Wisely Making Choices

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Judges 13:24-25 (NIV)
The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Judges 13:24-25 (MSG)
The woman gave birth to a son. They named him Samson. The boy grew and God blessed him. The Spirit of God began working in him while he was staying at a Danite camp between Zorah and Eshtaol.
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“So the woman [in due time] gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the boy grew and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him at times in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.” -AMPLIFIED

The Messenger had brought the news, instructed the couple in how to raise the child and now the time has arrived for the promised child to be born. Manoah and his wife named the child “Samson”, which is derived from the Hebrew word “brightness” or “little sun”; possibly meaning “sunshine”. This promised child would indeed bring brightness and happiness to Manoah and his wife; for remember they had been childless.

We may also consider that this promised child was to be a light to the people of Israel. He was to point them back to Jehovah during this time that they were being oppressed by the Philistines. Sadly, the choices that Samson made were not the best choices as he grew into manhood. Those poor choices would have a negative effect.

It is significant to note that Scripture tells us that God blessed Samson as he grew up. Warren Wiersbe, pastor, teacher and theologian, shares this little piece of interesting information about Samson, “While other judges were said to be clothed with God’s Spirit, only of Samson is it said “the Lord blessed him”. The hand of God was on him in a special way…..As you ponder the record of Samson’s life, you get the impression that he was a fun-loving fellow with a good sense of humor; and sometimes he didn’t take his gifts and his work seriously. A sense of humor is a good thing to have, but it must be balanced with serious devotion to the things of the Lord. “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Ps. 2:11). Samson’s power was a weapon to fight with and a tool to build with, not a toy to play with.”

We are told that the Spirit of God began working in him, stirring him while he was still at Mahaneh Dan. God was preparing Samson to do great things for Him. We may assume that this was happening while he was still living with his parents. God was training Samson to be the vessel that He needed him to be. Samson needed to learn to listen to God’s voice and follow the leading of the Spirit.

Samson had a few spiritual flaws that eventually became his undoing:
1.) He did not take his spiritual upbringing and heritage seriously.
2.) He was a womanizer.
3.) He let his emotions carry him away.

Though Samson had the proper upbringing; godly parents, religious training, and even the Spirit of the Lord was upon him. Yet, his choices as he matured left a whole lot to be desired. Sadly, it does not appear that he took his relationship with God very seriously. He did not keep his Nazarite vow as he should have. He loved to have a good time, we can see this from Scripture, and he was a joker too, enjoying riddles and such. It appears that he never took the calling on his life seriously. Because of this he probably squandered many other opportunities where God could have used him.

Samson had a wandering eye. He lusted after woman that he had no business even looking at or desiring. First it was a woman from Timnah; this was in Philistia, so she was a Philistine woman. His parents tried to redirect him, but he refused to listen. Then it was with a prostitute from Gaza. Finally it was with Delilah, who was also a Philistine. (God’s law forbid the children of Israel to marry or sleep with the people of the nations that surrounded them.)

Then we find that Samson’s emotions tended to get the better of him. He had a very short fuse when it came to his temper. When that temper blew you made some choices that were not very wise. Once, because he was angry at the Philistines, he caught 300 foxes, tied their tails together and put torches in the knots of their tails. This ended up burning the crops of the Philistines; which made them very angry. Once, his anger was so great that he killed 1000 Philistine men with the jaw of a donkey.

Samson never learned to yield to the Spirit of God. Sadly, this was his downfall. Samson judged the people for 20 years and God did use him despite his imperfections. We must all remember that each of us has a WILL and it is our choice to submit fully to God or not. There were times that Samson struggled with this choice. Often he made poor choices, but God still used him; poor choices and all.

“Unless we learn the difference between being empowered by the Spirit and controlled by Spirit we will fall just like Samson did.” -Ray Pritchard’s Summary: The life of Samson

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to submit to your will in every area of my life. I want to be controlled by your Holy Spirit. Help me to follow the your promptings and not insist on doing things my own way. For I know what happens when I insist on doing things my way; I fail and I fall down. I ask for your wisdom, knowledge and understanding in every area of my life; so that I can make godly choices that are pleasing to you.

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