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Samson’s Sobering Story

22 July 2011

Samson is one of the few births foretold and described in the Word.   He was born into a loving,  God-fearing family, he was born supernaturally, he had a calling  and divine enablement.  God chose Samson from before his birth and had a purpose for His life.  Yet as Samson grew, he seemed to have little regard for the special call from God and his privileged position.   Four chapters, 13-16, in Judges are dedicated to telling his life story.  More is written about him than any other judge.  I believe this is because there is so much to learn from his failures.  Ironically, the best judges, those that honored God and walked uprightly before Him are only given a brief description.

In short, Samson was called to live as a Nazirite, set apart for God for his entire life.  He was given supernatural strength to deliver Israel from the hand of Philistine oppressors, but instead he chose to marry a Philistine woman.  He participated in the Philistine culture and disregarded his vow to God.  He had an eye for women and wealth and sought to indulge himself in these areas.  Samson had a problem submitting to authority and yielding his self-will.  This first shows up in his unwillingness to submit to his parents and then to God.

Samson had been nurtured and raised with every advantage, but in the end he was ruled by selfishness and pride.   Just like Esau who sold his birthright for a bowl of stew, Samson was willing to give up the opportunity to co-labor with God and do something great, so that he could satisfy his immediate cravings of his flesh.  He used his calling for his own benefit.  Never did He inquire about God’s heart for His people or express a desire to protect them.  He wanted revenge against the Philistines for personal reasons and maybe even from a general understanding of their oppression, but never with a desire to know God’s heart in the matter.  He did not have respect for the gift of His strength or why it was given to him.  He took it for granted and became haughty, assuming that he could do whatever he desired and God’s gift would be there to bail him out of any mess he got into.  This is a serious flaw!  We cannot presume on the gifts of God.  We cannot indulge our flesh and think that we possess the fullness of God’s spirit.  Instead, we must recognize that indulging the flesh quenches the spirit within us.  We cannot partake of the things of the world and still operate in the fullness of God’s Kingdom.  They are radically opposed and this is why God calls us to be separate.  This is not about legalism and rules.  It asks each one of us the question, “How bad do you really want the fullness of God’s power and spirit in your life? What are you willing to give up to get it?”  The things God asks you to give up may not be ‘bad’ things.  They might be quite acceptable, in fact.  Yet, for you and your particular call, God has a reason for asking you to let go of that thing.  He knows you and your weaknesses.  His desire to see you overcome a fear or a weakness is what compels Him to ask for ‘more of you.’ He is asking you to depend on Him.  You have the choice in how you respond.  It is always for your good!

God gave Samson supernatural strength.  This physical strength was a sign that God would have also backed up Samson spiritually and emotionally if only Samson would have yielded himself to God.  Samson could rip up a lion with his own hands, but he could not free himself from the lustful desire of a woman.  He could tear out the gate of the city and carry it for miles, but he could not maintain his own boundaries when it came to sensual pleasures.  God’s strength was there for him to overcome, but instead he relied on his own ability and desire.  His desire and lack of commitment to the Lord led to his premature death and failure to fulfill His calling.  This is a tragedy.

Though Samson’s failure is great, let us not miss the most exhilarating part of this story.  It is the faithfulness and mercy that God shows to His people.  It reminds us that God can and does use imperfect people to carry forth His plans.  He prefers when we cooperate with Him because He ultimately desires to bless us, but when we do not cooperate, He still uses us.  His mercy endures forever.  God is so patient with His children, but He will not let us continue to operate in our own willfulness without consequences.  Again, He allows His judgment to come because of His love for us.  His goal is always our repentance.  Judgment is a means of moving us toward repentance, for it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.  If our repentance does not come, He sets us aside and waits.   He will limit our exposure and our participation in His work.  “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!”  Isaiah 30:18

As we train our children to be end-time warriors, they must understand that they are bought with a price, and they are called to be bond-servants of the Lord Jesus.  This is not a slave mentality, but rather an understanding of how much the Lord loves them  and how He gave His life, so that they can give theirs back to Him and rise to their high calling in Him.  God is looking for lovers, those who willingly and sacrificially lay down their lives for Him.  He’s not looking for law-abiding Christians who  abstain from things or seek to follow  the rules.  He’s looking for passion born out of  love for Him because of His Love.  God does not have a mediocre life planned for anyone.  Whosoever will can be great in His Kingdom.  All it takes is a heart that is willing to submit to His love and His training.  Those who put their trust in Him will not be disappointed!  It may be painful at times, He promises that there will be suffering in this life, but the end result will be glorious forever.  We will never be sorry that we gave it all for Him Who loves us!

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