Everyone says that this year is going to be a game changer. There are many possibilities what will happen to each of us and in particular to our country. Looking not at the past, but what lays ahead, we must surely understand the need for strength. In fact, we need to ask where great strength lies to face the future.
Helping us to answer that question, go back to the book of Judges 16:4,5. This is the story of a man who had great physical strength. He is also an example of how we might have great emotional and spiritual strength for what is in the unknown future of this year.
The glamour of the Samson story can hide significant lessons. The obvious events of his life include the wiles of a beautiful woman, plus treachery, deceit, lies, and bribery. Samson’s own enemies made a powerful observation about him. They asked, “Where does his great strength lie?”
In comparing ourselves to Samson, not by bicep but by precept, the question remains valid. In this narrative we can discover that strength comes from our identity, character, convictions, and how we allow God to use us. How God will influence us in our daily lives.
Look closer to see what he was. He was a Nazirite unto God. He lived under specific vows to God. Do you understand that you are a creation of God? With this understanding there can be a significant result on your attitude and actions. That is why the Bible asked you to declare your faith as a penitent Christian, a believer that Jesus is the son of God, died for your sins, and rose from the dead.
Samson had a conscious awareness of his purpose which was to glorify the Almighty God. There were certain automatic expectations from his vow that made him different from other people. Yes, we can say he was narcissistic, selfish, and probably immature. Nonetheless, he was the man that was chosen by God to be the judge over Israel.
So then what did Sampson believe? Let us agree that our spiritual experiences are not with a test-tube god. He was a man that was moved by the Holy Spirit. He was a man that sought occasion against God’s enemies. Others were willing to accept any explanation for the source of strength, but a true believer has only one explanation where is the source of strength.
Whether it be someone from the Old Testament or us, we are surrounded by the “faith” question. For many people there is every reason not to have faith. To other people there is every reason to have faith. It is like accepting any explanation without a reward, but the reward is only by excepting one explanation.
What happened when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him? Verse twenty says that he shook himself. For us that means to think differently, to become different. Verse twenty-eight says that he asked God to remember him knowing that he had a relationship with God and would continue to have one. Verse thirty says that he bowed himself because there are times when circumstances are difficult. Even so, we must submit to God. By doing these things he gained the final victory. So shall we.
As we look toward this year, our strength is not from military, political, social experiences, or even religious affiliations. Someone once observed of me that I must be a religious person. My reply was that I am not a religious person and do not like religion. Instead, my only concern is a relationship with Jesus Christ. My goal is to please him and be used by him. We easily can make the mistake to seek natural joys while Sampson did not. He never drank alcohol. He had uncut hair which was an example of his eval for seeking God’s approval.
As we go through this year, we will find ourselves surrounded by apostasy, doubt by others. But that is the very reason that we should have faith. Samson knew specifically what he believed. Can you do that, not quoting a preacher or the litany of the church. I once asked a man if he read the Bible. He replied that he had no need because that was what his priest was for. What do you believe? How has the Holy Spirit worked on your life?
Are you willing to shake yourself so that you can review the values of life and give them up in favor of what God offers? Are you willing to bow with all the might that you have before God? That may seem more difficult for some people than others. In the long run we must submit to him while turning away from our own pride.
Marching into these next twelve months, we must be something, believe something, do something!