Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Judges - Who delievered you into their hand?

In the book of Judges it wasn’t what was said as much as what wasn’t said. I’ve listened to story after story after story of people being delivered into Israels’ hands. Over and over again, God tells them to fight for He will deliver them into your hands. So when I got to the story of Samson some of the wording really struck me.

As just a little bit of background:

Once upon a time there was a man named Samson. He had supernatural strength given to him directly from God Himself. No one could defeat him. Samson has his Delilah, and she asks him for the secret to his strength. He gives her a fake answer. “If I’m bound with 7 green withs which haven’t been dried” – so when he falls asleep, she does just that. She then wakes him up to the call that his enemy is upon him and he stands up breaking the withs like they were nothing.
She gets mad at him and asks him again. Another fake answer – ‘If I’m bound with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll be just like any other man". Again he falls asleep for the night and she binds him again per his words. But when she wakes him with the cry that his enemies are upon him - again, he stands up and breaks the ropes off him with no problem.
Finally, she's asking him again and she's really pulling out all the stops and here is how the Bible tells the story:

And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.

And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. 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.

But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.
Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.
Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
1 Judges 16:16-23

3 things in just those few verses really struck me.

1) "He told her all his heart". I love the phrasing of the King James version here just because it’s so personal. It doesn’t say he told her the secret of his strength – she was saying “How can you say you love me if you don’t tell me?” (earlier verses give that wording). Finally he is “vexed unto death” so he shows her his whole heart. He gave her everything she wanted to know of him. Even knowing what kind of woman she was.

2) "Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again". There is something amazingly humiliating in the verses above: his enemies capture him, his wife has cut his hair stealing his strength, they’ve jabbed his eyeballs out and blinded him, bound him, and now he’s in prison grinding…


Howbeit his hair began to grow again.

3) “Our god has delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.” But the Bible doesn’t say that God (capital G) delivered him, anywhere either. There is no mention where God tells anyone “I will deliver Samson into the hand of the Philistines” No prophets or seers come out of the woodwork to tell the Philistines that Samson has been delivered unto them. Or to tell Samson that he will be delivered unto them. I know their god isn’t real, and I know my God didn’t say it. Which leaves me one other avenue to take: Samson delivered himself into their hands.

Something about that is just intensely powerful to me because, well, I like to blame God for everything. I’ll give Him credit for a lot as well (everything I hope) but I’ll throw the blame at His feet nearly every time something bad crops up. But it made me wonder, so strongly, how many times have I delivered myself into someones hands?

Granted, I know God has delivered me into a few situations that were meant to mold me, burn off excess dross that needed to be purged. But too often I’ve found myself in a situation where, I trusted in someone I shouldn’t have. I gave my heart, where I should have held back the deepest secrets of it, or I relied on a friend with more trust than what they had earned. I shared my weakness. And in that, I delivered myself up to something that didn’t have to enter my life.

It’s left me in places where I felt cold, broken, alone and away from God. It’s left me standing up expecting to walk in God just like normal only to find myself without strength. Weak. Barely able to fight my enemy. It gives me a season of defeat.


There is always that chance to start again. A time for weeping and mourning doesn’t have to last forever.
So if you ever see me looking weak and bald – know this – the hair on my head begins to grow even now.

No comments: