WHEN GOD BACKS OFF
Pity the man from whom God backs off.
Much of our focus is on God’s love, grace, goodness, and forgiveness. And so it should be, for God is that and more. However, while God is a persistent lover of souls, He is also not oblivious to the true heart of a person and their inner motives. He knows when our sincere desire is to love and honor Him, or when it is to go our own self-indulgent way. Samson is a perfect example. His story is found in Judges 13 through 16.
Samson was born under the favour of God. God had a plan for Samson's life to set Israel free from the stifling control of the Philistines. God gave him supernatural strength, but it was tied to his commitment never to cut his hair (13:3-5).
We quickly learn that Samson had a weakness for women. He soon discovered that the weaknesses in one’s life become the vulnerable points of entry for the enemy of our soul unless fortified securely with personal resolve and God's strength.
Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah who became a pawn in the hands of the Philistine rulers to uncover the secret of his strength. After three aborted attempts, Samson finally divulged the secret to his "supposed" lover. Later that night while sleeping Delilah cut off his hair then called urgently for him to wake up. "The Philistines are coming!" she yelled! This time when he woke up his God-given strength was gone. Samson was immediately captured by his enemies who poked out his eyes, sent him to a prison in Gaza, and then chained him to a millstone to spend his days grinding grain.
Following the discovery that his hair had been cut off, we read one of the saddest statements in scripture that should cause each one of us pause. It says, "He did not realize that the Lord had stopped helping him." (16:20) How tragic! That was also said of the Israelites: "Once again the Israelites started disobeying the Lord. So he let the Philistines take control of them for forty years." (13:1) And God backed off!
The Psalmist knew well the struggles associated with the downward pull of our three enemies – the world; the flesh; and the devil – and prayed, ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12 NIV)
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. And the God of all grace, who called you into his eternal glory in Christ… will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (I Peter 5:8-10 NIV)
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love
I Cor. 10:13; 1:7-9; Psalm 91:1: Psalm 86:5; Jer. 25:36-38; Duet. 1:39-45; I Thess. 5:19