July 23 I Friday
“Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” —Galatians 5:16-17
Before Israel was a monarchy, Israel was a theocracy, meaning, “God ruled.” How did God do that? He placed His Spirit on an individual, anointing them as “judge” over Israel. Samson was one of the judges, but this did not mean he sat with a long wig in a courtroom listening to the errors of people’s ways and sentencing them accordingly. Judges were civic and military leaders of the nation of Israel.
Before his birth, Samson’s mother was told, “You will become pregnant and have a son...the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). Samson was set apart by God to be a Nazirite, which was an outwards sign of the inward dependence upon the Spirit of God.
From conception, Samson was equipped by God with the resources of the Spirit of God to deliver Israel from the Philistines. We are told, “He grew and the LORD blessed him, and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him” (Judges 13:24). As we study Samson’s life, we see a recurring phrase, “The Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him” (Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14). In the 20 years that Samson was a judge, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, empowering him with supernatural strength. Yet, a recurring problem Samson had was getting involved with the wrong women.
Samson’s life began to unravel when he succumbed to the desires of his flesh instead of God’s will. As Samson went to check out his enemies, he found that the Philistines were not as bad as he thought. In fact, one of them was very attractive and he told his parents, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife” (Judges 14:2). Samson was going against what the Lord commanded in Deuteronomy 7:3, “Do not intermarry with them.” His parents tried to persuade him otherwise, but Samson was adamant. Even while he was filled with the power of the Spirit, we are confronted with the awful mess of Samson’s life, shaking us to ask, “How did this happen?”
Paul taught in the New Testament, “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). As Christians, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit when we believe, but that does not mean we will no longer sin or be tempted to sin. May we heed to the words of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”
Prayer: Dear Lord God, thank You for placing Your Spirit in me when I professed faith in You. Continually guide me to walk faithfully in Your ways and Your truth.