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He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Samson


As with all men, I assume, there lies an intrigue with the story of Samson. The mention of Samson’s name in the Faith-Heroes list of Hebrews 11:32 as those men who “by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness,” encourages us to have a favorable estimate of his character as a whole. The inspired narrative records infirmities, however, that must forever mar the luster and expanse of his heroic deeds. In Samson the Nazirite we see a man towering in supernatural strength through his firm faith in, and confident reliance upon, the gift of God that was committed to him. On the other hand we see in Samson an adventurous, foolhardy, passionate, and willful headstrong young man with little or no self-control, none of his exploits showing him as a religious enthusiast, his actions dishonoring and frittering away his God-given power by making it subservient to his own lusts. The superhuman strength of Samson did not really lie in his hair, which was part of the Nazarite vow including letting the hair grow and abstaining from wine and strong drink, but in his relation to God as a Nazirite, by which his uncut hair was the mark or sign of the covenant. As soon as he broke away from his Nazirite vows and heritage by sacrificing his hair, which he wore in honor of the Lord, Jehovah departed from him, and with Jehovah went all his strength, the “Spirit of the Lord” who would “come upon” him to enable him to perform amazing feats of physical strength.


The Question of Samson is profound in that it creates a dilemma between the depth of faith and the absence of the pursuit of holiness evidenced in this man's life. It allows for the introduction of faith based living while allowing the lusts of the flesh to exert their influence and sway. It provides a way out in living a licentious life without consequence as determined by the profession of heartfelt faith and contrition and repentance. In reality this is where we all live daily, it is the blatant actions of Samson that bring rise to the awareness of our destitute and vile position. All that is commended of him is his faith, Hebrews 11:32-34,"...and what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." Though Samson was a very imperfect man, and there were many things in his life which neither sound morality nor religion can approve, yet it was still true that he evinced, on some occasions, remarkable confidence in God, by relying on the strength which he gave him. In this Samson dwells within all of us and becomes our hero.

So rose the Danite strong,
Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap
Of Philistean Dalilah, and waked
Shorn of his strength.



Judges 15:18-19 "Then he became very thirsty; so he cried out to the Lord and said, "You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant; and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?" So God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out, and he drank; and his spirit returned, and he revived because of the seasonable relief from the Lord. Therefore he called its name En Hakkore,("the well of the implorer"; “the well of him that prayed”; "the spring of the caller"; the "supplication well,") names which record the reverence of this heroic champion, but are not neccessarily reflective of the devotion one would expect in receiving a miraculous answer to prayer as Samson receives.

Samson’s most basic flaw seems to be his failure to put God’s will above his own. God was forced to work in spite of Samson rather than with his willing cooperation. I wonder what God would have done through this strong man if Samson had been motivated to honor Him instead of being consumed by his own interests and pleasures.
Too often, I am driven by my own desires. I use my God-given gifts and abilities to further my own agenda rather than God’s. Do I limit what God will do through me because I want to serve Him on my terms rather than His? Does He have to work in spite of me? These are questions I need to continue thinking about.

And he was sore athirst, and to the Lord
He cried, and said, O Lord, thou did'st afford
This great deliverance, and now shall I,
By reason of my thirst fall down and die,...

But God was pleas'd to cleave an hollow place,
Within the jaw, from whence did water pass;
Whereof when he had drunk, his spirit came
As heretofore, and he reviv'd again:

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