Archive for February, 2015
“So Delilah said to Samson, ‘Please tell me where your great strength is and how you may be bound to afflict you’” (Judges 16:6).
For any who call themselves Christian, it is legitimate question of self-examination, “Where does your strength lie?” While centuries of Christian art have depicted Samson as a Herculean figure, if such were true there would have been no mystery as to the source of his strength. It would have been visible to the eye. Physical strength and outward beauty is but for a season and soon fades. Even so, His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“But the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?’ So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on” (Judges 13:18-19).
It’s little wonder that the One called wonderful performed such wonders. That God is wonderful refers to the inscrutability of his nature; that he is beyond full comprehension. And, yet, this One who is so unknowable makes himself known to us in ways that are personal and intimate; even becoming flesh and dwelling among us.
“The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘Though you detain me, I will not eat your food but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.’ For Manoah did not kow that he was the angel of the Lord” (Judges 13:16).
Manoah’s desire to prepare a young goat for the angel of the Lord (v.15) was an offering of gratitude and appreciation. It could be argued that a spirit of thanksgiving is the quality that best captures the genuineness of our faith in God and his provision. To give thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5:18) is faith at its finest, while grumbling and complaining indicates that one’s ability to express gratitude is dependent upon upon favorable circumstances.
“Manoah said, ‘Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?’ So the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘Let the woman pay attention to all that I said…let her observe all that I commanded’” (Judges 13:12-14).
The angel of the Lord had given specific instructions to Manoah’s wife regarding the coming birth of their child, Samson. Because he had questions of his own, Manoah prayed that the Angel of the Lord might appear once again. All the angel offers, however, is a recap of the instructions already given to the woman. It’s a simple reminder that our greatest need isn’t more information, but action–an obedience to what we already know. Even if we were to never again learn something new from God’s word, how much more effective would the witness of the church be if the members of the body of Christ put into full practice all that we already understand about scripture and living the Christian life?
“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
God’s word is either fulfilling its work in us–bringing transformation, guiding in obedience, birthing daily renewal and understanding–or our hearts are being hardened against it by disobedience and indifference. By refusing to embrace the life of repentance; living in outright defiance to God’s word, a person eventually crosses a dangerous and imperceptible line. It’s the point at which the heart becomes so hard that what was once an attitude of “I will not repent,” gives way to “I cannot repent.” Willful disobedience diminishes our perceptiveness of God’s word and Spirit as he seeks to work in our lives.
“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
The widely accepted adage states, “What’s right is right.” That’s not altogether true, however. In fact, right is never right when it is a “rightness” determined by us. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are not left to our own impulses, instincts, feelings, intuition–what is right in our own eyes–when it comes to living out the faith. Such a platform for our decision-making is but a self-serving pursuit that disregards the clearly stated principle and precepts of God’s word. In a world gone wrong, it is he that establishes what is right.
“Forgetting what lies behind, I reach forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
Each day introduces us to the discovery of never imagined possibilities. By pouring ourselves into the opportunities presented by this day, the better positioned we are for the days to come. Have a decidedly good day. It makes for a better tomorrow.