By REV. TIMOTHY L. MELTON, PASTOR
CHEROKEE PENTECOSTAL HOLINESS CHURCH
Read Judges 13–16, and then Hebrews 11:32-33
(“Samson had tremendous potential. Not many people have started life with credentials like his. Born as a result of God’s plan given by the angel of the Lord, to Manoah and his wife, a childless couple in Israel. Samson was to do a great work for God—to rescue Israel from the Philistines. According to the angel of the Lord, they were not to drink any wine, eat grapes, nor eat any other forbidden food, from before his birth, and never to razor his hair afterwards, either. They were able to take the Nazirite vow for him, and trained him to follow the instructions given them for their son. To help him accomplish God’s plan, he was given enormous physical strength, especially when the Holy Spirit would come upon him, and whenever there was a great need he would ask God for His help.”)
(“Samson wasted his strength on practical jokes and getting out of scrapes, and because he gave it up altogether to satisfy the woman he loved, we tend to see him as a failure. We remember him as the judge in Israel who spent his last days grinding grain in an enemy prison, having had both eyes gouged out. Yes, Samson wasted his life. He could have strengthened his nation. He could have returned his people to the worship of God. He could have wiped out the Philistines. But even though he did only begin to do those things, he still accomplished the purpose announced by the angel who visited his parents before his birth. He actually slew 1,000 Philistine men with one ‘jawbone of an ass.’ In this final act, he died taking more Philistine people and leaders out with what he did, while also causing his own death. He humbled himself and had asked God for the strength to collapse the idol temple’s roof as they tormented him. The death numbers counted more than from all the other events in over twenty years of his life combined. Samson had clearly begun to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” —From notes in the NLT)
Said Pastor Melton, “Perhaps the lie that satan told Samson was the same as what he also tries to tell each one of us. He seems to like telling most of us that ‘we just aren’t good enough, no matter what we do.’ We should be aware that it has to be a lie because everyone ‘is good enough to be filled with the Holy Spirit,’ if they will follow God’s instructions.”
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.
“Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
“Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
“And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5:15-20 (NLT)
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.
”For if you live by its dictates, you will die.
“But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba. Father.
“For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”
Romans 8:12-16 (NLT)
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words.
“And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Romans 8:26-28 (NLT)
“During these days, Israel had no king; and all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”
“Does this sound somewhat familiar to us today?” asks Pastor Melton.