When you think of a Hero of Faith- who is the first person that comes to mind? Abraham, maybe? He fearlessly followed God to the end of the earth- packing up all of his household and heading into strange territory. Later, he followed God’s bizarre test to sacrifice his son- because he was a man of faith- he took God at His word.
Or maybe you think of Esther? She suddenly found herself as the balancing act between her husband-the king- and God’s people who, if she didn’t petition for them, had an unjust sentence of death.
Or- Samson. What? Samson? Mr Muscles- who’s long hair and love of ladies got him into hot water on a number of occasions- a hero of Faith? Honestly- this is not the first hero that comes to mind.
I don’t know how closely you’re following my #30for30 project…. But I’m working away at adding these different adventures into my 30th year. I’m hoping to be at #15 by November. Anyhow it’s been a lot of fun, but a lot of them have become fairly involved. I have a list I’m working off of, so I check the next adventure and start trying to make contacts to pull it off. Basically all of them require a group activity, so as has become standard, I try to rope someone into joining me, which, sometimes requires more nagging than others…. (it’s ok to feel sorry for my family. But they are tough, this isn’t too hard on them- PLUS after all these years, they are fairly used to my shenanigans ). Then I select a date and try to execute the plan.
Last week was completely non typical. I’d put “Sight and Sound Theater” on my list, but had no plans of crossing that one off anytime soon. Until Destiny got in contact with me: a group was heading up to watch Samson, was my van available? AND would I go along? Wow! So I marked off #12 without even harassing my fam at all! And in the process-I’m completely challenged by the life of Samson.
Judges 13 introduces Samson as the only son of a childless couple who was born with an owners manual. He was chosen to be a Nazirite (dedicated to God) and with that came a number of requirements: stay away from fermented drinks and anything dead or unclean. Don’t ever cut get a haircut.
Do you ever feel misunderstood? Samson’s first love was a Philistine woman and his parents were highly concerned about this. Understandably, they offered to find him a wife among their own God-fearing people BUT “they did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines” Sometimes God leads us in a way that seems completely different from how He leads others.(Not saying that He asks us to live in contradiction to His Holy Word) But as long as HE is the one that’s leading-there’s peace.
Do you ever feel completely alone? After a very dramatic wedding, where Samson’s riddle caused a rift between him and his bride: forcing him to confiscate 30 sets of clothes off of the neighbors; resulting in his father-in-law giving his bride to his bestman and Samson rushing off in a rage and using foxes to burn grain fields, olive groves, and vineyards. Samson is up in the wilderness area and here comes 3,000 of his own Israelite men to capture him and hand him over to the irate Philistines. He goes with them willingly, and in the end, He kills 1,000 men with a jawbone and is so downcast, exhausted, and thirsty, he prays “You have given your servant this great victory, must I now die of thirst…” God answers him by opening a hollow place and water revives his strength. Sometimes it’s easy to look at life and decide that we are completely alone. It may be after a victory, or after a rejection from people who should’ve stood by you… But at the right moment- God arrives with the refreshment so desperately needed.
Do you ever feel like there’s no way that God can use what’s left of the choices you’ve made? Samson judged Israel for 20 years. His strength was impressive- like the time he carried the city gates of Gaza up onto the far hill, but no one apparently knew the source of his strength- the relationship between the Spirit of the Lord, the Nazirite promise, and his uncut hair. UNTIL Delilah betrayed his trust for no small amount of money and they cut his hair. But the story doesn’t end with the haircut and the loss of strength (and eyesight). The story ends with a subdued Samson in a temple full of idol worshiping Philistines jeering at him and his God, praising their god Dagon for Samson’s capture, when Samson finds the main pillars of the temple and with the words “Sovereign God, remember me” He pushes the temple in and kills more of the Lord’s enemies with his death, than he had in his entire lifetime. I love that God can redeem any situation, any circumstance, anything. All that needs to happen is to humbly ask for His intervention and allow Him to work in His way…
The pile of rubble is not where we last discover Samson. The last mention of him is listed in the Faith Chapter, Hebrews 11. As I reread this passage, I was amazed again. God promised that He would deliver and He did. But not nearly in the time-frame you would expect. e.g Abraham died confident that God would make his descendants as countless as the stars. In fact , (vs 26) These were ALL commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.
Because God had promised, these people (look it up, it’s quite the list of them) embraced life, looked forward to the fulfilling of His promise, and died still believing. Confidently.
How are you doing with what God has called you to? Are you able to move forward in faith believing that this is where you are called to serve? Do you struggle with being alone and misunderstood? Do mistakes you’ve made threaten to overwhelm you?
Isn’t it wonderful that we can go to the Scripture and be reminded again and again that God in His wisdom can (and will!) work through situations and redeem them for His glory. We are called to go through life. Confident. Faithfully.
FAITH- hears the inaudible
FAITH- sees the invisible
FAITH- believes the incredible
FAITH- receives the impossible
Have FAITH in God.