Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 171

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

Judges 16:20, “And she said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ So he awoke from his sleep, and said, ‘I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!’ But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.”

After all he had done, Samson still assumed the Lord would still be with him. One of the reasons we must continually bring to remembrance all that Jesus has done for us, is so it remains fresh on our minds, and constant in our awareness. We can never perceive what Jesus did on the cross as something usual or ordinary, because once we do, we begin to take His presence in our lives for granted, and assume as Samson did, that He will always be with us regardless of what we do.

Although Samson knew he had been consecrated to God, and knew God had endowed him with special power, what he lost sight of along the way is that God can take away just as readily as He gives.

Rather than have the understanding of Job, and say ‘the Lord gives and the Lord takes away,’ many today have presumed, without any Biblical foundation, that the Lord simply gives, and gives, without ever taking away, no matter the reason or cause.

The Lord not only gives, the Lord also takes away. When we are not faithful in the little we’ve been given, He takes it away and gives it to another who will be.

‘What about the gifts of God being without repentance? How can God depart from one such as Samson in one breath, and then say His gifts are without repentance?’

In order to understand how both can be true, we must understand what the word repentance means. Repentance means regret, sorrow, or remorse, and yes, the gifts of God are without repentance. He is not sorry for having called or gifted someone; He does not feel sorrow or remorse for having endowed an individual with special gifting. By the same token, He cannot allow His gifting to reside in a heart that has willingly given itself over to rebellion and lawlessness. If this was the case, then He would not be the righteous, holy God, before whom nothing wicked or defiled can stand.

Without repentance does not mean irrevocable, it just means God is not sorry for having done it!

Samson is not the only individual from whom the Lord departed in the Bible. Saul, the first king of Israel, also had the Spirit of the Lord depart from him, and the Spirit of the Lord was replaced by a distressing spirit which troubled him.

Both Samson and Saul disobeyed and rebelled against the commands of the Lord, and as consequence of their disobedience the Lord departed from them.

What could be more horrible than thinking the Lord is with you, when in fact He has long departed?

I cringe when I counsel individuals, and their excuse for not repenting and continuing in their habitual sin is that they feel the Lord is still with them. Samson felt the Lord was still with him, until he discovered otherwise.

You cannot live in sin, circumvent repentance, speak, live, act, and do as the world does, and expect the Lord to be with you. In many a life, the Lord has long departed, and they haven’t even noticed.

2 Chronicles 15:1-2, “Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: ‘Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.’”

The Spirit of the Lord had come upon Azariah, and what he was doing, was prophesying, speaking a message from God to Asa, all of Judah, and Benjamin. The message was simple, straightforward, and highly controversial in our day and age.

‘The Lord is with you while you are with Him.’

‘But that can’t be…nope, don’t believe it. I raised my hand in church, and the pastor said I didn’t have to do anything whatsoever after that, ‘cause if I tried to live different than before it would be works and stuff.’

Although a large percentage of the church today might discount the scripture passages that speak of striving to enter through the narrow gate, repentance, holiness unto God, and other unpopular and circumvented doctrines of the faith, they are, nevertheless, still in the Book, a perpetual thorn in the side of those who insist that raising a limp wristed hand in a church service gets us a one way ticket to Paradise.

‘If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.’

Tragically, the church has long distanced itself from the notion of reciprocity when it comes to a relationship with God. For the past few decades we have been taught that God will essentially kidnap us, and force us to love Him, even if our hearts continue to be in a state of rebellion, and we consistently choose to ignore His word. Love is reciprocal, and reciprocity is essential in any relationship. Yes, He first loved us. This He proved on the cross beyond doubt, but we must also love Him if we desire a relationship with Him.

If we seek Him, He will be found. He is with us while we are with Him, but if we forsake Him, He will forsake us.

Samson forsook God, and God departed from Samson. After giving Samson multiple opportunities to repent, after allowing him to see the error of his way in the hopes that he would return to the path for which he had been consecrated, the Lord departed, and Samson lost his strength.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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