Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Judges, Chapters 13-15 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Highlight Reference Passage : Judges 13: 1-5 … 1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. … 2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. 3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
My Journal for Today: In the three chapters in Judges (Chapters 13-15) in my assigned chronological read today, we begin to see the life of the Judge, Samson, unfold. And as you read above at the outset of Chapter 13, Samson was to be born of a barren couple, Manoah and his wife; and he was to be set aside by God as a Nazirite, which was somewhat of a spiritual role of honor among the Israelites. Nazirites were Israelites who made a covenant to God and before the people never to cut their hair, touch a dead body, or consume alcohol; and for this they were viewed as set-apart and empowered by God in their lives. Samson’s parents had a visitation from the Angel of the Lord (likely Christ); and they made the lifetime vow for their son for him to be a Nazirite; and the Lord granted them favor with the son they named “Samson.”
Samson’s life is a study in spiritual contrast: spiritual strength versus fleshly weakness; and I charge the readers with me to read through these chapters today, as I have, to be taught or reminded of the lessons we learn when spiritual vows are broken and a man of God becomes, from his [or her] choices, weakened by ungodly breaches into disobedience.
When Samson, who was up against the Philistines in those days, … fierce warriors whom God had allowed to subjugate God’s people. The Philistines were warriors coming into the iron-age; and they knew how to forge weapons out of iron, a new technology of the day. But Samson had the power of the living God on his side; and as long as he surrendered, in obedience, to His Lord’s power, he could be – and was – victorious over these iron-age Philistine warriors.
And in reading about Samson, I am reminded from the New Testament (from 1st John 4: 4) that our God, Who now resides in the hearts of God’s chosen ones, is always stronger that the forces of our spiritual enemies; and as long as we’re fortified by obedience and surrender to God, we can be victorious over even the most powerful spiritual enemies. This is also the lesson of Paul in Ephesians 6: 10-20, where we now are given all the spiritual weapons we need to be victorious. And above all we’re given the victory which Christ won on the cross to defeat all those who would come against us. Samson didn’t have the latter advantage; but he did have the same Spirit of God to give him victory IF he was willing to be obedient to God.
But Samson is a living example of what happens when we allow our flesh and pride get in the way of our humble surrender to God’s power, working through our obedience to Him. Samson yielded to the flesh; and when he did, breaking the vows he had on his life as a Nazirite, he became spiritually, and even physically, impotent before the guile and power of the Philistines, especially the temptress, Delilah, whom we’ll be reading about tomorrow in upcoming chapters of Judges.
I pray we all take in this lesson of the “Samsonite baggage, “ as I’m calling this journal entry today. We cannot carry the baggage of disobedience around as Christians and expect God to pour His enabling and empowering grace into our lives to allow us to go up against our spiritual enemies. When we are disobedient to the vows we make to the Lordship of Christ, and we carry the baggage of self and the flesh around in our lives; and we will be too burdened with self to be empowered by our Savior’s grace.
Yes, God’s grace is always more powerful than our selves; but unfortunately, God, as He did with Samson, has given us the gift of free-will as well as offering His gift of sanctifying and empowering grace. So, we can choose to carry the burdening load of Samsonite-like disobedience; or we can throw off that baggage, and walk free and powerfully wearing the full armor of God, … unburdened by our own sin choices.
As I always say to myself … as I will today … my choice!
My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to be in surrender mode to Your Spirit and unburdened by the baggage of selfishness. Amen