Judges 16:20 “And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.”
How well do you really know someone? Most of the people close by, know about us; but that inner person… that one that only you and God know.. How well are they known to others?
I’m speaking here of transparency, honesty and true meaningful relationships. Of all relationships, the most important to all is the one we hold with God.
Samson was used mightily of God to deliver the Israelites from bondage. Yet, there is something to be gleaned from this account. God, who is Sovereign, said in the beginning of the introduction we are given to Samson that:
Judges 13:5 “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
As we follow Samson’s journey, we see his choices, his arrogance, his boldness and his humanity. I cannot imagine having such a gift and such power as Samson did. To kill lion with your bare hands; to take on a thousand men with only a bone as your weapon. He did some fantastical and miraculous things.
Yet, when we come to this passage today, sadness overcomes me.
“…And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.”
The people that are closest to me are missed deeply when we are apart. My wife, my children, my grandchildren, my Preacher, the men of the Faithmen quartet, the people in my ministry and my church all have a very special place in my heart. But none of these could or should compare to the depth, the breadth, the height of my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
To converse on a level of acceptance that I can share and talk about even the idle things that cross my mind is something I do not do with just anyone. The ‘real’ me is fully exposed to God – whether I acknowledge it or not. I have found that once I do, my prayer life has taken on a whole new level. I can discuss feelings about things and people I wouldn’t dare bring up in conversation with others.
Yet, I have a bond with my Father because I am speaking to the One who created me, fashioned me, gifted me and gave me talents to serve Him. I talk of what purpose I have with Him and just how to accomplish just what He has in store for today.
So, to hear of Samson and he did not even know that the God of Heaven had left Him speaks volumes as to the closeness He shared or more clearly, the lack thereof. I will be very honest and transparent with you – I know that there have been times when I have stepped in front of God’s people to teach and preach without the power of God on my life. I have sang when I was not right in my heart and the fruit of those times revealed to me that I cannot do what He asks in my own power and strength.
But I have also known the sweetness of the Holy Spirit as He settled on my ministry, my teaching, my preaching and my singing to the place where I am in awe of just what He can do when I am surrendered and obedient to His leading.
We forsake prayer so quickly and so effortlessly that the time gaps are staggering. The closest of relationships that you and I share could not sustain such vacancy. Yet, we leave off talking with the Author and Finisher of our faith. We fail to acknowledge even the simplest of provisions God makes for us – safety while we slept, protection when we never asked for it and we forget to thank Him for all that He has done and continues to do in our lives.
Even now, I am under conviction for the lack of gratitude I show for even the simplest tasks like reaching my workplace safely without accident or incident; or the fact that I even have a job.
I truly must go now, but I hope that this devotion has helped to recognize the need for a deeper, close and more personal relationship with the Father. I will leave you with this thought:
Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”