– by Brett Johnson

The Samson story is amazing. His birth was a miracle, given that his mother was barren. His parents met twice with the Angel of the Lord, and they lived. The Lord blessed Samson. “He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him.” – Judges 13:25. But he didn’t seem to own—to value, to grasp, to cling to, to prize highly—his calling. His parents had some grasp of it, and he must have known he was different growing up with an alternative hairstyle and eating habits. “Mom and Dad, why am I different?” “Because you are a Nazarene. Mom was barren, we prayed, God showed up, and you came along shortly thereafter. You are God’s, and he has a plan for your life. Eat well, avoid the barber, and God will use you.”

No intimacy with God
Samson developed a knack for making the Philistines angry—this bit he got right. But Samson did not seem to develop intimacy with God. When he spoke to God, it seemed to be when there was a crisis, rather than out of communion. One day he killed 1000 people, was thirsty, and then cried out to God. “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst?” It doesn’t sound like a posture of faith; it does not have the tone of intimacy between a son or daughter and the Father. 

No special treatment
Samson also misused the power God had given to him, turning it to his own advantage. He demanded his own way, insisting on having a Philistine wife. He told his parents what to do, overriding their concerns: “Get her for me; she is the right one for me.” He ends the wedding celebration by striking down 30 men, stealing their clothes, and going home angry. Perhaps he also succumbed to the notion that a high calling and great power gives one a license to sin. Being used by God can make one feel one is above the law. (The David and Bathsheba story is another example of this.)

Samson turned to women for intimacy
We can have lots of power, but we still have a need for relationship. So if Samson did not press into God in a way that was commensurate with his calling, where did he go for intimacy? Women. There was his first wife, who did not last more than a week. She was given to a friend, then murdered by the village. (Note the cost of Samson’s wilfulness). Then there was a prostitute in Gaza, followed by Delilah. She was not the cause of his downfall; she was the inevitable outcome of a man who held his calling in relative disregard. Once she had his secret, she sold it, and we know the rest of the story. He awoke from his sleep, presumptuously thinking that he was still empowered. “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” This is followed by a sad statement revealing that Samson’s presumption had led to self-deception. “But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” 

Pray in accordance with this:
A miraculous beginning does not guarantee a magnificent ending. Let’s pray along with Paul from 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12:
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, so that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he will fulfil every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

• Do you see God’s calling on your life the same way He sees it?
• Have you misused your calling to fulfil your personal needs?
• Is your friendship with God at a level that supports the extent of His call on your life?

JOY! Magazine (January 2019)

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