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America and Samson
VANITY | 10-2-2008 | Snowbelt Man

Posted on 10/02/2008 5:23:27 AM PDT by Snowbelt Man

A few days ago, my lovely wife and I gathered with a handful of friends to pray for our nation and the upcoming election. As we prayed, the story of one of my favorite Bible characters kept coming to mind. The story of Samson can be found in Judges 13-16. It tells us the tale of probably the most physically gifted man in the Bible and his numerous character flaws which ultimately resulted in his capture and death. The thought that kept coming to me during our prayer time was that, like Samson, America's character flaws have put us on a direct collision course with the God whose blessings and giftings had elevated Samson to the highest position in Israel and have elevated America to the greatest country on earth.

Samson's birth itself was a miracle. His parents were getting old and had been unable to have children. An angel appeared to Samson's mother and told her that they were going to have a son and that the boy would be a Nazirite from birth. A Nazirite was someone who had taken a vow not to drink alcoholic beverages and not to cut his hair. The angel then appears a second time to both Samson's mother and father and the birth takes place as predicted.

The next thing that we know, Samson is an adult who is leading Israel. He ended up being the "Judge" of Israel for 20 years. However, as soon as we are introduced to Samson as an adult, his character flaws come to light. He is found ordering his father to go get a particular woman for him to be his wife. The problem is that this woman is a Philistine whom the Jews are forbidden by the Scriptures to marry. Not only does Samson show signs of disrespect to his parents but he shows an absolute disregard for the standards set forth for marriage by the Scriptures. The end result is that Samson does marry the woman but through a series of sometimes comical and incredible feats of strength, hostilities between Israel and the Philistines reach a fever pitch.

Although the Bible tells us nothing about Samson's childhood years, one can almost imagine how he must have been treated by his parents. Most parents think that their child is really special but this child's birth was announced by an angel who prophesied great things about the boy. I would guess that he received pretty favorable treatmet as he grew up. Maybe he was allowed to get away with things that other children were not. In any event, even though he is leading Israel, our earliest introduction to him as an adult is not a pretty picture.

Still, it's impossible not to like him. On his way down to meet his new wife, a lion attacks him and he tears it apart with his bare hands. Then on his way home, some honey bees have built a hive in the carcass of the lion and Samson reaches in and gets some honey. He then uses this event to place what turns out to be a not so friendly bet at his wedding reception. It involved a riddle concerning the lion and the honey. The wager was with 30 Philistine guests for a new set of clothes each. Samson would get 30-1 odds because each of the Philistine guests would have to buy him a new suit if he won (not really 30-1 because he would have to pay 30 suits if he lost but you get the picture). Unfortunately, Samson's inability to resist women causes him to lose the bet as his new wife, under threat of violence from the guests, pesters Samson until he reveals the answer to the riddle. Samson's method of paying the bet was to go kill 30 men from Ashkelon, take their clothes and give them to the guests.

The story of Samson continues with more moral failures, more outrageously risky behavior, a visit to a prostitute, and finally his ill fated relationship with another Philistine woman, Delilah. All the time, God's favor, blessing and giftings continue to be with Samson as he catches 300 foxes, ties their tails together, lights them on fire and destroys the crops of some Philistines. He then kills 1,000 Philistines with the jaw bone of a donkey. He lifts up the gate posts at the entrance of Gaza to escape from a Philistine plot to kill him. Nothing that Samson does causes God to lift his favor or blessing from him - UNTIL - the deceiptful Delilah convinces him to reveal to her the secret of his being a Nazirite.

Despite the movie version, there is never any indication that Delilah really cared for Samson. However, he seems to be in love with her. She appears to be on the take from the beginning and is looking for an opportunity to turn Samson over to the Philistines in exchange for a great financial reward. Finally, after several attempts to find the source of Samson's great strength, Samson reveals that he is a Nazirite and that his hair has never been cut. Many people think that Samson's hair was the source of his strength but, in reality, it was just a reminder to him that God was the source of his tremendous gifting. Sort of like: "Endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights"; "In God we trust"; One nation under God"; etc., etc.

Now, after Samson falls asleep and Delilah cuts his hair, the Philistines, who were lying in wait, attack Samson. The Bible tells us that Samson arose from his sleep and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free." The next sentence of Judges 16:20 is the key lesson of the life of Samson and the end result of his behavior which had been putting him on a collision course with God for some time: "BUT HE DID NOT KNOW THAT THE LORD HAD DEPARTED FROM HIM." What a frightening position to be in: to have experienced and taken for granted the favor of God for so long that he had become numb to the fact that God was no longer with him. He had finally crossed a line that culminated in the worst thing that could have happened to him: the withdrawal of God's presence and favor. The fact that Samson was oblivious to God's departure is an indication that he had long ago stopped giving God any credit for his great giftings.

The Philistines then poke Samson's eyes out and make him a mill grinder in prison. Samson's hair begins to grow back and he finds a place of repentance as he grinds away in prison. The Philistines hold a great festival in the temple of their god, Dagon, and call for Samson to be brought in as entertainment. Samson asks God for strength one more time and he brings down the temple of Dagon by pushing over its foundational pillars - thereby killing more Philistines than he had during his entire life. In the process, Samson also dies.

My gut feeling about America is that we are on a collision course with the God of Judeo-Chrisitianity. No matter who wins the upcoming election, I believe that the collision course will remain intact. The abortion of 1/3 of a generation, the rampant pornography, the total inability to make a judgment regarding right and wrong, truth or no truth, the total failure to call good, good and evil, evil, the materialistic greed, the politics of envy, the corruption and moral decay of almost all of our institutions - including the church - have put us on the same course that Samson was on. The tough part is that, like Samson, because of God's goodness and longsuffering, we are not even aware that we are on this course. Then suddenly, in a day, Samson's eyes were poked out and he was grinding the mill like an animal in the prison of his enemies.

America has become numb to the blessing and favor of the God of the Bible. We have become numb to our miracle birth and to the Biblically inspired ideas that led to the creation of more wealth and more freedom for more people from more national and socio economic backgrounds (including African Americans) than any nation in history. We have become numb to the fact that God created us as a unique nation with a unique calling to be a place where people would be free to worship God and to propagate the gospel of Christ. We have become numb to the killing of babies, to the corruption of politicians, to the lies of the media and, more importantly, to the mocking of the Scriptures as a plumb line for human behavior.

Whatever the election results, I'm afraid that there is a day coming - whether in the immediate future or in the distant future - that America is going to wake up, arouse herself to take on her challenges and NOT KNOW THAT THE LORD HAS DEPARTED FORM HER. Samson found a place of repentance after his horrific downfall. Hopefully, America can to.

America the beautiful. God shed His grace on thee.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:
Food for thought
1 posted on 10/02/2008 5:23:27 AM PDT by Snowbelt Man
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To: Snowbelt Man

Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.


2 posted on 10/02/2008 5:30:53 AM PDT by Ezekiel (Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.)
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To: Snowbelt Man

This has to be one of the best pieces of truth I’ve read in some time! It’s time to get serious about prayer and fasting....after repenting.


3 posted on 10/02/2008 5:31:00 AM PDT by SumProVita ("Cogito ergo sum pro vita." .....updated Descartes)
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To: Snowbelt Man

Agreed.


4 posted on 10/02/2008 5:32:13 AM PDT by Tuscaloosa Goldfinch (My new favorite quote "You can't organize clutter.")
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To: Snowbelt Man
The day of final judgment is near and I am looking forward to it.
5 posted on 10/02/2008 5:35:09 AM PDT by Evil Slayer (Sarah Palin reminds me of the story about David and Goliath)
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To: Snowbelt Man
Well written. Here's just one thought. Although it is true that many in America, just as you say, hove lost the desire to see between good and evil and therefore willfully choose evil...and that evil is horrednous in abortion, sodomy, persecuting and using the poor, etc., etc. to the point of such shame and such monsterous travesty that one hates to hear the report thereof.

Despite all of this, there are still million and million of good, God-fearing Americans who know where to look for their salvation and are willing to turn to Him.

This is our great hope.

If God would spare Sodam and Gommorah for the sake of fifty, He surely will spare America for the sake of millions. I have absolute faith in this.

That does not mean it will be easy. it does not mean there will not be hardship, perhaps tremndous hardship along the way. but if we will hearken to God and His voice and behave as He has asked us (ie. II Chron 7:14), then I believe, in the end, America will not only be spared, but also healed. We will all have to work hard for that and turn to Him, but I believe that is the ultimate outcome.


I'M VOTING FOR SARAH

6 posted on 10/02/2008 5:35:57 AM PDT by Jeff Head (Freedom is not free...never has been, never will be. (www.dragonsfuryseries.com))
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To: Tuscaloosa Goldfinch

We began a weekly block prayer meeting just last week. Never have I ever experienced much less heard of such a project conducted in a neighborhood. Times are very unsettling and for neighborhoods to begin conducting group prayer meetings is both encouraging and frightening


7 posted on 10/02/2008 5:38:56 AM PDT by shadeaud
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To: Snowbelt Man; Vision; Sopater; Cindy; EternalVigilance; Alamo-Girl; Mr. Silverback; eaglesnest1; ...

Thanks for posting this.

Hezekiah got a reprieve on his deathbed.

“If My People...repent...then I will heal their land.”


8 posted on 10/02/2008 5:40:27 AM PDT by The Spirit Of Allegiance (Public Employees: Honor Your Oaths! Defend the Constitution from Enemies--Foreign and Domestic!)
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To: Jeff Head

Believe me, Abraham’s negotiations with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah have come to mind often. Still, I get the feeling that we are trying to restrain evil in this political season rather than obtain victory. I am now 55 years old and the course that America has taken during my adult life has veered from time to time but seems to have steadily moved away from the Scriptures as being relevant on issues of importance. We’ve “gotten away” with it thus far - probably because of what you have aptly pointed out.


9 posted on 10/02/2008 5:43:14 AM PDT by Snowbelt Man (ideas have consequences)
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To: Snowbelt Man
Like Israel, America has made a covenant with God:

(From the Mayflower Compact) In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic.

10 posted on 10/02/2008 5:44:13 AM PDT by McBuff
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To: Snowbelt Man
Snowbely Man,

I completely agree with your outlook on our national future. Romans 1 is the perfect guide from scripture that describes this terrible thing. When will we, as a nation, ask God to forgive us? Like Sampson, it may not happen until after we have been dethroned and made into a slave of another.

11 posted on 10/02/2008 5:44:49 AM PDT by patriotUSA (Thank you Jesus.)
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To: Snowbelt Man
Good post. I really enjoyed it. I have been spending a lot of time reading Matthew 24. It is no longer just the casual, or incidental evil taking place in this country, it is not willful, deliberate evil that is enveloping us. We see the news media that regularly and deliberately lie and bear false witness against others. A spirit of deception has now descended upon us and we are now witnessing a God who is giving us over to our own depravity.

The good news is that I do see the church slowly awakening from its slumber. I see many people who are once again developing a longing and a heart for the intimacies of God. It is a good thing and it is happening right now.

But it is unclear to me whether we have waited too long or not. It seems that hard days may be ahead. However, I do wonder if we are a to point where this is the beginning of the process that sees a tearing down the old house and the old earth that is required to usher in the new earth.

12 posted on 10/02/2008 5:54:57 AM PDT by Obadiah
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To: Snowbelt Man
I too am in my 50s and have seen the same as you...and agree with it. I believe there will also be a price to pay. And it will be a heavy price. The blood of tens of millions of absolute innocents literally ripped form the womb cries for it. The stain of unspeakable sin cries out to God in Heaven for His Justice.

I believe there are very hard times in store as a result...but I do not believe we will be utterly destroyed or put down because there are tens of millions who still look to Him for their Salvation and the other critical components of His will...His Mercy and Love. As a result, as hard as it may well get, I believe America will be preserved, and ultimately as a result of those tens of millions, yes, even healed.

13 posted on 10/02/2008 5:56:57 AM PDT by Jeff Head (Freedom is not free...never has been, never will be. (www.dragonsfuryseries.com))
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To: The Spirit Of Allegiance

Thanks for the ping!


14 posted on 10/02/2008 6:49:49 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Snowbelt Man
Excellent article!
A few weeks ago, the pastor who teaches my adult Sunday School class had to go out of town on a Walk to Emmaus retreat, and had me fill in for him on the class that day (I'm currently in my second year of classes at a theological seminary, he has long been very supportive of me, and I had filled in for him on another class a couple months ago and did pretty well, so he figured I'd make a worthy substitute for him that day). For the last couple months, we had been looking at memorable figures from the Bible in each lesson, and for the one I led, I taught about Samson. In my lesson on Samson (The pastor wrote out a reference sheet for me to use, but I also incorporated a little of my own knowledge on the story), the focus was more on people's individual temptations, and how we each need to work on becoming wiser and more resistant to temptation in our lives. However, your theme on how it can apply to us as a nation as a whole is a great, valid point, as well.
15 posted on 10/02/2008 6:54:25 AM PDT by Chewie84
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To: Jeff Head

Anyone with a basic understanding of the Old Testament knows that God punished His people severely and often for falling away from His Way. I love reading Old Testament history and will often see parallels in modern society.
It’s a little scary, but it is prompting me to pray like I’ve never prayed before!


16 posted on 10/02/2008 7:04:40 AM PDT by StrictTime (I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused.)
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To: Chewie84

I believe our Lord does not seek America’s destruction, but her conversion. And like the Prodigal Son, if need be, he will bring this country to its knees. There’s a punishment coming to this country, but the end result will be, for the most part, to purify us and bring us back to Him.


17 posted on 10/02/2008 7:09:39 AM PDT by Siobhan7
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To: Chewie84

I believe our Lord does not seek America’s destruction, but her conversion. And like the Prodigal Son, if need be, he will bring this country to its knees. There’s a punishment coming to this country, but the end result will be, for the most part, to purify us and bring us back to Him.


18 posted on 10/02/2008 7:09:43 AM PDT by Siobhan7
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To: Snowbelt Man

Our son, Brendan (4th grade), worked on a prayer project at school and the teacher was so pleased with the results that she had his piece published in the school newsletter. We thought that we’d share the results. Our “Bubby” just turned 10. I think it’s just about right.

Indescribable God!!

God is mighty.
He controls the oceans and the storms.
God is a mighty fortress around me.
He shelters me from the wind and the rain.
He will see me through when days are rough.
Some days it’s rainy and black and he’ll be in my mind.
Days when I am bored he would make something happen to make things a bit brighter.
When I’m sad he’ll be there to comfort me.
If I’m scared, he’ll have something to show me not to be afraid.


19 posted on 10/02/2008 7:52:20 AM PDT by incredulous joe
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To: incredulous joe

Excellent


20 posted on 10/02/2008 8:44:34 AM PDT by Snowbelt Man (ideas have consequences)
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To: patriotUSA

“Like Sampson, it may not happen until after we have been dethroned and made into a slave of another.”

Hopefully, not, but one of new favorite quotes is;

“There is NOTHING on this planet that happens without God’s permission.”

I think that is attributed to Mother Theresa, but it smacks of such commonsense faith that certainly it must have been passed down through thte ages.


21 posted on 10/02/2008 9:29:53 AM PDT by incredulous joe
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