Identity Theft: “I Can Handle It”

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“For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite (set apart to God from birth) from birth. He will rescue Israel from the Philistines” (Judges 13:5).

The story of Samson is truly a tragic story of what could have been but never was.  The Bible tells us that he was a Nazirite set apart from birth and blessed with incredible strength and power.  He was used big, won big, but also messed up big.  Samson possessed the Power of the Spirit but not Fruit of the Spirit.  His issues were beyond way beyond lust.  His success and pride gave him the false confidence  “I can handle it.  I’ve won the big battles. I’ve killed thousands of Philistines.”  He was unbeaten…until…Delilah.  Where thousands of soldiers couldn’t succeed, one woman could.  Samson thought he knew it all, could do it all, and had it all.  The devil knows he can fight us when we develop a false sense of security and forget about God.  If not careful, we can make the same mistakes as Samson.

He disregarded authority
“One day when Samson was in Timnah, he noticed a certain Philistine woman. When he returned home, he told his father and mother, “I want to marry a young Philistine woman I saw in Timnah.” His father and mother objected strenuously, “Isn’t there one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry? Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?” But Samson told his father, “Get her for me. She is the one I want” (14:1-3). Samson picked a Philistine woman against his parents’ wishes. They tried to discourage him but his desire won out. We’ve seen a whole generation fall because it wouldn’t listen to counsel. We don’t know it all and never will.

He disregarded the Word
God wanted to preserve a people for Himself and gave the Israelites strict instructions so they wouldn’t be polluted or led astray.  “Do not intermarry with them, and don’t let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters.  They will lead your young people away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and he will destroy you” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4).  We know that God’s Word is not there to restrict our live but to help us experience the freedom Christ offers us.

He disregarded his ordination
A Nazirite was to be set apart for a specific purpose.  We see very strict restrictions for the Nazirites including alcoholic drinks (and all things grown on the vine), not cutting their hair, to never touch dead bodies, and to be holy (Numbers 6:2-6).

  • “As Samson and his parents were going down to Timnah, a young lion attacked Samson near the vineyards of Timnah”  (Judges 14:5).
  • “…he turned off the path to look at the carcass of the lion…a swarm of bees had made some honey in the carcass.  He scooped some of the honey into his hands and ate it along the way” (14:8-9).
  • “As his father was making final arrangements for the marriage, Samson threw a party at Timnah, as was the custom of the day” (14:10).

While these instructions might seem petty to us, God put them in place for a reason, if for only to test our faithfulness.  This series of compromises grew deeper and deeper.  We know Samson spent the night with a prostitute in Gaza.  Then he meets Delilah, falls in love with her, and falls into the trap set by the Philistines.  “Delilah lulled Samson to sleep…and she called in a man to shave off his hair… And his strength left him” (Judges 16:19).  He sold out on his calling by giving away the secret of his strength.  Why?  Because his hair represented holiness, so when he lost his hair, he lost his holiness and lost his strength.  Samson’s hair was an outward demonstration of an inner consecration.  The way we live our lives demonstrates the work of God in our hearts.  Our actions confirm or contradict the very message we preach.

He disregarded the Lord
“I’ll go out and shake myself free.”  He didn’t even realize that his strength was taken from him. Samson grieved God’s heart and made a mockery of Him before the Philistines and their god.  As they taunted Samson, they were defying Yaweh.  “Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!”  When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy to us!” (Judges 16:23-25)

But then he remembered.  “Sovereign LORD, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me one more time so that I may pay back the Philistines for the loss of my eyes” (v. 16:28).  He achieved one more victory, but who was Samson serving? God?  His people?  Or simply getting revenge?  His most potentially fruitful years were cut off because of his sin.  With what God meant him to be, he was a failure and fell short of his potential, short of the very reason he was born.

 

Questions for thought

  • In what areas am I not teachable?  Where maybe someone has given me advice or warning and I’m not listening?
  • In what areas am I flirting with sin?
  • In what way am I not fulfilling my calling?
  • In what way am I disregarding or dismissing God in my life?  Where is He NOT Lord to me?
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