Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?” He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.” They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.” Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.” “Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock. As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings
dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men. Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone, I have killed a thousand men.”
When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi Judges 15:11-17
I mean look at the circumstances. He’s got 3,000 Israelites on one side of him and 1,000 Philistines on the other side. What does he do? He picks up the jawbone of a dead donkey and starts fighting on his own. He wins the battle, but that’s not necessarily an indication of God’s will or his pleasure. If somebody robs a bank and gets away with it, they can be pretty sure it’s not because God was helping them. Scripture tells us that every believer is in dwelt with the Spirit of God. We are sealed with Spirit; we have been since the time God first touched us. Yet if we’re honest, we know we sin and make mistakes. The indwelling of the Spirit is not a guarantee that you won’t make mistakes, just the opportunity to work in agreement with God.
So, let’s look at the aftermath of the battle. Once again, we have Samson’s own words. “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps”. Did you notice that the battle takes place somewhere called “Lehi”? Do you know what that means? Lehi is the word for Jawbone. It’s not until verse 17 that we learn that Samson named this place after the battle. The name stuck, because 100 years later when somebody is writing the story, the place still has the same name, it’s just been shortened. The name Samson gave this place is “Ramath-Lehi”. This name can be a few things; it can mean “Jawbone Heights” or “Jawbone Throw” but my favorite and probably the most accurate is “Jawbone Hill”. Can you see the heap of bodies that Samson left piled up? Possibly at some point, they piled some dirt on top of the bodies.
A man from a small African country had a dream to represent his country in the Olympics. He trained hard to prove his worthiness to his fellow countrymen as a representative of their country. Finally, they gave him their approval, and he went to the Olympic Games in Atlanta GA as a marathon runner.
All the wonderful activities were enjoyed, and finally his race day game. Along with hundreds of racers from other countries, this gentleman lined up. At that point, he had gotten farther than anyone else in his country. The race began and on the hot pavement, the runners ran, step after step. One hour into the race, there were some racers who were already 1/2 way through the 26.2-mile race. This African man was behind the pack. Not just a little way back either. In 2 hours plus a few minutes, the winner crossed the finish line. As the time got later, still this man continued to run. The crowds had long ago gone home. He continued to run, almost as if he thought he had a chance to win.
Finally, minutes before the time limit, he crossed the finish line, hands raised in victory! Some reporters later asked him why he didn’t quit. He replied, “I am the first athlete from my country, and when I ran, I ran for them, not just myself. When they sent me here, they sent me NOT to only start the race, but to finish.
We are all great starters. We all can think of a project that we started, and it still sits unfinished. We must finish the race. We need the gift of endurance to finish the race. It doesn’t matter how we started the race, but how we finish the race that makes the difference! Congrats, you’re in the race of a lifetime, don’t forget to finish the race!