Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 172

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

From being a man blessed of God, Samson becomes a man from whom the Lord departed. From seeing the power of the Lord coursing through him, Samson is now as impotent as any other man as the Philistines take him, put out his eyes, and bring him down to Gaza.

There is only pain, sorrow, loss, and hurt in rebellion. No good can come of forsaking God, no good can come of ignoring His commandments, and every man who has attempted to do so, has seen the folly of his way only when it was too late.

Belatedly, all those who take the grace of Christ for granted, and who take lightly what He did on the cross come to realize the foolishness of their way. One day, as we stand before He who was, and is, and always shall be, even the most ardent of atheists will know He lives. They will look upon the One they mocked, and ridiculed, the one they denied and blasphemed, but they will not be able to remedy their rebellion, nor will they have another occasion to repent of their lawlessness.

Tragic as the unfolding of Samson’s life may seem to us, in the end, he did have an opportunity for repentance. He did have an opportunity to cry out to God, something that many simply don’t get as they put off having a relationship with God until it’s too late.

There is no doubt in that Samson dealt treacherously with God, and as such he was ashamed, and brought low.

When we compare Samson’s actions and David’s actions in regards to one’s enemies, we see the difference in temperament as well as approach. While Samson trusted in himself, and went to confront the Philistines on his own, thinking it would be as before, David waits on the Lord to deal with his enemies.

Psalm 25:1-3, “To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.”

Even with the extent of Samson’s fall from grace, even with the Lord having departed from him, God still extended grace to him, attempting to remind him of all he’d lost, and bring him back to a state of repentance.

God was attempting to wake Samson up through his imprisonment and the taking of his eyesight, so he might remember from whence he had fallen. During an individual’s descent into rebellion it is very difficult for them to see from whence they fell. Their entire focus and purpose is to descend ever deeper, until they reach the bottom. Once they’ve reached the bottom, they can retrace their steps, look back up, and see just how far into the pit they’d descended.

Samson had reached the bottom. The Philistines had already taken his dignity, they’d already taken his pride, they had shaved his head and put out his eyes, and the only thing left to do, that would be as a mercy to Samson, was to take his life.

It was at this low point, at the absolute bottom, that God once more tries to awaken him to the reality of his rebellion, disobedience, and transgression in the hope that he might repent.

If we don’t make time for God in our freedom, the situation will most likely arise when God will be all we have time for. Whether in a Philistine cell, or in the belly of a fish, God finds ways of humbling us, and bringing our focus back on Him.

Up until the moment he got swallowed by the fish, Jonah was busy doing other things, like running away from God. In the belly of the fish however, Jonah wasn’t distracted by other things, he wasn’t trying to hatch other plans, or find an escape route, so from the depths, he cried out to God, and God heard him.

Why must it take prison, or the belly of a fish for some to cry out to God?

It is easier to live in obedience of God, than suffer the consequences of rebellion. It is easier to maintain a relationship with God during the good times, than grope about for Him in our desperation. When we maintain relationship with God we know where He is, and He knows where we are at all times. Not a second will go by wherein He will not be standing beside us, guiding us, keeping us, and protecting us.

When we allow distractions to dictate our actions, when we allow rebellion to take root in our heart, when we disobey God even though we know better, then God will depart seeing as He is not wanted, and being the gentleman that He is, God doesn’t stay where He isn’t welcome.

Anything we place before God in our hearts is an idol, and God will not abide it. If God and He alone is not on the throne of the heart, then whatever else is there – whether our possessions, our position, our spouse, or our children – is our surrogate God.

Often times, if we are honest with ourselves, we will be stunned to discover the self, sitting merrily where only God should reside. The pride of flesh is a tricky enemy, one who knows our weaknesses and exploits them with every opportunity. If we allow ourselves to be swayed by the honey pride pours into our ear, we will find ourselves facing our enemy alone, for God has long departed.

When we keep God in our hearts, when we live in obedience of Him, and in remembrance of what Jesus did, then we will not run the risk of allowing idols to invade our heart, nor will we willfully usurp His throne and give it to another.

In all things, the preeminence of God must be evident and visible, and then all will know we are His children, and He is our Father.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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