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It’s amazing in the book of Judges to see how long the People of God can sometimes walk in disobedience before they feel the pain of their fall and cry for recovery.
This dynamic is repeated both in the lives of the heroes and the villains in this remarkable book.
But of particular note is this character Samson. And in his story, among others – one lesson stands out far above the rest.
Samson was both used mightily by God, and was also a man of failures equal to if not eclipsing his accomplishments.
Samson, as gifted and set apart by God as he was had a big problem; he never knew how to humble himself in repentance. And it brought about an end to his usefulness as well as his life.
For many, the notion of repentance is simply saying they are sorry for the wrongs they’ve done. But Scripture describes repentance in far deeper terms; best detailed in
In God’s genius in Scripture, what is taught by precept in the Corinthians passage is illustrated in graphic detail in many an Old Testament event.
The key to that in the account of Samson is found in 13:5, where the angel who visited Samson’s parents announced that he was to be “a Nazirite to God from the womb.”
According to Numbers 6
a Nazirite was a person who had entered into a unique time of dedication to God for God’s purposes, where among other things; they could not eat or drink anything derived from grapes or alcohol in any form, and not cut their hair until the term of the vow was ended.
There was one more important prohibition – they could not come into contact with a dead body for any reason – even to bury a parent who died.
If they failed in any of these details, the term of the vow was broken. They had to cut off their hair, offer a sacrifice, and start the clock over again.
But here’s the rub for Samson.
Since his great strength was connected to his Nazirite status and thus his hair not being cut – if he came into contact with a dead body – even he would have to cut his hair and start over. The problem being, if he cut his hair, he would be weak like other men until it grew again. And it appears he was unwilling to humble himself to be like other men on those occasions.
The narrative records a number of times where Samson killed men in physical combat. But none where he cut his hair and stepped aside until it was regrown.
And he is humbled at last not by his own hand in humble obedience, but by his enemies, in disgrace.
Beloved, if we will not humble ourselves in repentance regarding our sins, even if that means we appear weak or even disqualified from service for a while – then in due time, God will bring that humbling about. And the sad pain of that will far outstrip any humbling we might endure by owning our sin fully ourselves.
I find myself praying at the end of this narrative something like this:
“Heavenly Father, give me a heart that repents at the drop of a dime. Do not let me grow so hard and cold that long times pass before I feel the woeful state of my soul and fly back to you. Grant me the gift of a repentant heart – that I not bring shame upon the name and cause of Christ.”
As 1 Cor. 11:31
notes: “If we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.”
Let that soak into your soul today.
God bless, and God willing, we’ll see you tomorrow.