Thursday, October 14, 2010

The tale of Samson

This week, we explore Judges 16 and look at the story Samson and Delilah and the death of Samson. Next to Jesus, Samson is probably my favorite character in the Bible. Samson's life shows us the great gifts God can bless us with, the realistic vices of the flesh that we all struggle with, the negative consequences that can occur and the subsequent blessings we can miss when we don't use wisely what God has entrusted us with, and finally - it's an amazing story of redemption...how we can still be useful to further God's kingdom despite our past transgressions.

16:1-15 - Not all of us are blessed with the spiritual gift of discernment, but we are blessed with the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us through difficult and even dangerous situations. We need to see things and even people for what and who they are. Samson was so taken by Delilah's beauty and his weakness for the ladies that he failed to see Delilah's manipulation and her true intentions. Maybe we all don't struggle with lust in the same manner as Samson, but Delilah can still come in many shapes, sizes, and colors for us. Maybe for us, Delilah is a bad habit - or even addiction - that we need to let go of. Maybe Delilah is something material that we covet that takes our eyes off of where they truly need to be. Maybe Delilah is even a person in our lives that is keeping us from taking the next step in our spiritual walk and growing closer to God.

Our human nature is going to take over at some point and allow us to become consumed with feeding our flesh rather than feasting upon things more pleasing to our souls. That's why we cannot do it on our own and need to use the power of the Holy Spirit, which is available to us at any time. We have to be willing to be honest with ourselves and recognize what Delilah may be in our lives and the distractions she can cause. We also have to be willing to trust God to pray about it and to respond humbly and obediently to how he calls us to deal with it.

What is Delilah in your life today? Please let us pray for you if you are struggling with anything at all in your walk!

16:16-21 - It wasn't until Samson grew tired of Delilah's nagging that he finally relented and spilled the beans about the secret to his weakness - his "kryptonite" if you will. :) We are going to encounter people from time to time who are difficult to deal with in a spiritual sense. Satan uses people to try to knock us off our games, whether it's someone who challenges our faith, someone who frustrates us, or someone trying to deceive us. In these instances, we need to stand firm in what we know is right. Don't let the enemy or anyone else dim your light!

We also need to keep in mind that our gifts aren't to our glory, but to God's glory. As such, handle with care! Samson didn't use his gift of his mighty strength wisely in this instance and it cost him his eyes and a lot of physical and mental torture.

16:23-31 - In spite of Samson falling short of the glory of God, God was still able to use him one more time in a mighty way to destroy the pagan temple. More importantly, Samson found repentance and restoration through a humble heart and a God whose love for him, and you and I, is immeasurable. Don't believe the lies of Satan. When you're forgiven, God is more concerned about your next move than your past mistakes. Turn your "mess" into a "message!"

There have been times we've all run away from home in the spiritual sense, and God is always right there waiting at the door, inviting us in out of the rain....dry clothes, a warm meal, and a seat by the fireplace waiting on us!

Be very careful with that, though. Don't attempt to manipulate God or take his mercy and grace for granted. That's not a free pass to go out and sin again, knowing he will forgive us for anything. God isn't our genie lamp or our magic 8-ball! This is where having a humble and repentant heart truly comes into play. It's also where faith and obedience is put to the test, as often the things (and even people sometimes) we're called to turn away from are very difficult to let go of...but we'll never go wrong.

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