Today’s reading: Judg 13:1–14:20, Phil 3:12–4:1, Ps 69:1–17
Today’s theme: Live in honour of your calling
Today we learn lessons from the life of Samson, he dishonoured his calling and the word of God. Instead, we should join Paul and all saints straining and pressing forward together to get the prize for which we have been called.
Be sensitive to God’s word
And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. Judges 13:12–13 (ESV)
The fact that Manoah and his wife have to be reminded that no unclean thing should be eaten, is an indicator of where Israel is as a people at this time. They have forgotten the law of God and seem apathetic towards God and their oppression, there is also no record at this point that the people repented or cried out to God.
Manoah here also seeks personal verification from God, not trusting the word already spoken, the truth already revealed. God just repeats what has already been said and denies Manaoah his desire for the secret knowledge of knowing a special name for God. Manoah is called to simply trust God’s word.
We must guard against this type of apathy in our lives also. Are we sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit? Do we demand additional personal verifications from God because we do not trust in His word? Are we in compromise with the world, which dulls our spiritual senses? We must not allow ourselves to become desensitised to God or His word. See Matthew 22:1–14
The Trinity in the OT
And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” Judges 13:22 (ESV)
This is the second Theophanie (old testament appearance of Jesus Christ), concerning the birth of Samson.
This is further Old testament proof of the Trinity. Some say that the trinity is a new testament or even just a church concept, but this is not true. We see God the father (Yahweh), the Angel of the Lord who receives worship as God (the pre incarnated Christ, The Word) and the Spirit of God (The Holy Spirit), in the old testament testifying to God’ s nature as a triune being, one God in three distinct persons.
The old testament Theophanie records serve as a great tool to help those who do not believe in the trinity and the divinity of Jesus, especially our unsaved Jewish friends. See Acts 18:28
God WILL accomplish His purposes
His father and mother did not know that it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel. Judges 14:4 (ESV)
God remained in sovereign control even through the self seeking desires of the lust driven Samson.
God is gracious, He has given Samson special gifts and set him apart, He has a purpose for his life, to begin to deliver the Children of Israel. Samson begins to squander this special calling from God, by following his own desires and disrespecting the authority of his parents.
Even if Samson will not live for God, God determines to use his sinful lifestyle to accomplish His purposes, in His grace. God has given us gifts, abilities, and a calling, He has a purpose for our lives as believers also. We should desire to be used positivity by God and not have the testimony that God used our sinfulness to accomplish His purposes.
Let us avoid a lethargic and selfish attitude toward God and His purposes, let us honour Him in all we do, as we fulfil our calling. See Ephesians 4:1
He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion. Judges 14:9 (ESV)
Samson was breaking both the Nazzarite vow and the Law of Moses, by eating from this dead carcass. He defiles his parents by letting them eat of it too. This highlights Samson’s main problem; a disregard for the word of God, disobedience, doing what seems right in his own eyes and being driven by lust and revenge.
In today’s society we are persuaded to live by “Samson’s Law”. We are encouraged to do whatever we feel like doing, get whatever we want and to live for our own desires. As Christians we are called to humble service and self sacrifice, we should not live after the dictates of our own lusts and desires, but live as witnesses and servants of God. See James 4:1-3
Pressing forward together
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, Philippians 3:12–13 (ESV)
We are not called to apathy or lethargy, we are called to constant straining and pressing forward, we are called not just to run but to run for the prize, running with the reward in mind.
Paul tells us that as we press on in this upward call, we will need each other, we will need to keep our eyes on those who are living in honour of their calling and follow their example. So the image is not of one man straining forward on his own, but an entire community of believers pressing forward together.
The Christian life takes conscious effort and perseverance. We are called to persevere knowing that one day our bodies will be transformed at the glorious resurrection. This is the great prize; to have Christ forever in fellowship in our resurrected eternal bodies.
Live in honour of your calling
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. Psalm 69:6 (ESV)
As we read today’s passage regarding Samson, we must not live our lives in a way that dishonors God and brings shame to His people. We should live in honour and in light of our calling.
Zeal for God
For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me. Psalm 69:9 (ESV)
This prophetically points forward to Jesus but we should also have zeal for God too.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Philippians 3