The Biblical story of Samson is more than a children’s Sunday School lesson. It has lessons to teach all of us. Here are three of them.
The Story of Samson Teaches That God Gives You Purpose
God made it clear even before his birth, that He had a special purpose for Samson. He told Samson’s parents to dedicate him as a Nazarite–one that was specially devoted to God.
As a Nazarite, Samson vowed to abstain from three things:
Cutting his hair
Touching dead bodies
And scripture confirms in the book of Judges that God’s Spirit was with Samson. During this time period, Israel was not reigned by kings. They were led by Judges. And God picked Samson to be one of them. The problem is that Samson didn’t want to follow God’s lead. He wanted to do things his way.
And that’s where most of us mess up. We don’t trust God’s leadership. Or want to follow His plan. We want to do things our way. Follow our selfish desires. And Samson demonstrated a lot of selfish desires.
And that makes it impossible to find and follow God’s purpose for your life. Because you have to release control of your life. And Samson never did.
The Story of Samson Teaches That God Will Not Be Mocked
The word for mocked means to treat with contempt or disdain. Yes, God is full of love, grace and mercy. But He is equally righteous, holy and just. He calls us to those same ideals. And holds us to account for our actions.
Therefore, you can’t profane His name, ignore His commands, do whatever you want and think it’s okay. And that because of His love and grace, God is obligated to give you a free pass. He isn’t and doesn’t.
So what does that mean?
God is a petulant child? A mean, vengeful bully? If you don’t do what He wants He will throw a tantrum and get you back? Toss lightning bolts at you?
Not that either.
He will, however, withdraw His presence from you. And leave you to the consequences of your decisions. Sin does that. It always separates you from God. And that’s what happened to Samson. He openly rebelled against God and broke his Nazarite vows. So God withdrew His presence. And with the loss of God’s presence went Samson’s great strength.
God wanted more from Samson than just his strength. Actually didn’t need Samson’s strength because He already had unlimited power at His command. What God really wanted was Samson’s heart. Which is what He wants from you and me. He can’t take it. We have to give it.
The Story Of Samson Teaches That God Gives You A Second Chance
It’s not clear if Samson had a true change of heart. If he decided to serve God with real devotion. And completely fulfill the purpose God had for him. But as he stood with his eyes gouged out between two support pillars in a building full of his Philistine enemies, he asked God to strengthen him one last time.
And in a final act of vengeance he toppled the pillars and brought the building down killing himself and more Philistines in that one act than during his life time.
Although Samson let his immature emotions drive his behavior, God still used him to save Israel from the Philistines. And gave him another chance to fulfill his purpose.
The point is, God offers second chances and new opportunities for those willing to renew their commitment to Him. But to experience it fully you must give God your heart and devote your life to Him.
The Biblical story of Noah’s Ark in Genesis is more than a children’s Bible lesson.
It’s also mentioned in eight other books of the Bible, which includes Jesus describing it as a real event.
Here are four lessons the story of Noah’s Ark has for all of us.
THE BIBLICAL STORY OF NOAH’S ARK REVEALS THE CHARACTER OF GOD
It’s affirmed throughout the Bible. God is love.
But if you stop there…focus only on God’s love…the story of Noah’s Ark is puzzling. Because the next obvious question is…
How can a loving God
simply wipe people off the face of the earth? How can a loving God send people
To make sense of it you have to understand that God is also…
HOLY, RIGHTEOUS & JUST
Since God grants us free will, we get to make our own decisions. And bad decisions lead to bad behavior. Even to a level of evil. Scripture calls this sin and says we’re all perpetrators at some level.
God lets us carry on with sinful behavior for a season—which we’re in right now—but not forever.
Because God is holy and just, He eventually deals with sin and judges with perfect fairness. But because of His love, He wants to spare us. Therefore He…
Makes a provision
Noah’s ark was God’s provisional flood escape plan. While building it, Noah warned everyone about the coming disaster so they had the same opportunity for escape. But they refused to listen and respond.
And Jesus Christ represents God’s eternal provision today—for those who listen and respond.
THE BIBLICAL STORY OF NOAH’S ARK PUSHES AGAINST SOCIAL CONVENTIONS
God tells Noah to build an ark and provides instructions.
And Noah builds it all the while proclaiming the coming flood. The first religious nutcase! Especially considering the word “flood” wasn’t even in the ancient parchment dictionary.
You can imagine the laughter. The ridicule. The late night monologue jokes.
Had it been today, Noah wouldn’t make it past the city
But Noah persevered. Ignoring popular opinion. Pushing
against the culture. Perhaps feeling alone and isolated.
And thousands of years later, Jesus did likewise. Hanging out with social outcasts and infuriating the religious elite by healing people on the Sabbath. Not breaking the command itself, but the extra rules the religious leaders unfairly piled on top of it.
The point is, when you strive to honor God and pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ, you’ll stand out in the crowd. Push against the culture. And the drivers of the popular culture may snub you in return. Ridicule you. Maybe worse.
And rather than assuring complete protection, Jesus simply says to deny yourself and follow him. No wonder the number of Jesus followers keeps dwindling.
THE BIBLICAL STORY OF NOAH’S ARK TELLS US GOD PRESENTS GOD SIZE PROJECTS
Did God really have to make Noah take all the animals with
him? What about herding them up the side of a mountain and stopping the water
below them rather than cover the entire earth?
Then Noah could build a much smaller boat. One just big enough for his family, pack a little food and call it a two-week vacation cruise.
Instead God tells Noah to build a massive ark that takes 120 years to complete. Then he’s cramped up with a load of smelly animals he has to care for and surrounded by water for a year…without a hot shower.
Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
The point being, God gives Noah a job so big he has to rely on God to accomplish it.
Because had Noah succeeded on his own he would have taken the credit for it. The same is true for us. God gives us arks to complete that require His help so we give Him the appropriate recognition and glory.
THE BIBLICAL STORY OF NOAH’S ARK TELLS US WHEN GOD GIVES A BIG ASSIGNMENT HE PROVIDES THE RESOURCES AND WE PROVIDE FAITHFULNESS
God could have delivered the ark to Noah assembled and ready to go. But He didn’t. Or make it more bite size, more manageable for Noah to accomplish. Not that either.
In fact, God didn’t need Noah at all. He could have created someone new and improved with the snap of His fingers.
What Noah DID provide was faithfulness in pursuing a life God approved of and in following God’s command.
And it teaches us something else about God.
Not only does God love and provide for us, He invites us into
His work. We don’t have to. We’re not doing Him a favor by participating. But
when we do, we’re the ones that are blessed. Go figure, right?
You see faith is never merely passive belief. As James says, it’s lived out through our actions.
So what’s your ark? What massive spiritual assignment is God handing you? Think it’s too big for God and you to complete? Or is perhaps, your faithfulness to and view of God too small?
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