Friday, March 28, 2014

Don't get caught sleeping

This week has been an incredibly challenging week. My quiet-time has been non-existent and I have felt more and more hopeless with each passing day. I know my hopeless feeling comes from a lack of time with the Lord. 

Last night the effects of “no quiet-time” and “minimal prayer” reached its tipping point and I inwardly exploded. In addition to my feeling of sheer laziness, I had a headache and out of this place of incredible pain, I clammed up and went into the darkness of my pit. In the midst of a room full of people, I felt all alone with no one to talk to. (Satan’s lies!) Instead of engaging the people who love me, I listened instead to the lies of the enemy saying “It’s no use to talk to anyone, nothing will help. Everything is hopeless. Things will never change.” My private “pity party” hurled me deeper into the pit.

Have you ever felt this way? 

In Acts 2:28, we are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit’s job is to guide us into all truth (John 14:26; 16:5 - 15), provide strength and encouragement, give us the words (Luke 12:12) to speak, and enable us to walk out our Christian life in the midst of a chaotic world.

This morning, I happened to be in the book of Judges reading the story of Samson and Delilah. After the scripture reading, I always go down and read the corresponding study notes. Before I get too far, it’s necessary to provide a little background. Samson’s story is told in Judges 13 – 16. Before his birth, Samson’s parents set him apart for God as a Nazirite. The term Nazirite means “one separated or consecrated”. Thus a person taking the Nazirite Vow (Numbers 6:2) devoted themselves to God. Parents could also make the Nazirite Vow on behalf of their children, such as the case with Samson. As a sign of commitment, the Nazirite abstained from various things (see Numbers 6:3 – 7). One of these things was the cutting hair. Samson’s hair was the secret of his strength.

In the study notes, the author talked about Samson’s downfall. Again, I have to give you a little background. Samson’s wife, Delilah, made a deal with the Philistines for 1,100 shekles of silver. They wanted to know where his strength came from so they could overtake him. Delilah asked Samson 3 times where is strength came from and 3 times he told her something different. Finally after constant nagging, Samson gave in and told her his secret.

Judges 16:15 – 17 (NIV) Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”

The truth of Samson's strength was revealed and Delilah told the Philistines and they came against him while he was sleeping.

Judges 16:19 (NIV) After putting him to sleep [emphasis mine] on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him [emphasis mine].

The author of the study notes states “I believe that sleeping here is symbolic of prayerlessness.”

OUCH! Okay, that hurt. I was just telling someone last night that I hadn’t really prayed much over the last week. The reason I gave? My life has been chaotic lately. That's my excuse...the truth? I have taken my focus off of God and placed it on my current circumstances. DOUBLE OUCH!

The author continues “As Samson slept, destruction came upon him. In a moment’s time God’s glory and presence left his life, and he became a captive of the Philistines. Only as he called upon God (Judges 16:28) did his strength return.” 

I don’t know about you…but I don’t want God’s glory and presence to leave me. The truth is, this week I have been caught sleeping! I’ve neglected to pray and remain in God’s word. I didn’t have the strength to fight because I wasn’t tapping into the source of strength. Only through prayer and the reading of the Word can:
  • spiritual strength be produced and increased,
  • the fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5: 22-23) be developed,
  • we draw closer to Christ and further away from the things of this world.
We are called to watch and pray (Matthew 26:41). For the last week I've lost sight of this truth.

Today, my eyes are open to the truth.

Lord, thank you for the spiritual awaking you provided this morning. Thank you for not allowing the “pit dweller” in me to keep my focus on surrounding circumstances. I know I am full of joy, hope and strengthen when I spend my day talking with you and reading your word. You ALWAYS fill me to overflowing (Psalm 23:5b). I am so grateful that you see my heart and you love me anyway. Forgive me for being a “pit dweller” the last few days instead of remaining in You where I belong. Amen

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