"For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ ...for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you." (2 Peter 1:8, 10-11)
There are very subtle word pictures given throughout the Old Testament, which point to the coming Messiah that were fulfilled in the New Testament. For example, the angel of the Lord tells Manoah that his name is wonderful. The angel did wonders before Samson's parents, and when they started a fire to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, the angel rose to heaven amid the fire.
This word picture reveals the angel as the pre-incarnate Christ and the sacrifice he would become as offered on the altar of God. My dear readers, I do hope that you will see Jesus, His work and the person as the abundant life described in this post.
At the birth of Samson, a man chosen to be judge over Israel, his mother was told by the angel of the Lord, that he would be a Nazarite to God. One of the distinctive features about Samson as a Nazarite, and particularly pertinent to Samson's story is he was never to cut his hair. The source of his great strength was not his hair but his obedience to God's commands.
Samson had several weaknesses; a self-centered sense of his importance was primary. After he killed a thousand men with only the jaw bone of a donkey, and as you might imagine, he got thirsty. He responded to God in this way, "You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?" (Judges 15:18) Said another way, "Have I done this great thing for you, and is this how you treat me?" He also had a roaming eye for the ladies.
Samson judged Israel for twenty years, and we know nothing about his life during that time. He surfaces in the book of Hebrews chapter twelve and is numbered with the heroes of faith. We can assume that the majority of his leadership was good and without problems. He was a contemporary of the great prophet Samuel. He probably came first and never rose to the godly status of Samuel.
The story of Samson and Delilah is a famous one. All the Philistines could not capture or kill this man empowered by Almighty God. However, they used Delilah to find how to weaken him by cutting his hair. They gouged out his eyes and made him a laborer. In time his hair grew back.
Why a Christian Fails
In Ephesians 5:15-18, we are given insight into the way of power with God as Christians. "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit…"
From the preceding verses, we learn the following. The Christian that is not careful how he walks is vulnerable to the temptation to sin and may react inappropriately when tested by trials. As in Samson's case, when he became thirsty. It was this carelessness that led to his eventual downfall and failure.
Wisdom is the ability to take the facts we learn and determine how God would have us walk in the world. The person who walks according to God's design will know intimacy with Him and, consequently, His power for service.
My dear readers, the victories that Samson had at the beginning of his ministry were not because he was obedient but in spite of his wayward behavior. When Samson's parents questioned him about seeking a Philistine girl forbidden by the law, he said to them. "Get her for me, for she looks good to me." (Judges 14:3) Samson had an inordinate desire.
Nonetheless, God in His mercy desired to liberate His people from the bondage of the Philistines. Therefore, the scripture says, "However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines." The LORD was seeking an occasion; Samson was seeking a lady.
God is the Victor
God is always the victor, the best that His people can do is to walk in His victory. The pipe is merely the channel through which the water of life flows. At the end of his life, we learn that Samson called out to God one last time and said, "O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes." (Judges 16:28)
Samson's cry was of one wanting death. So he said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" (16:30) The most significant life arises from death. Jesus said it this way, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:24)
Samson's desire for death was tainted by vengeance over the loss of his eyes. Jesus's death was purer than the driven snow. Jesus died a sacrificial death with the pure motive of pleasing the Father and saving sinners who would and did seek His death. Our life arises from His death.
My dear readers, when we walk dying to this present world system and all that it offers, we receive power from God, the ability to change internally.
The most significant victory for Samson occurred at his death. "So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life." (16:30c) Dear believer, live for this present world, its approval, according to its philosophy and by your human effort, and the eternal life of God will not be produced in you abundantly.
Die to self-interests, the applause of men, a sense of your goodness, and you will experience the life of God in abundance. The victor's crown is offered at the foot of the cross.
THE ENTRANCE FEE TO HEAVEN IS WITHOUT PRICE
THE YEARLY DUES WILL COST YOU EVERYTHING