Day 76: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 76: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

We are transitioning to another Biblical figure – Samson.  He was an unbeatable strongman who had an Achilles heel.  We’ll learn important Biblical truths by studying his life, truths we can use for our spiritual health.

Samson’s story is a classic.  He was real, not fictitious. After Moses and Joshua had died, Israel did not yet have kings, so men called Judges became the leaders of the nation. They often vied for power and many were unethical and immoral.  Then Israel became complacent, losing their distinctives as a holy people: And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. (Jdg. 2:11). There’s a cringe factor here.

Israel’s decline came because they marginalized ‘knowing’ God.  He was only a myth or fairy tale to the nation: there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. (Jdg. 2:10). This verse indicates, the people did not yearn to know the Lord. The result? And they provoked the LORD to anger. (Jdg. 2:12).  Dismissing the Lord was a poor choice.  Don’t try it.  It doesn’t work.

Often the Lord will let persons or nations experience the consequences of their choices, allowing the crushing results becoming the lesson for their decisions. Israel’s neighbors became their enemies, dominating and persecuting them. Things got so bad Israel prayed to the Lord for help, and he delivered them through a Judge. Then the people became fickle, and the entire process would repeat.  This cycle was a grinding lesson the Lord allowed for persons and nations to reconfigure their spiritual priorities.

If people don’t break the cycle with sincere passion for the Lord, their own choices become their own judgment.  Paul points this out in the New Testament – an age-old principle. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Rom. 1:21)

The result? Three times, Paul says: God gave them up: vv. 24, 26, 28.  The Lord let them experience the consequences of their choices. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done (Rom. 1:28).  Moral decay in a population affects everyone, no one escapes that impact on their lives.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (Rom. 1:29-31).  Sounds like our present day.

Here’s the kicker: Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Rom. 1:32).  A whole lot of ‘atta-boys,’ and ‘good-for-you’ going on.

This was the pattern of life at the time of Samson, and modernity.  Thus, Samson lived in a challenging time of social discord and moral decline. He was not immune to the culture.  Thus, the first phrase about him in the Bible is telling.  His introduction…

Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. (Jdg. 14:1).  Samson was travelling in enemy territory and saw a fabulously attractive woman. The word ‘saw’ means to inspect, to consider.  This was not a mere glimpse, this was ‘eye-candy’ and Samson let the philosophy of the time impact him.

Samson’s bio-chemical system sent raging hormones through his body and he became captive to his passions: But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (James 1:14); Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11).  Passions are real, for sure.

Samson’s mission in life was: “…he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” (Jdg. 13:5).  God’s call for Samson was to be a liberator, from oppressors.

Will Samson curb his sexual interest?  His first decision was the opposite of the Lord’s intention.  Samson was attracted to a Philistine woman and began making plans to marry her!  Isn’t he supposed to liberate Israel from the Philistines? Yet he’s going to bond with them?!  His special call was put aside for the sake of his sexual desires.  Self-absorption superseded God’s will for his life.  This is not uncommon. Many of us have done this.

Samson was so focused on this unnamed woman, he demanded his parents: “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” (Jdg. 14:2).  They protested, and he responded without respect or maturity: But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.” (Jdg. 14:3).  Whoa! Samson’s raging hormones flattened his dad and trumped godly wisdom.  Super-hero?  Nope.

He follows-up with this woman, he and his parents went to Timnah to meet her: Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson’s eyes. (Jdg. 14:7).  The word ‘right’ does not mean she was morally pure, or spiritually sensitive, rather she looked good!  Aren’t you glad you’re not like him?

Well for a man whose charted course was a mission to: ‘save Israel from the hand of the Philistines…’ this was hardly an auspicious beginning.  Samson was making nice with the enemy, rather than challenging them.  Will Samson minimize his desires and obey the Lord, or minimize his call and maximize his desire?  He chooses sexual desires.

Yet Samson is noted for his faith in Hebrews 11: And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets– (Heb. 11:32).  He’s listed with giants of faith like David and Samuel!

His spiritual maturity took a nose-dive, into the pit of ignobility.  He was quite a champion, but a lousy hero.  Yet God never gave up on him.  That’s good news for people with terrible histories.  God doesn’t throw us in a trash bin.  The Lord had a mission for his life, a greater good for the people of Israel.  Samson was God’s instrument.  Will God or will Samson control the events?  The same is true for you.  God’s got a plan, and you are part of it.  If you dismiss his program is the Lord going change his program or change you?

We all know the answer.  Samson defies God – and his story gets worse.  Stay tuned.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Too often I am controlled by my passions.  Father imbue me with the power of the Holy Spirit, so as he ministers to me, I’m enabled to make choices that will please you.  Let my motivation be blessing you Lord.  I want to give you the gift of my obedience. Receive my adoration — it is my delight to honor.  I want my will to partner with your power for your glory.  Yet, like Samson, enticements bombard me, and my urgency shield weakens, then cracks.  The shame after I fail grieves me.

But with your kindness, even when I fall, you don’t turn away from me.  You kindly pick me up, look in my eyes and assure me that: for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5).  Repeated failures are still there, but their frequency has diminished by your goodness to me: He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Ps. 23:3).  Increase my fervor for purity, increase my delight in you, increase my passion for holiness, Lord.  Without you helping me, walking with me, encouraging me, I falter.  I do not want to cause you hurt, Father.  Continue to bless me, so I can bless you.  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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