as she calls him, the Man of God came to her. And we see in a sense that all of these judges are in some ways types of Christ and in some ways obviously not Uh. And we'll see that in Samson clearly. But again, remember it was the Angel of the Lord that came to the mother of Jesus first as well and announced that she would have this child that would be born. And so here again this is prefigured as Sampson's mother receives a visit first from the angel that tells her she is going to bear a child. But for whatever reason, she forgets to ask two questions that we usually ask of people when we get to know them or when we first meet them. And those two questions are, uh, well, what what's your name? And where are you from? Those are two questions we often asked, but the woman we're told to not ask it here and so in verse seven, she basically recounts the Minoah what we've already been told up to this time. And so in verse eight, Manoah, praise to the Lord that the same man of God will now appear to them again and teach them how they should bring up the child, so that they might know how they should do that. Certainly a very very good prayer. That's a good prayer to prayer to God, God, help me to know how to raise this child. For you that are in those years of childhood and have your children still with you and maybe young and maybe yet to come, Uh, that you would pray that prayer as well, that you would know how to bring up the child the right way. Those of us have been through it know that wasn't very easy, and we did it the wrong way. That's about all we know. UM on that. So it's a good prayer for us to do that and um and and so it's it's a prayer of Minoah. Let's let the Man of God come back to me and tell us how we should he's this child.

People have various commentators and things that waited on us and something it wasn't a good prayer. And so I think it was a good prayer that Minoa made and some and I would just note that, well, maybe the best answer is it got answered, so it might have been a good prayer because he got his prayer I answered, so it wasn't completely off base. And then in a calico twist, God answers the prayer and appears again. But again he appears to Samson's mother and Minoah isn't there, And so that's kind of an interesting way to uh to do that. Um In our complex where we are living, after I've been there a couple of weeks, I was able to see a bobcat walk by our patio when I was outside, but my wife was not with me at the time, and you know, she's been wanting to see a bobcat since then. And there's been at least twice in our complex that we've been walking and somebody has stopped us and said, oh, be careful, there's a bobcat right ahead there, and or there's a bobcat. To bobcats, they said, behind that tree, and but we we've never never seen them there at the complex. But but she's seen a bob kat now, so thank you Desert Museum. So but in verse ten, his wife, being a good wife, goes and gets him and goes to get him. And in verse eleven, Minoah, being a good husband, goes with his wife to go see this heavenly being that is there. And as they come to where the heavenly being is, Manoah asked the question, which seems to be quite obvious that many of these questions are asking in this chapter seemed to have obvious answers. But he says, are you the man of God that appeared to my wife before? And of course it was the man of God. But in verse twelve, it's one of those verses that really cut out set the tone we have. We have a few verses and judges that give us a clue that Manoah and his wife, whatever her name was, is we're very godly people. But we have the most wonderful words of Manoah in verse twelve, where he says to the heavenly being, now when your words come true, he doesn't say if this actually is going to happen, if my wife's actually going to have a child, but he says, when my wife has a child, And so he has faith. He's not like Zachariah who wouldn't believe in restruct numb. He has someone who firmly believes that exactly what has been said is going to happen. And again he asked about the upbringing of the child and what will be the mission. So in verses thirteen and fourteen, for the third time, the Man of God now repeats the instruction that he has given concerning the upbringing. And it is important, um that in all the stipulations that we have, they are incumbent upon the mother as well. And we'll also note as we go through the Book of Judges that Samson will break all of them. He will not keep any of these parts of his vow that he is supposed to. So beginning in verse fifteen, we might be reminded of another story in Judges, and that is the story of Gideon, because it's very very similar what...

...happens here. Manoah offers to prepare a goat for this heavenly visitor, Um, which Dideon also did asked the same question, but in Gideon's case he was um allowed to do that. But in Manoah's case, Uh, the Angel says, no, don't. You can prepare it, but offer it as a burnt offering, Uh, don't offer it to me to eat it as well. And we might also remember Abraham when he had the three heavenly beans come to him, and he had a meal prepared for them, and in that case, the heavenly beans partook of the meal. So kind of mysterious the way that all works in these different stories. And we may be reminded of Hebrews thirteen two in this case, where the writer exhorts us to be not forgetful to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware. And so all of these stories are alike in that the people show hospital pality to these beings who turn out to be at the very least angels. I think more, and I'll mention that in verse sixteen, the angel declines to eat, but says again that um Minoah should prepare a burnt offering. And again you might note that at this time the law would have said that sacrifices were to be offered at the temple or where where the priests were it. So this is kind of a different thing. But since it is being commanded by the Angel of the Lord, it is not disobedience. For Minoah to do this, and so in verse seventeen, Minoah decides to ask the question that his wife had not asked, and so he wants to know the name of this being. So he says, I want to know your name. So when these words come true against sing, When when these words come true, we will know who we should honor. And so we have this very intriguing response in verse eighteen, and the response in the King James is why askest thou thus after my name? Seeing it is secret? But I do like the e s V better here because it says, why do you ask my name? Seeing it is wonderful? It's hard not to see Christ here. Now some might argue it's not, but to me, it seems like Christ is here. This is the word we're told in Isaiah nine six of the child that would be born, the son that would be given, and the government would be upon a shoulder, and his name shall be called wonderful counselor Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. So I believe here what we have is another one of those Theophanes, those pre incarnate appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, some would say that all that being means is that his name is beyond understanding, and couldn't understand it would quote verse I referred to earlier this morning and so on one thirty nine. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot attain it. But somehow, and you can leave what you would, But somehow,...

...to me, this is Christ. And my view is bolstered in a couple of ways in verse nineteen, where it says that Manoah offers a sacrifice to the Lord or in Hebrew Yahweh, So it appears to me that that would indicate the being is indeed the Lord. We also see that in Gideon in six two, after Gideon had offered the food on the rock, we read a last, Oh, Lord God, for now I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face. In both stories, of being disappears after the offering, which causes them they realize to realize that they have seen the Lord and because of that they are probably going to die. And again this bolsters the idea that this is Christ. They have they believe they have actually seen the Lord, and in uh in this case, in Gideon's case, the Lord actually comforted him and said to Gideon, peace be to you, dun't not fear, you shall not die. But in Minoah's case, it's his wife who comforts him, and she comforts him with great logic. She uses this logic on her husband. She says, if the Lord had meant to kill us, he wouldn't have accepted a bird offering in our hands and a grain offering in our hands, and he wouldn't have shown us all these things, and he wouldn't have announced all these things. In other words, if the Lord made a special point to appear to us, to tell us we're gonna have a child and that that's going to happen, it's highly unlikely he's going to kill us. Uh. That would pretty much defeat the whole purpose of why he's appeared. So I think I think she uses very good logic in that case. So we're gonna go down to fourteen and look at the beginning of the I don't know what to call it. We it's not even really a judge ship. And nobody knows if for a long time here nobody knows Sampson's supposed to be a judge of Israel. We don't we don't know this. We're perhaps in on it because we've read the Book of Judges, but it's really not clear. So it's hard to exactly explain what's going on here. I mean, is this Samson ruling over Israel. It doesn't appear that he's ruling over Israel, but he's certainly going after the Philistines, and God will give him occasion to do that. So he goes down in verse one to Timna, and this was actually Timna is part of the inheritance that was originally in the Book of Joshua given to Dan. So he's going to a part of the land that actually he should possess. And so in verse two he comes to his parents after his return from Timna, and he says he's found a woman in Timna whom he wants, and so he wants his parents to get her for him. In those days, the parents were responsible for arranging the marriage of their children and taking care of those things. But there seems to be I don't know if you pick it up, a belligerent tone in Samson when he speaks to his parents, and uh, and he, you know, says get her for me in that way.

And and so it doesn't seem to very kindly words that he says. And here began Sampson's besetting sin in his life. He doesn't seem to be able to control his passions, but he is driven by his passions. And we'll see that again and again. In verse three, his parents asked what I considered to be a very good question, which is, aren't there women here in our covenant community that you could marry? Why do you have to go outside of our community to find a wife. Now, it's very important we understand the issue here because it's still the issue today. It's never changed. The issue has never changed on this. The issue isn't interracial marriage. That has never been an issue in the Bible. There's no issue of that at all. The issue is what we'd call inter faith marriage. That is always the issue. The issue is that God's people shouldn't go outside the covenant. So as believers, we should not, as Paul would tell us in second grade and six, we should not marry an unbeliever. That is the stipulation. That is what we are warned against in the Bible. And it's always as I said, it's always been that way, it's a person's faith that matters. And Sampson's reply is what we'll see is a typical reply for him. He basically says, I really don't care what you think, just get her, and that's pretty much what he says. And the next statement he repeats something that also Israel will will be said of Israel in this section he says, she is right in my eyes. Later in Judges will read in chapter seventeen and verse six, in those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. In the very last statement of the Book of Judges, jud and those days there was no king in Israel, everyone did what was right in his own eyes, which is basically the same thing of what thirt one said, is that Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So Samson's behavior is a judge is mirroring Israel's behavior as a nation. And so by seeking to marry this woman, Samuel seems to be going against which I mentioned. This is the issue what God had commanded in Deuteronomy seven. He said, and when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you may devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons, or taking their daughters for your sons. Now some might say, well, wait a minute, that's that's about the Canaanites and Philistines weren't part of that, and you'd be right. But nonetheless, I think it's clear that the prohibition remains true to all of these groups that are outside of the covenant. So verse four gives us one of those confusing theological statements that we find at times in the Bible. It says his father and...

...his mother did not know it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. Now I puzzled over this, and I searched all my different commentaries, and I found that different commentaries had different views. They took different sides on exactly what has been said in this verse, but they didn't even acknowledge the other views. So whatever the view they took of this, they they mentioned that, but they didn't mention the other view at all. So I didn't find any real convincing things on this concerning what is this He for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. Is that he the Lord? If you read the verse carefully, it's hard to tell is the is the he the Lord? Or is the he Samson? But every commentary, like I said, gave its own opinion Jamison and Fawcett Brown says, literally, she is right in my not. He's not by her beautiful countenance or handsome figure, but right or fit for his purpose. So they take the view that it was Sampson who was seeking an occasion against the Philistines, that he is using this woman as a means of doing that. But Albert Barnes says his father and mother very properly opposed Sampson's marriage with a pagan woman, the daughter of the oppressors of the race, But they could not prevail because it was the secret purpose of God by these means to seek occasion against the Philistines, in other words, to make them misconduct of the father of Sampson's wife, which he foresaw the occasion of destruction to the Philistines. So they take the opposite view. Warren Wearsby said Samson should have been going to war instead of a wedding. But God used this event to give Samson occasion to attack the enemies. And again that there's others I could quote, but it's not really clear. I don't know that it matters totally. But we're not sure who it is that a king this case against the Philistines. Is it Samson who wants it or is it the Lord? Well, it is certainly the Lord for sure, but whether Samson is referred to, that's that's a little difficult to understand. Um. And so we have a similar statement, by the way, and Judge or Joshua I love in twenty for it was the Lord's doing to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the Lord commanded Moses. So here again we see the Lord is hardening their heart to bring about their conquering. So I I tend to go with that view that it is the Lord who is seeking the case. But you can you can choose your own adventure there whatever, whatever you'd like. Well, let me make some awesome applications as I close this evening. Samson is certainly a complicated character. As I mentioned, he is a man who does great things for Israel. But yet it seems every time he does something great, he's doing it for the wrong...

...reason. It seems like he's mad. It seems always like for Samson is always personal with him. It's always something that he's bothered about that causes him to want to do it. He's a man full of deep passions, and his passions always seem to get him into trouble, but they also help him and lead him into delivering Israel from the Philistines. Tim Keller says this about Samson, he is by far the most flawed character in the book, a violent, impulsive, sexually addicted, emotionally immature, and selfish man. Most disturbing of all, the spirit of God seems to anoint and use his fits of peak, pride and temper. Michael Wilcox puts it this way in his commentary. More than any of his predecessors, Samson will confound our assumptions. His emergence is as different from that of any of the previous judges as his call was different from theirs, and the judge that emerges look scarcely like a judge at all. And yet when we look at ourselves, we see a bunch of complicated characteristics as well. Right, we wonder why did I do that thing? And we try to think and we wonder what it was our mode of pure Did we really do this out of the best intentions or the best motive? And we realize there's many complications that are in us. Like Samson, we have our strength, and like Samson, is our strengths that often get us into trouble. I think of myself as a pretty logical individual. That's my own view. You're few free to disagree with that, but I I think of myself as that. But yet I find that in my life it's often what I considered my great logic that has gotten me into trouble with people. And so oftentimes are well, we think our strength end up to give us a lot of trouble. And yet as we look at Samson, it is very possible that the thing we think about Sampson in our minds that most to us seems right maybe complete be wrong. So what are you? What are you trying to say? Well, I think when we think about Samson, and I think kids, you'd have been through Sunday schooling things and you think about the pictures you've seen the Samson. He's this guy with gigantic bulging biceps and triceps and quadras, whatever kind of SEPs you've got. This Sampson is this gigantic figure of a man who just is just bulging strength. And I can remember as a child. I'm going to date myself to here, and I don't know if anybody else will remember this, but when I was a young boy, we used to go to the theater on Saturdays for the Mattenee movies on Saturday because it would be cheap, really cheap, and you can get like a cheap popcorn or something that the Mattenee movie and the movies in those days were always these terrible, uh Italian movies. I'm not saying all Italian movies are terrible, but these were really bad. But they were always of like Hercules or Sampson or one of these great figures. They were always the star of these things. And of course, as a...

...the young kid, you love those stories. There weren't terrible movies to me, they were fantastic and wonderful. And so it's usually some great hero like usually Steve Reeves. Some of you might remember that name. At all, but but that that's what it looked like. But actually the Bible gives us no indication Sampson looked anything like that. In fact, probably the opposite. And that's why I say what we oftentimes think of Sampson might be really, really wrong. And and so all of those flannel board pictures might not actually be the way he looked. And why would I say that? Well, number one, we're not told anywhere that he looked like that. But what is interesting is Delilah, remember had to ask him all those questions about what's the secret of your strength? Now, if he's sitting there with these gigantic muscles and triceps and leg muscle and he's got du I mean, of course that we know. But but if she's looking at some nine pound weakling that's laying air as she's going, how can this guy be so strong? There must be something because I'm not seeing anything here, then it makes sense actually, And so uh, if when his hair was cut, then why didn't he have the story? If his strength was in his muscles and his hair was cut, why would that all of a sudden disappear? But really we know it was the spirit of the Lord that came upon Samson that gave him his strength, and without the spirit of the Lord, he would be as other men. So again, perhaps the thing we think we know best about Samson we don't really know at all. There are other things I wanted to say about Samson, but I want to end by looking at the statement in verse four his father and mother did not know what was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. The amazing thing about God is that he can use our weaknesses, indeed, our sins, to about his greater glory and to bring about his will. That's the amazing thing about providence. And we could look through the Bible, we could look through history. We could find several examples of cases where God uses what looks to be terrible sins and uses them to work out his glory. And indeed, it is true that in this case it is Samson's passions that start the ball rolling, but God will use it in order to bring about his will. But I think there's probably one story I can refer to that illustrates God's ability to do that more than any other story that we may know, and that is simply the story of Christ. Dying on the cross. Could we say there's ever been a greater evil in the history of the world than when when mankind conspired to kill their Savior, to kill their God. Could there be a...

...worse sin than we could come up with than that sin? Right there, we'd say, I think it's the greatest evil that has ever been done in the history of mankind. But also out of this comes the greatest demonstration of the love of God and the one thing that made it possible for any human being to ever be saved. God's power in using his providence to bring about his will is amazing. Acts two twenty three, this Jesus delivered up according to the definite plan and fore knowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But then a few verses later, in verse thirty six, this Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. Man meant it for evil, as Joseph would say to his brothers, you meant it for evil. Mankind. You meant to do it in an evil way, But all the while our God was meaning it for good, for the salvation of his people, for our salvation, because our Lord was delivered by evil men and was put to death. Therefore we understand the most famous verse in the Bible. For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Let's pray, Lord, me thank you for your providence. We thank you that, indeed, as we will sing, you do work in mysterious ways, your wonders to form. We thank you for what we have learned from the story of Samson. And there's more to come and more to learn. But Lord, we know that you can do all things according to the counsel of your will, and you are able to use even our weaknesses, our frailties, and yea, even our sins to bring about your glorious will. We don't understand it, Lord, it is beyond our comprehension. But yet you do it, Lord, and we thank you for it. And we pray God as we look at the cross and see there the greatest evil ever done, that there might be no one that is here that cannot say, I've been to that cross, and I've been to Christ, and he is my Lord and he is my Savior. And because of that evil we can profess that tonight and say we are believers in Christ, we are children of God. Lord, what a glorious thing you have done, and we praise you for it in...

Christ's name. Amen,.

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