True Faith!

Devotional Series on Faith

 

Wednesday June 14, 2017

Ruth
1:
15 
“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

 
 

- Naomi had experienced a great deal of personal loss and heartache. Due to famine her husband made the hasty decision to relocate the family to Moab. Ironically the place where Elimelek and Naomi had lived was in Bethlehem, a name signifying “House of Bread”. Moab was the name for a land just short of the Land of Promise and that nation had been a perpetual enemy of Israel. So Elimelek allowed circumstances to move him away from the Promise of God to a foreign and hostile land. This is what happens to us every time we get our focus off seeking the Lord and allow our circumstances to dictate to us what we should do.

 

- Elimelek’s decision carried with it dire consequences, first he died away from his God ordained inheritance and was buried in a foreign land and then his two sons after marrying Moabite women also died suddenly, far from the happy ending you can be certain Elimelek envisioned when he uprooted his family. Following the deaths of her two sons, Naomi decided to head home – we often times turn back to the familiar and a place of safety when the bottom drops out. Naomi’s return home also carried with it significant spiritual implications not only for her but also for at least one of her daughters-in-law. Naomi told the girls to go back to their homes in Moab, but Ruth refused to go.

 

- Now, Ruth’s decision was perhaps far bolder than you might think. She was a Moabite which included a religious belief system very different from Judaism. She too had observed the tragedies that unfolded in Naomi’s family – three deaths, the men were now gone and the women left alone, very vulnerable. Where was the benefit for Ruth in sticking with Naomi? Elimelek walked away from the blessing and inheritance of the Lord because of circumstances far less grievous than what currently faced these women; yet Ruth chose to go with Naomi. Ruth valued what Elimelek so easily walked away from. Despite the hardship, the difficulty, the incredible challenges they had already encountered, Ruth chose to embrace not only her mother-in-law, but her life, her religion, her people and her God! This is true faith! Faith that perseveres despite the pressure, Faith that keeps on giving despite the sacrificial cost! Why? Only a deeply felt conviction, and a desire to live by faith could compel such a decision!

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Samson Found Life Laying Down His Life For

Devotional Series on Faith

 

Tuesday June 13, 2017

Judges
16: 25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

 

- Samson asked a servant to take him to the central pillars that supported the temple structure. The guests were revelling in their would-be conquerors defeat. The man who had singlehandedly wrought destruction and decimation on their nation now stood before them in humiliation. It seemed the end. It seemed the situation was irrevocable.

 

- Samson was now helpless. Do you know that feeling? Have been helpless? Are you helpless right now? That feeling of helplessness comes from sin. Sins effect in this world and in the lives of people everywhere results in the people created in the image and likeness of God feeling utterly helpless. We stand by helpless while our loved one is dying. We want to help heal marriages while they disintegrate right in front of us. Starvation, illness, war, terrorism, sexual assaults, sin is at work in all of it. Sometimes it is our own sin, sometimes the sins of others, and sometimes the consequence of the original sin in the Garden, but brother, sister that helplessness you are experiencing is a consequence of sin.

 

- God does not leave us there, however! God is there and God still cares! The blinded and humiliated Samson somehow knew that, even as he was being led around by a servant and derided by the howling mob. I know this with all my heart because it was then that Samson stopped to pray. Many times he failed to pray when he was at the top of his game but now, in a place of contempt and scorn, with his eyes put out, he looked heavenward and Samson prayed.

 

- Some would scoff and say, “Why pray now Samson? Your God has obviously forsaken you!” It seems often times when things are at their very worst, it is then that we sense the presence of God like no other. Samson not only prayed, he prayed asking God to strengthen him once more. This prayer was not for his benefit, it was so that he would become the instrument of judgment God had intended him to be all his life. And let me also say this, Samson prayed to receive from God so that he could give his greatest sacrifice of all to God – his life. Jesus told us that, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it”, Lk 17:33. Samson found life as he lay down his life in service to God. His end was not the tragedy, in fact it was his misguided life that was the true tragedy.

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He Gives Us More Grace

Devotional Series on Faith

 

Monday June 12, 2017

Judges
16:  21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. 23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”

24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy
    into our hands, the one who laid waste our land
    and multiplied our slain.” 25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.

 

- The words, 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved”, offer a message of consolation following Samson’s horrible fall. Samson’s ruin was not the doing of Delilah, it was his own doing or undoing for that matter. Samson had been giving in to sinful desires for years and the culmination of those years of entertaining sin in his life was a sound defeat. This was no shocking surprise, no need to ask God, “why?” The answer to the why question was elementary, why even a child could solve this riddle.

 

- Samson the powerful was reduced to Samson the helpless and it was all because of a life that had allowed sin to be entertained as one might entertain a dinner guest. What was the harm after all? What could possibly come of such recreational sins? But in the words of David, “O, how the mighty have fallen”! 2 Sam. 1:25, 27. When sin stands at the door it is not interested in a friendly visit. Sin knocks at the door and if you answer it instead of Christ it will push its way into your heart and take up residence there with no intention of ever leaving. Sin is a wild animal set lose in your living room and when it is finished there will not be one square foot left unscathed.

 

- Samson fell in sin, but then we are told that his hair began to grow again. Intrinsic to this revelation is a glimmer of hope, God was not completely done with Samson. Even though his persistence in sin caused the Spirit to leave him, grace was still available and where there is grace, there is hope! Let me tell you something, nothing that you have done in the past makes you irredeemable. God still loves you and God is at work right now in your life, through natural circumstances and even physiological processes to bring you back into His loving embrace. Your situation may seem irredeemable but you friend are not!

 

- The Philistines believed their god had delivered Samson into their hands. What do you think the truth is regarding that issue? Who delivered Samson into the hands of the enemy? Was it God? Was it Dagon the god of the Philistines? Or was it Samson himself?! The answer is obvious, it was Samson who delivered Samson into the hands of the enemy. Now Samson the destroyer of the Philistines was Samson the clown to be laughed at. This is what happens to believers who pursue sin rather than pursuing God who gives us LIFE! But He gives us more Grace, James 4:6! Look around you for the signs that God is still at work in your life.

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While You Were Sleeping

Devotional Series on Faith

Thursday June 8, 2017

Judges
16 15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” 16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.

17 So he told her everything. ”No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. 20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”

He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

 

- The tragic irony of Samson’s defeat is in the fact that what the most powerful, trained army of warriors could never do, a tiny unassuming woman accomplished using her cunning and persuasive charm, not to mention her propensity to nag until it was simply unbearable.

 

- Brother/sister do not be so focused on the things you think are huge threats to your walk of faith that you entirely negate the little ones that seem innocuous. Delilah seemed to Samson an innocuous threat, and so he entertained her persistent attempts to discover the secret of his great strength, but he did so to his own demise.

 

- Samson loved Delilah and so he trusted her, let’s say mostly. Despite his love for Delilah he deceived her three times as she plied him to reveal his secret. Samson was right not to completely entrust himself to the woman he loved because his love for her was misplaced. Had he listened to the counsel of God’s word he would have never pursued Delilah or put himself in such a vulnerable positon to fall. Whenever we refuse to heed the counsel of God’s Word and move in a direction we know to be in conflict with the faith we profess or more succinctly with our identity as sons and daughters of God we are heading for trouble. Samson gave in. He folded. It was enough already and he wanted relief from the constant pressure. If the enemy can apply pressure to you and maintain that pressure, it can wear you down to the point where desperation causes you to make a very bad decision. What is needed at such times? You need to stop what you are doing, separate yourself from the situation, get alone with God and cry out to Him. Have you noticed that Samson, a person who experienced the power and presence of the Holy Spirit on an ongoing basis never seemed to take time out to do this?! Even after he told Delilah everything he simply fell asleep when instead he should have watched and prayed so that he would not fall into temptation, Matt. 26:41. But fall he did and as he slept the enemy took from him the gift that God had given to him. The epitaph the enemy could have written here would be, “while you were sleeping I subdued you and then I destroyed you”.

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Distorted Love, Disastrous Consequences!

Devotional Series on Faith

Wednesday June 7, 2017

Judges 16 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”

 

- Samson’s willful bent to indulge his sinful appetite culminates here in his affection for Delilah. Ahhh but the modern person would say “what harm can there be in affection for another?” “How can love be wrong?”

 

- It should be noted here that there are times when our “love” is nothing more than acting on our hidden desires, desires that perhaps have been nurtured in us for years, desires that have been left unchecked and grown into more of a need than a perceived want. Can such “love” be wrong? You bet it can! This so-called love is a distortion of pure love, a corruption of what God originally gave us for our good. Perversion is taking what God intended to be good and selfishly using it to fulfill our own distorted desires. How can love be wrong? It can be wrong because humanity is captive to sin and chooses to evaluate love based on our own distorted values rather than the unchanging, uncompromising Word of God. Human love changes, it compromises and is capable of incredibly selfish acts regardless of who those actions might hurt.

 

- Samson’s love for Delilah would inevitably lead him to his own death. Observe how the enemy capitalized on Samson’s love for Delilah. Samson’s love for Delilah became the perfect opportunity that the enemy had been waiting for. But who could tell the Danite strongman that he was making a mistake? Samson would not hear such counsel and anyone who dared to say it would regret ever opening their mouth. Can you relate? Have you been on the side of watching a friend or loved one go after something you knew was wrong for them but felt powerless to say so? Or perhaps you have felt the compulsion to throw caution to the wind and “go with your heart” rather than listening to the still small voice that’s been telling you to turn away before it is too late.

 

- The enemy moved quickly on preparing the trap that would inescapably rob Samson of his God given strength. The enemy would use the object of Samson’s affection to subdue him, overpower him, and inevitably to destroy him, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him.” Did Delilah love Samson? I leave that to your own interpretation, however what she did actually do is to use the relationship as an opportunity for great personal financial gain; Samson was completely blind to her intentions. How many Bible believing Christians have allowed their desires to lead them into a snare from which there is no escape? How many have traded the eternal truth for a momentary pleasure that in the end leaves them alone and ashamed?

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Nothing is Truly Hidden, All Will Be Revealed!

Devotional Series on Faith

Tuesday June 6, 2017

Judges 16 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”

But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

 

- Today’s account is yet another example of Samson’s desire overruling his identity as a chosen vessel of the Lord. Observe how Samson’s overt actions reveal his inner corruption. Here we see how sinful depravity had taken root in his life and was driving him toward ruin. As a Nazarite he was consecrated to God from the womb, yet he cared not for his birthright as the consecrated of God and was willing to recklessly trade his birthright to feed his sensual appetite.

 

- This, Christian ought to be a stern warning for all of us! A call to awareness! Let those who think they stand firm be careful lest they easily fall, 1 Cor. 10:12! “Samson went to Gaza”. Why did he go to Gaza? What was his mission or motive in going there? We are not told this, however what we are told is his first line of business was to go into the house of the prostitute. Unlike the Israeli spies who visited the house of Rahab and went away not only incurring a blessing for themselves but also for the hostess who acknowledged the sovereignty of Almighty God to the spies, Samson’s visit had no such redemptive qualities. Rather a chosen son of God bound himself as one flesh to a heathen prostitute and put his life at great risk. His would-be captors found out about his covert transgression and surrounded the place where he lay.

 

- This too is true for all of us and requires our full unadulterated attention. Too often today sons and daughters of God are believing the lie that they can indulge their lust and sensual desires yet remain anonymous – you cannot and you will not! God knows what you are doing, you know what you are doing, and the enemy of your soul knows what you are doing and he is busy right now surrounding the place where you lay in secret and preparing for your destruction. The fact that Samson went into the harlot meant that he was already a captive to sin, what was happening in the physical realm was merely a shadow of what had already happened in the spiritual realm.

 

- Ahhhh but you say, “Look how the Lord was still with him and empowered him to tear the city Gates up from there place, posts and all, and carry them away!” Yes it is true, the Lord in His mercy did not abandon Samson though Samson had abandoned his God! Sin has a way of multiplying in us and as James declares when it is full grown it then gives birth to death, 1:15! The fact that God helped Samson does not mean that God condoned what Samson did any more so than the fact that when God continues to help us despite our waywardness it means that God condones our wayward actions and thoughts. Sin imprisons, repentance liberates!

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Drink Deep of God and Be Revived!

Devotional Series on Faith

Monday June 5, 2017

Judges
14: 17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.

18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, ”You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi.

20 Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

 

- In a situation of great conflict and need Samson experienced the presence and empowering of the Lord and through the enabling of the Spirit he overcame 1000 armed men using only a single skeletal jawbone of a donkey as his weapon. Impressive is it not? So impressive in fact that we are quite likely to magnify the strength and ability of Samson rather that acknowledging that it was the power of the Spirit that made any of this remotely possible.

 

- Our focus ought not to be on Samson at all, rather our focus ought to be on the God who empowered Samson, but sadly humans mostly acknowledge and exalt the physical and often times ignore the metaphysical, unseen power that made any physical ability or response possible.

 

- After Samson’s conquest he stopped and acknowledged the Lord saying, “You have given your servant this great victory.” Amen to that! Samson knew it was the power of God that strengthened his arms and made his every movement lethal to the enemy! Are we understanding this truth? Are we living this reality? If so why then are we so loathe to seek God in prayer? We want God to make everything good and fine for us, to fight our battles for us, yet we refuse to get off our couches, step away from our duties or our recreation for even brief moments to offer heart felt prayers and petitions.

 

- No we are not fighting Philistines, we are however engaged in a real battle against an unseen enemy that wants to do what the Philistines wanted to do to Samson, take us captive, steal our source of strength, mock us and parade us before a watching world as nothing more than a joke to be ridiculed and laughed at.

 

- Our strength comes from the same source as Samson! The same Spirit that empowered Samson wants to empower us today! On his own Samson would have been easily beaten, but with God’s enabling he could stand against an army and win! But look at what Samson said immediately after acknowledging God’s provision, “Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” As if God would allow His servant whom he had just empowered to die of thirst! However, Samson’s concern is echoed by believers around the world. God provides for us, delivers us, sometimes in miraculous ways and then we cry out in seeming disbelief wondering if God will fail us now. God’s provision not only satisfied Samson’s thirst, it revived him! Now it’s your turn, drink deep of God and be revived today!

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The Lord is My Strength!

Devotional Series on Faith

Friday June 2, 2017

Judges
14: 11 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.”

12 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.”

13 “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. 14 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. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men. 16 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.”

17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.

18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, ”You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi.

20 Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

 

- Today I want to turn this thing over and look at it from another perspective that I hope will be a blessing to you. We can see from the narrative that Samson is far from a perfect example of godliness. That should give at least some of us tremendous hope in that despite Samson’s personal shortcomings God continuously helped him to overcome.

 

- God protected Samson from the seemingly inevitable conflict coming from his own country men who came to deliver him to the Philistines. Ever had close friends or relatives approach you and you just knew it wasn’t going to be friendly? At such times it is a wonderful consolation when the Spirit of God intervenes to help you to handle the situation with grace. Amazingly we see Samson doing just that, the man who seems to have a propensity lose it handles his countrymen with incredible tact. Then there is the binding of Samson, something he allows to happen and something his fellow Israelites do without harming him. God was at work here even though the situation was quite intense and seemingly unraveling for the man of God, Samson. Do not be too quick to surmise that God has abandoned you just because your friends seem to. God was with Samson and God is with you as long as you are willing to believe that. The truth is, it is we who abandon God, not God who abandons us.

 

- 14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting”. The enemy believed they had Samson trapped with nowhere to go. It is just like our Lord to be at work in a situation that appears to be futile! Samson was anything but a helpless victim! The ropes intended to bind him were suddenly revealed to be nothing more than a ruse God purposely used against the enemy. Oh those ropes were real and they were no doubt made of strong material and that is what makes this historical account so miraculous and so wonderfully awesome! Those ropes that previously held Samson’s arms fast melted off his arms like wax off a hot oven. What made all the difference in the world for Samson was the presence of the Holy Spirit, “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.” 

 

- Strong ropes can easily bind a strong man and render him immobile, however when the Spirit comes upon that man the strength of the ropes is no longer an issue. What you are facing right now, the thing that is stronger than you are, the thing that is immobilizing you, the thing that holds you fast and seems unbreakable is no match for the Holy Spirit at work in you!

 

- You may not be Samson but you are God’s son/God’s daughter and that is undeniable! That means God’s strength is your strength because God’s Spirit dwells in you and you are not merely human, you are the instrument of Almighty God!

 

- I want you to say these words and to mean them, “The Lord is my strength!” Exodus 15:2, Psalm 28:7, 118:4, Isa. 12:2, 49:5, Hab. 3:19

- Samson was made strong because he made the Lord’s strength his own! The power of God came upon Samson and enabled him to overpower his enemies.

 

- Let’s get back to the crux of the matter we began with; Samson was no saint yet God empowered him and gifted him to be an extension of the Hand of God. This does not mean we should be content to live in such a way as to be more dominated by our flesh than by the Spirit, but what it does mean is that God does choose and will use imperfect vessels to accomplish His will. Not only that, but what if Samson was completely sold out to God? What if he actually lived the Nazarite vow he was consecrated to live? Just think of how God would have used this man if he had been led entirely by the Spirit!

 

- I will confess, I see Samson’s weakness in myself and I believe if we are all honest with ourselves we will all see it in ourselves. I desire to serve God wholeheartedly and not only sporadically. Samson seemed to have a sporadic walk with God, a blend of intensity and seemingly apathy. God’s Spirit is upon him at times to move him in ways only He could, yet at other times we see a man given over to impulsive and sensual behavior.

 

- How many Christians would fall into this category today? We praise and worship God intensely on Sunday morning and by Sunday evening we are watching shows that blaspheme God’s name, castigate the Christian Church and celebrate a hedonistic lifestyle. I am certain I do not speak for all but for those who can relate we need to stop and take personal inventory. The gifts God has given us are profound yet we squander them by our lukewarm life of faith.

By living in the strength of the Lord we can break the ropes that are meant to bind our witness and by that same Spirit-filled enabling we can use things as mundane as a skeletal jawbone to completely disarm and destroy the power of the enemy! You are anything but helpless, Christian! If God is for you who can stand against you!

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How Are You Using The Gift God Has Given You?

Devotional Series on Faith

Thursday June 1, 2017

Judges
14: 11 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.”

12 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.”

13 “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. 14 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. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men. 16 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.”

17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.

18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, ”You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi.

20 Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

 

- Samson had a natural propensity for irrational behavior and it got him into a great deal of trouble. His headstrong determination to marry a Philistine girl was irrational, yet he followed his desire and in the end lost his wife to another man when in a rage he went out and forcibly took 30 cloaks from among their own people after the Philistines conspired to extract information from Samson’s wife to solve his riddle and then he lost her finally to death due to his impulsive actions.

 

- He was a man given over to impulsive and impetuous behavior and so rather than using the incredible gift God had given him to honor and glorify the Lord he instead used that gift to accomplish his own impulsive desires. This should not surprise us really, when we look around the Body of Christ we can see many individuals who have been gifted by God, yet they willfully choose to use their God given abilities to serve their own ends rather than using them to serve the Lord.

 

- How many Samson’s are sitting in church every week? Seriously, look around, better yet look in the mirror. All of us are pretty competent to judge Samson for his incredibly poor judgment (ironically he became a judge in Israel for 20 years), but would we be so critical of our own misuse of God’s gifting in our own lives? Samson used a donkey jawbone to slay a thousand armed men – yes he made donkeys of his enemies in the moment, but realistically it was Samson who acted more like a donkey throughout his lifetime. All that strength, all that power and he did so very little with it! Incredible! Ask yourself, are you anything like Samson regarding the gift God has given to you? How are you using that gift to glorify God?

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The Propensity of Falling Even after Winning a Decisive VictoryWednesday May 31, 2017

Devotional Series on Faith

Judges
14: 12 “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. 13 If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.” “Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”

14 He replied,

“Out of the eater, something to eat;
    out of the strong, something sweet.”

 

 - The riddle Samson puts together contains an inherent deception. God did enable Samson to overpower and to kill the attacking lion as He will enable and empower His children today to not only stand against the attacks of Satan but also to overcome the enemy by the power of the Spirit, but we should beware that the enemies attack will persist even after gaining victory.

 

- Within this riddle we find a beguiling lie and that lie is simply this that anything pertaining to the enemy can be feasted upon and its resources savored and enjoyed without consequence. If you will notice there is no consequence mentioned by Samson regarding the treats enjoyed from the carcass of the enemy in fact after Samson first tasted its delights he then proceeded to give some to his parents disregarding entirely the defiling nature of the treats in that they were obtained from a dead carcass.

 

- How many believers have fallen prey to the same lie? We assume that since God is protecting us even as we delve deeper and deeper into sin that we can consume and enjoy without fear of consequence. Did the honey look good to the sojourning Samson? Of course it did. But the honey was in the carcass of a dead lion and that should have been reason enough for Samson to turn away from it, especially given that he was a Nazirite, Num. 6: “‘Throughout the period of their dedication to the Lord, the Nazirite must not go near a dead body.”

 

- Brother/sister, honey in the carcass of a dead lion can be found everywhere today. On your journey of faith you will encounter attacks and overcome but then you find yourself enticed and tempted by the treats contained inside the dead carcass, you go over, see it, and then you decide to taste it. The lion may not have defeated you in life but has defeated you in death! Something you felt you had gained the victory over has now deceived you and led you into sin and the thing about sin is it has a way of not only taking you captive but using you to infect the lives of others as well, even as Samson did his parents.

 

- Like Samson, we are dedicated to God through the sanctifying work of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the newness of life made possible through Christ’s resurrection, and the washing through the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in us. Yes, we are empowered to overcome the enemy’s attacks but have we made the fateful mistake of thinking we can later on go back to that dead carcass and taste of the treats we find in there and not suffer terrible consequences?

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