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Monday, September 24, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 173

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

There are moments in our life when God attempts to awaken us. He sees us beginning to stray, He sees us beginning to subvert His authority, He sees us beginning to give our heart over to another, and in His love and mercy He stirs us in the hope of awakening us.

It was in Samson’s isolation and suffering that God attempted to awaken him. Lest we forget, Samson had his eyes put out, and it wasn’t in an operating room, or with anesthesia. Samson was now a regular, everyday human being, and the Philistines put out his eyes. Whether with a sword, a knife or a stick we don’t know, but what we can be certain of is that Samson was suffering.

His dignity was likewise taken from him as this once feared man, this judge of the people of Israel was now made to be a grinder in a prison.

Samson’s days and nights were now restricted to contemplating how far he’d fallen, sitting in a prison cell, and grinding at the mill like an ox, or a beast of burden.

God would never make us grind at the mill, but the enemy surely would. When we abandon God, and forsake Him thinking the grass is greener on the other side, it’s only a matter of time before we realize how much we took for granted while working for God.

God is not a cruel taskmaster, but the devil is, and Samson was finding this out firsthand.

It was here, when all hope had abandoned him, when what he had once been was a long ago memory that Samson begins to cry out to God.

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!’”

God hears when we call out to Him. Possessing this knowledge, knowing with certain that He hears when we cry out, is one of the most comforting things for us as children of God. God is never busy, He is never out of reach, and He is never distracted by something else. Whenever you call on Him, He will hear.

Samson called out to God in the midst of his despair. Here he was, once great, now made to perform for the Philistines, who gave the credit for Samson’s capture to their god Dagon.

This once proud man, this man for whom nothing seemed impossible, now humbles himself, he capitulates, and realizes he can’t do it on his own. Samson became aware of his own impotence, and in humility cried out to God to strengthen Him once more.

Samson is one of those biblical figures we can all relate to in greater or lesser fashion, because there are times in everyone’s life when we fail to pray and call out to God until we come to the end of our rope, and have no one left to turn to.

Up until this moment in his life, where Samson found himself a prisoner, blinded and mocked, he did not employ prayer as he ought to have. He did not pray and ask of God whether to marry the Philistine, or whether he should go to Delilah, he did not enquire of God whether he should trust her or share his secret with her, but now, his eyes were finally opened even though they had been put out, and Samson cried out to God.

Samson was wise enough not to attempt to blame God for his predicament. He did not ask God why He had allowed him to come to this, or why God had not saved him from the hand of the Philistines. Samson was well aware he had done this to himself, by his rebellion, disobedience, and discounting of the calling to which he had been called.

Many a time, we get ourselves into situations solely of our own doing, then turn around and blame God for having allowed us to. It wasn’t God’s fault Samson was now without sight, bound and powerless. It was entirely Samson’s doing.

God counsels us, He shows us the way, but we must go in the way He shows us. If we set out on our own path, following our own heart, listening to the voice of another rather than God, then we cannot blame Him when we come to ruination.

‘Strengthen me, this once,’ was Samson’s cry. When he had strength in abundance, he took it for granted, abused it, and used it unwisely, but now, seeing himself powerless, Samson cries out to God for the strength he once had.

Judges 16:30, “Then Samson said, ‘let me die with the Philistines!’ And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.”

Thus ends the life of this man known as Samson, a man of contradictions, shortcomings and repeated failures.

Perhaps in eternity we will be able to unravel the mystery of this man’s life, and understand when forgiveness was granted him, since he is counted among the heroes of the faith long after his passing.

Some things are difficult to understand, and in those moments when human reason is not enough, we must trust in the wisdom of God, and realize He knows best.

Samson prayed that he might die with the Philistines, and though it was a tragic and destructive prayer, though it was a prayer of vengeance, God answered it and restored his strength. Because his strength was restored, Samson was able to carry out what he’d purposed in his heart, and those he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.

May we learn from the life of Samson, and not wait as he did until the final moments to cry out to God. May we learn from the mistakes of others, and not repeat them ourselves, seeing the aftereffects of their disobedience and rebellion as object lessons and teachable moments.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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