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.”
“…And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.”
I believe that is one of the saddest statements in the Bible.
To have known the presence of God and be used to do the things Sampson was able to do makes it difficult to see his fall from where God placed him. He made terrible choices. He was brash, arrogant, and immoral. Yet, God still used him. We see early on what God’s intention was for Sampson.
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.”
It wasn’t until he had lost everything that he realized his purpose and the One who gave him the power and influence with which to accomplish it.
In our day, we are labeled a fanatic if we express our love for God, witness for Him, and live as would please the Savior. Is there anything more fanatical than those who go shirtless in freezing weather to cheer on their favorite sports team, or strap themselves with bombs to destroy their enemy to please their false god?
Knowing I am a saved child of God has assured me much of the unsaved world cannot comprehend. I am an ordained minister of the gospel. I am called, by God, to the ministry in which I now serve. His power and presence in my life have sustained me through many a dark time.
Today, I asked myself when the last time I felt His very near presence was? If you are a regular reader of Daily Manna, you have felt that very same presence in some of the blogs God has allowed me to write.
But that’s not all. I have felt His presence when witnessing to a person on their doorstep, in their living room, on a street corner, or in my workplace. I have felt His leading when preaching and teaching the beautiful truths of His Word.
Lest you think too highly of me, nor me of myself, I have had times of being distant from God, numbness, apathy, and spiritual drought. I risk my reputation with my transparency, but I believe that we are far more alike in what we experience that what we would like to let on.
In sharing this, I hope to shorten the times when we are away from God.
Keep short accounts with God.
This is a statement on of my mentors, Steve Curington, taught me. He said the time from when we first sin to the time we get right should be as short as possible. Sometimes the sin is pleasurable. Other times, we justify our behavior and continue.
David’s sin with Bathsheba wasn’t dealt with adequately until almost eighteen months later. He tried to lie. He tried to cover his sin. In the end, he became a liar and a murderer.
David didn’t keep short accounts regarding this matter.
Psalm 51 reveals to us what is real repentance. David shows his heart to us as he comes to himself and acknowledges his sin before God.
Because of his sin, he did not have peace. He did not have joy. He did not hear God’s voice, nor did he write many songs or Psalms during this time.
Our enemy is so very subtle. He will slip in, seemingly undetected, and set up shop. Unless we are diligent in keeping our heart with all diligence, we will drift and soon be farther away than we had ever intended.
By the time we realize our distance, we are likely to have been placed in the bonds of some sin. At the time when Sampson needed to depend on God for strength, God had departed long before that moment.
As a saved child of God we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. It was the promise Christ left us when He went to be with the Father after the resurrection. It is not my salvation lost when a child of God sins; it is the close fellowship that is lost. It is the usability for the cause of Christ that falls by the wayside.
Many a preacher, teacher, and child of God has succumbed to the allurement of one sin or another. What we do after we sin matters.
No doubt, Sampson felt the brunt of his shame and regret after having his head shorn, then, being captured by the Philistines, and having his eyes plucked out.
Had he done nothing, he would have faded into obscurity.
But Sampson remembered where his strength came from and Who it was that gave it to him. He offered his body a living sacrifice to atone for his sin, believing that God could and would do what He pleased.
What of us today?
Are we doing more than when we were first saved?
Are we closer to God now than before?
Can we testify of recently answered prayers?
Can we relate the account of God using us this week?
If not, why not?
It is one thing to lament over something lost. It is wholly another to do what it takes to restore it.
Living in the light of His presence is worth whatever the cost to arrive at the place of a close, personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Do not tarry, my brother or sister.