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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 168

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Samson continued...

Judges 16:28, “Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, ‘O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!’”

Minutes after uttering this prayer, Samson would be dead, along with three thousand Philistines. Samson knew his time was at hand…of this he had no doubt. Yet, there was no prayer for forgiveness in regards to the Philistines and what they had done, but rather a prayer of vengeance, for God to remember him, and strengthen him once more that he might deal justly with the Philistines for his two eyes.

Having the distinct honor of never whitewashing individuals, or airbrushing their wrinkles, the word of God presents Samson to us in his true light, revealing his unequaled strength, and speaking of his exploits, but also revealing his weaknesses, and what his weaknesses led him to.

Samson was a man of controversial character. Although he is lauded by many, even admired by some, he continues to be misunderstood to this day.

One thing is certain; Samson was chosen of God and destined for a great plan.

Seeing as this is the case, and it is irrefutable that God chose Samson and destined him, the question which begs to be asked, is: did God fail? Did God make a mistake in choosing Samson as judge?

No, God did not fail. No, God did not make a mistake, because God does not make mistakes. There was, however, the element of human choice in this entire scenario, and though God might have a plan, though God might choose an individual for a specific task and purpose, the individual can still stray, the individual can still refuse God, becoming disobedient and even rebellious to the voice and unction of the Lord.

We are not automatons. We are not preprogrammed robots who have no choice in whether or not we obey, serve, or fulfill our duties before God. We have choice, and will, and God would have it no other way, for His desire is that we serve out of love, not because He compelled us or forced us to do it.

The next time you hear another individual say that man has no say in whether or not he serves God, and or that man is utterly incapable of choosing between right or wrong, point him to Samson, to what the angel of the Lord had testified of him and his life before he was even born, and then to the life he lived, more in rebellion of God than in obedience of Him.

God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. He has a calling to which He has called us as individuals, but whether we walk in our calling, or obey the unction of the Lord is entirely up to us.

Yes, I know the notion of personal accountability is a bitter pill for many. We would rather believe we have no choice in whether we follow after Christ or not, than believe we are accountable for our choices, and that our rebellion toward Him was a choice on our part.

When we come to believe we are not accountable for any of the choices we make because our existence has already been predestined and no matter what we do we cannot follow after Christ if it was not so foreordained, then when we stumble, fall, and don’t get up again, we just shrug our shoulders and think to ourselves that perhaps we were not among the chosen to begin with.

Believing that man can no more accept or reject God on his own than he could reconfigure the stars in the heavens, takes away from man’s personal responsibility and accountability toward God. Grace is offered freely; man must receive it.

Samson was supposed to begin delivering Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and he ended up being delivered into the hands of the Philistines who made sport of him.

God’s plan for Samson was different than the outcome of his existence, but Samson chose rebellion rather than obedience with consistency, and drew further away from God with each subsequent act of rebellion.

Destined for greatness, destined to be the instrument of God’s salvation in regards to His people, Samson ends up dying along with the lawless, the Philistines, those who served other gods and worshiped idols.

Samson did not start out as rebellious. He did not start out doing that which God had commanded him not to do. His descent, as most descents are, was gradual, and one thing led to another until Samson surrendered his heart to sin.

Samson began as one blessed of God. He ended up as one whom the Philistines mocked and ridiculed.

Judges 13:24, “So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.”

Samson wasn’t blessed in the temple, by a preacher, by a priest, or by a pastor. The Lord blessed Samson, and the Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him. From early youth, Samson had everything going for him. He enjoyed every benefit one can enjoy from the hand of God, from being blessed of the Lord, to having the Spirit of the Lord move upon him. Yet, something happened along the way, and the man Samson became, and the man he was supposed to have been were two very different individuals.

We realize Samson was special, because of certain things highlighted in his biography. One of the most telling signs that Samson was special is that the Spirit of the Lord moved upon him.

Since Pentecost the Spirit of the Lord moves upon all the servants of the Lord. Before Pentecost it was not so. In the days of old, during the time of Samson, and up until the advent of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord moved only upon those with a special calling, or those called to a higher calling.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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