“And Delilah said to Samson, ‘Tell me, I pray you, wherein your great strength lies’. . .”

Judges 16:6a

Until we know its Source, we’ll tend to use our own; then once known, we must daily rely upon it lest we lose it.

Strength and weakness.

They’re ever-present in every part of our lives, whether it be physical ability, mental agility, emotional stability or spiritual sufficiency.  And, today’s Manna reminds us of the importance of guarding our spiritual strength and the danger of toying with sin.

Samson, whose name means “distinguished,” was the last of the “judges” or military leaders of Israel and led his nation for around 20 years.  He lived during one of the darkest times in Israel, for they’d fallen into lawlessness and faithlessness after Joshua’s death.   The anonymous author of Judges described it this way:  “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (17:6).

Thus, there was a need for a hero or “champion of faith” to help draw God’s People back to Him.  And, the Lord raised up Samson to be that one because of the prayers and faithfulness of his Godly parents (13:1-25).

Yet, Samson—who was to be “a Nazarite unto God from the womb and not cut his hair, drink no strong drink or eat any unclean food” (13:5-7)—soon gave evidence of mistaking God’s strength for his own and acting in rash ways (14:1-15:20).  And, as we know from the familiar story of his relationship with Delilah, the ‘ole adage of “You play with fire you’re likely to get burned” was quite true in Samson’s case.

Her question to him is one with which we all must grapple:  “Wherein does your strength lie?”  In her case, the question was a loaded one—for she wanted to know his “secret” so he could “be bound and afflicted” (16:6b).  And, after three failed attempts, the seductive temptress employed all of her womanly ways. . .including daily crocodile tears and feigned heartache (vv.15-16). . .to finally break his “consecration code.”

How sad to see what happened from there (vv.17-31).  After lulling him to sleep on her knees and having his seven locks of hair cut off, “SHE began to afflict him and his strength went from him” (v.19).  Even then “he arose out of his sleep and said ‘I will go out as at other times before and shake myself’—but he knew not that the Lord was departed from him” (v.20).

Oh, dear Pilgrim, is not this one of the saddest stories you’ve ever heard?

And, are not the two things related—i.e., the “Presence of the Lord” and Samson’s supernatural strength?

Assuredly they are.  His strength was not in the length of his hair; it was in the depth of his reliance on the Lord.  Love and obedience always travel together.  And, so do spiritual strength and surrender.  May the Holy Spirit use the sobering story of Samson to remind us from Whom our strength comes and the importance of our total dependence on Him each day.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 5, 2010

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