In times of trouble, rely on the lord for strength
Good morning, folks! What a beautiful day! I took a nice walk early today, and the Lord was faithful. He always is — it’s me that often goes my own way. I pay for it. Or maybe I should be more honest, and say that those dear to me pay for my wanderings, at times.
As I was reading this morning, I was impressed with Samson’s story (found in Judges 16). First, you need to know that as I was praying, I was telling the Lord that He feels distant and that I can’t sense His voice right now. Interestingly, He was faithful to lead me to Samson’s story, with so many rich lessons for me. As I walked, His voice became audible in my heart. I love how that works! We confess our sin and repent of it, asking the Lord to help us, and just like that, He speaks!
Samson had fallen in love with Delilah. Now, the rulers of Philistine despised Samson and wanted to take him out. So, they approached Delilah and asked her to find out the secret to Samson’s strength (you know, he could rip doors off of big buildings in one try). Delilah agreed…hm, wonder if she was also in love, or just Samson. At any rate, time after time, Samson gave her some lie about where his strength came from, but Delilah was not quitting, and finally, Samson told the truth. His strength was in his hair, as he was a Nazirite and had never had a razor touch his head. (Nazarites dedicated themselves to God in this way — never cutting their hair). Finally, Delilah had worn Samson down, and the truth was out. With his head on her lap, sleeping, his hair was cut…and his strength was gone! The Philistines then took him, gouged his eyes out and imprisoned him! What a pitiful story…of a heart gone bad. But, in one last blaze of glory (for God), Samson prayed and asked the Lord to let him have his strength back, just one more time. God honored that request, and Samson took down the house! He and all who were witnessing this event, died in the crash!
Now, I heard the Lord tell me many things after reading this. Samson became proud in his service to God. He got so entangled in impressing the world with his strength, that he lost sight of God. His focus must have shifted from God to himself. He relied on himself for the strength that came only from the Lord. I believe he no longer heard the Lord speaking to him, or he wouldn’t have fallen for the tricks of Delilah. He had become proud and arrogant! His faith was no longer in his God, but in himself! Herein lies the downfall of many a saint! Self!
I see many messages in this. I pray I can convey, gently, what God has shown me. First of all, it is an honor to serve God in whatever capacity it is He asks us to. Any. All. Whatever. Whatever He asks, He will make the way. But is must be HIS way, and not our own making. When we take our own path, it can only lead to pain and regret. God has a plan marked out for each of us. When we get full of pride and arrogance, He will always withhold His blessings, and usually His voice, as well. We must recognize that “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights.” His way, or no way. And remember to stay humble and thankful that He would use us at all. We forget. We get so distracted by what we felt we accomplished for the Kingdom that we forget who gave us the honor, strength, and wisdom to do anything at all for Him. Stay focused. Stay humble. And stay faithful. Stay faithful to God, and forget about ourselves. When we take up that proud, arrogant, “me” shield, we are headed for big trouble, friends! Sooner or later, it will all come crashing down around us. The tallest of buildings, of our own building, will come crashing down on our heads, and we will die, as Samson and all the onlookers.
Aside from all these lessons for us, one thought kept coming to me. What about Delilah? I assume she died that day, as well. Had she lived, would she have given her heart to God after witnessing Samson’s last display of strength? You know, the one He asked the Lord for, publicly? After seeing Samson live in his own strength and then witness it taken from him because of his pride and wrong focus, and then seeing Samson rewarded, one last time, as he focused on, depended on, and gave glory to God for…would Delilah have had a changed heart? The Bible isn’t clear where her heart was. I can only surmise, due to her actions. Friends, we all have them! We all have Delilah’s in our lives! We all have those who are watching our lives to see where our strength comes from, and who gets the credit for the lives we live. In essence, we all have those in our lives who need the Lord. They are simply waiting for someone to come along and show them…the Lord. Not self. We who call ourselves “Christians” (little Christ’s), need to ask ourselves a lot of hard questions, if we are no longer hearing from God. If He has turned a deaf ear to us, it is because we have unconfessed sin in our lives. We may have become proud and reliant on ourselves, instead of on Him. Don’t miss this! And don’t wait to act on it.
In my quiet time with the Lord this morning, as I poured my heart out to Him about some hard things in my own life…and confessed my part, and asked His forgiveness for my pride and arrogance, the cobwebs began to fall. I felt near to God once more. Better yet, He spoke to my heart. It was as beautiful, hearing Him speak again, as the day I accepted Jesus — almost. Now, now, I want to be faithful to follow HIS plan for me, and not my own. I want to be careful to live humbly before those who need to see Jesus in me, always giving Him honor and glory for any good thing in me. I want to be faithful to Him always, and forget about myself. I know these things. Sometimes, I need reminders. You’d think I’d learn. I pray someone reading today needs the same lessons, and hears the Lord speaking into their own hearts. After all, ‘Delilah’ is watching!
Lord, we so often fail You by doing life our own way instead of Yours. Help us hit the pause button long enough to hear what You want us to hear, and the humility to follow whatever it is You ask of us. Keep our eyes focused on You, and off of ourselves long enough to hear Your voice; Your very loving, faithful to us when we’re not always faithful to You…Voice. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Most Precious Name, I pray. Amen!
Debby Renninger is a freelance writer and inspirational speaker. She holds a Bible study in her home in McVeytown, where seeking women are always welcome. She may be reached at (717) 250-7086 for speaking engagements.