Fight of Flight (Judges 14:5-6)

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Judges 14: 5 Samson went down to Timnah together with his father
and mother.  As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly
a young lion came roaring toward him.  6 The Spirit of the LORD came
powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands
as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor
his mother what he had done.

Are you prepared to Fight?  or Are you preparing for Flight?

As I read this passage, I thought about the many who have not prepared to fight the many lions on our journey.  I first thought of the natural portion given to us called “adrenaline”.   God has uniquely designed our bodies with a “fight” or “flight” system powered by adrenaline.Adrenaline

In key moments, our minds will be called upon to make the distinction as to what should be done in key situations.  In this, the adrenaline produced can give us the strength to “fight” or for “flight”.  This distinction is an assessment that happens on the spot and determines the best way to respond to any given situation.

I thought about the response of Samson, a man of God who as a Nazarite, accepted his vow to live for the Lord.  While others took the vow by choice, Samson was chosen before birth, but had to accept his appointment to live for the Lord.  His response to the roaring lion was based upon his knowledge of Who God is and Who He was in God.

Vineyard; No Problem

Even before addressing the Lion, I was first captured by his position.  His journey to investigate his future wife took him through a vineyard.  As a Nazarite, he is not to drink or eat anything from the vine.  As he travels, it seems as though the presence of the vineyard does not phase him.  He has become so disciplined in this area of his life, that he seems to advance, not even distracted by what he sees.  This comes with a lifestyle of denial and focus to be disciple.  I wondered if I and other could get there?  To be like Samson in this moment or like our Lord in the wilderness.  Samson placed his vow to the Lord before his commitment to please his flesh, considering his pleasure secondary to pleasing God.  If only we could get here!

How close are you?  Would you be snacking from the vines as though walking through Cosco or HEB?  Truthfully most of us would have been full of grapes, stumbling from the wine, and crawling into the Temple with our sacrifice, shaving our heads and starting our vows yet again.

Will you keep your vows?  No you aren’t a Nazarite, but as brides of the Divine, we have a commitment as a disciple to live a life of discipline, denying our self, and pressing towards the mark of righteousness placed for us.  We must position ourselves to be used by the Lord by living out or vows not before man, but before a righteous God!

Are you positioned? 

In this, I took a close look at my life; asking myself am I prepared to be used by the divine?  Sadly, I concluded No; not completely.  I examined my health, and determined that my lack of discipline in eating and drinking, presents to God a temple that is partially prepared to carry out my calling.   Are you positioned?

As we looked at Adrenaline, we see how its use can both save your life, giving you the ability to fight or for flight, but that in certain cases, the use of it can take the life of one who’s temple is not able to handle the power it provides.  Are you prepared?  Samsoms’ temple had been set aside for Gods’ use and was ready to handle his first assignment.  When the Holy Spirit came upon him, it had complete use of his temple to carry out this super natural feat!  Could you?  Are you positioned?  Positioning is the result of preparation.  Denying himself and being discipline with his eating and drinking, Samson was ready to physically handle the rigors of the fight.  He, under control of the Holy Spirit, tore a lion in half, with the inference being that it was with very little struggle.

Are you prepared? 

The Holy Spirit was able to use not only his body, but was able to control his actions by the connection he had to the Divine.  Resembling his covenant daily, He most likely stood facing the lion with a larger mane that the young lion that attacked.  He kept razor from his head, symbolizing his connection and covenant to the Lord, refusing to break his vow.  His close connection allowed him to be overtaken, and his discipline and life of denial allowed him to quickly submit in the heat of the battle.  Fight or Flight?  For Samson, even before knowing the power he possessed, Flight was not an option.

How will you respond to the attack? Diving

Because most of us are not prepared, we choose Flight!  I want to encourage us to take a stand and to Fight!

What I love about the passage is that Samson was taken by surprise!  Many of us feel being prepared is knowing the exact challenge that we will face, but when you are walking with Christ, and guided by His Spirit, being prepared is not knowing what is a head, but knowing who is your head!  Yes, we are a body; and Christ is our Head.  It is the knowledge of this that allows us to fight as though taking a test as though we had the answer key prior to the exam.

We must stay built up in the Word, increase our intimacy with time in Prayer, Chasten ourselves by Fasting!   

Again, being surprised is not equivalent to be unprepared.  That is, unless we are undisciplined.  The reason many of us have to choose flight is our undisciplined lifestyle.  When we assess the situations we face, we have not prepared ourselves or structured ourselves to carry out the fullness of our calling.  Will you prepare?

I’ll show you a Lion!

Samson stood up to the Lion, knowing that he was not standing by himself.  Yes, you guessed it!  Why take flight from a young lion when you are walking with the Lion of Judah?  You want to see a Lion, I’ll show you a Lion.  You might think I am walking by myself, but I am walking in power with the favor and protection of the Lord.  I am covered by His blood and empowered by His spirit to do greater works that already displayed.

I face all challenges with faith, not responding to the roar of the lion, but to the voice of the King!  It is His voice that presents fear and the respect I have for His love and sacrifice that is the power that allow me to walk towards a challenge as opposed to running away from it.

Which Direction are you Running?

You are either headed back or you are moving forward!  You choose how you use the power you are given.  Are you praying to get out or praying to power through?

handsinsoilDid I do that?

I am grateful that God doesn’t do everything for us or without us!  God powered Samson with the Holy Spirit but allowed him to experience the power and the satisfaction of achievement.  It is an honor and so satisfying to see the things God allowed your hands to participate in accomplishing.  Yes, here I am Lord; send me!  Lord forbid that the Kingdom is built while we are spectators!  I want to point to a brick, a wall, a chair, a person, a ministry, an offering, a miracle that God worked through me to accomplish.

Like Samson, I want to travel and see the work of my hands, celebrating and remembering the power of the partnership I have with God, and reveling in just how powerful I am when fully dedicated and submitted to Him.  Don’t you?  Don’t you want to look at your hands as the tools of the Lord to accomplish His will on the earth, and not just as tools to bring pleasure to your flesh? olympic-victory-celebrating (45) As I look to the floor, I see the prior works of my hand.  Feeding my temple things that have brought harm and have been a hindrance.  Lord forbid that this be the only changed visible to mankind by my hands.   I pray that your hands show more than clothes and cars, houses and land.  I pray that God will use you to produce more than grapes on a vine, but fruit from a life lived that honors God.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

 

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Waiting to Produce (Judges 13:1-2)

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The Israelites again did evil in the LORD’s sight,
so the LORD handed them over to the Philistines
for forty years. There was a man named
Manoah from Zorah, from the Danite tribe.
His wife was infertile and childless.
Judges 13:1-2

 

Because of disobedience, the Israelite’s find themselves under the rule of the Philistines.  Yes, God’s people found themselves subject to those who were not God’s chosen because they were constant breakers of the covenant God had made with them.  Here we find Manoah in captivity corporately with his brothers and sister, and still having to deal with personal conditions and circumstances. 

012-jacob-weddingThis really struck me.  As a father, husband and as a man of God.  Even in the midst of our corporate struggles, there are still personal struggles going on within the group.  As a leader and visionary, sometimes we loose sight of this, and this lack of sight can cause us to be both instinctive or to appear as though we lack compassion.  In Manoahs case, most were aware of his circumstance because they could not visually see any children, but in many cases, what we go through is not publicized.  Many times we find ourselves struggling and suffering in private.

Though in a in captivity, Manoah had been blessed with a wife.  Though there are many benefits to having a wife that, one was not afforded to him; offspring.  Manoah was not only unable to secure  Verse 2 informs us that his wife is both infertile and childless.

Though we are not given details on how her infertility affected either he or his wife, we are clued in that she has not produced a child.  This means she was barren when betrothed, and barren after covenant was solidified.  Though he was able to produce an offspring, he was childless because she was unable to produce.

I wondered:

Have you ever united with something barren?

I think back to college.  One of the worst things that could happen to you in a lab was to be partnered with someone who was unproductive.  Their unproductively had a direct affect on your ability to produce.  It caused you to work harder, in turn making your shaper, but robbed you of opportunities to take full advantage of your circumstances.

image001I wondered how many nights he prayed, thanking God for what he had, but asking God to add to his numbers that he might produce more and be more efficient with his holdings?  I wonder how many times he prayed over her, anointing her body with oil?  How many days did he fast?  I wonder how many times he stood exhausted looking over land that was not cultivated and wished he had an extra hand to aide him in his duties?  How many sacrifices did he make?  How many times did he fight through the advice of friends?  How many advances did he turn down?  How many offerings were given?  How many hours did his head hang low? One can imagine the frustration and disappointment he might have questioning himself and his relationship with God.

On the other end we have his wife.  

Have you ever been the Unproductive Partner in a Relationship?

Being a faithful and loyal wife, I am certain she served her husband to the best of her capacity.  She was certain to have compensated in each way, working along side him to help him, knowing that she was unable to provide an heir or an aid for anything he acquired.  Furthermore, she would not have a covering or company if she were to loose Manoah.  Each day she awoke to the frailty of her present state, and operated within her circumstances, hoping one day they would change.  She most likely faced the label of her community, and the constant judgement that was given to a woman who had the equipment to produce, but had not been selected  by God to bare one of His gifts.

 

I pray for each tear that was shed.  I pray for each time her head grew heavy and her knees grew weak.  I pray for each time she touched her belly.  Each time she countenance was low.  Each time she cried out to the Lord.  Each sacrifice she made and each offering she offered up.   I pray for each time she saw a mother with her child.  And for each time she held someones blessing and wondered if her womb would every be blessed with a gift from the Lord.

At some level we have all been either Manoah or Manoah’s wife.  From both vantage points, we must continue to be good partners to one another.  We must take advantage of what has been given to us, until more is provided for us to steward.  In every case, God will meet our needs and allow us to function if we will continue to get the full usage out of what we have.   Manoah and his wife find themselves still blessed by the Lord while in captivity, and we can too.  Not having today does not mean that tomorrow will be the same.  For both Manoah and his wife, the day would soon come that they would not only be Monoah/Monoahs wife, but Samsom’s Father/Samson’s Mother.  Soon the tails and chronicles of his actions would not only make his name great, but the name of his family.

 

#PastorJDO3