Sampson has served as judge over the Israelites 20 years.
And his exploits among the Philistines have caused him much distress.
For he continually is drawn toward the love of their women,
but the men despise him, wanting nothing more than revenge.
And now he has fallen tragically in love with Delilah.
And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her,
“Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies,
and by what means we may overpower him,
that we may bind him to afflict him;
and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”
Judges 16:4 NKJV
And there are five lords who have come, not to kill Sampson...
for to that purpose, Delilah may not consider.
But this, a more subtle approach they take...
offering a reward to her for subtle charms.
This to her, seems a challenge for the taking.
And isn't this trickery hard to watch... to read.
We can almost see it unfold as the verses detail Sampson
taking the bait over, and over, and over again.
What incantation this woman must have cast over him.
What spell she must have woven to wrap him up...
that he would give in, to tell her all of his heart.
Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.
...But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.
he was afflicted...
he was bound...
he was overpowered...
And for a time, it seemed Sampson had lost...
for a time.
And we too face these low places in our lives...
bowed down and depressed.
Sometimes feeling imprisoned and overpowered...
round and round, grinding away,
like Sampson, blinded as to our purpose.
And it's our enemy, the devil, that acts much like these five lords.
For when he sees us making any progress...
we become as a threat to him.
And he will begin to entice us, so as to find our strength...
and look for a way to overpower us,
in order that he may bind us and afflict us,
keeping us from living a life of power and victory.
But the devil doesn't send in men
with fresh bowstrings,
new ropes, nor
looms in which to weave our hair.
Rather he sends in thoughts that say,
You're not smart enough to do that.
There's not enough time to finish what you started.
Everyone else is just pretending to like you.
It will never work... so why try?
Or he complicates our day with needless hassles
that slow us down,
trying to get us to lose our cool...
a traffic jam,
a flat tire,
a bad hair day,
a lost cell phone,
the neighbor's dog barking... all night.
Lies, hassles, frustrations...
earthly circumstances are all that he can control.
But one thing our enemy cannot control... is our attitude.
He has no access to that spirit that gets up on the inside of us,
that takes a deep breath, counts to ten slowly,
even when that someone next to you is crunching ice...
and driving you so close to crazy,
that you barely finish your blog post... anyway!
You do not get to win today!
Because, just like Sampson, we get another chance.
Time to think it over...
the mistake we made,
the last time we gave in,
the fool we made of ourself yelling,
or losing our grip...
Rather let us listen to the encouragement of Paul...
May He grant you out of the riches of His glory,
to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power
through His Spirit in your inner self,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts
through your faith.
Ephesians 3:16-17 AMP
So the next time,
we will keep our cool,
call upon God,
brace ourselves like Sampson
and be strengthened by His Spirit
and energized by His power to
finish what we started
taking the enemy out of control.
Word of God...
train me, today...
to know when I am being enticed to give over my strength,
to not yield to those afflictions, but rather use my strengths for Your glory.
I thank you for teaching me,
even through my failures,
that You love me still.
Show me my strengths.
Help me to recognize
the traps that would entice me
to yield to weakness,
to cower to doubt,
to be blinded by pride.
Help me instead,
to take that needed breath,
and use my strengths
only and always for Your glory.
from my heart...
I write as an overflow... an expression of my true love for God and with a deep desire to encourage others in their day to day lives. For we can only find peace, joy, and satisfaction when we yield to the One who yielded His life for us.