Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lent Day 6: Victorious here, decimated there

Samson was a strongman. Judges 13-16 records his incredible feats. He tore city gates off their hinges and carried them to the next hilltop. He caught 300 foxes and tied their tails together before releasing them--tails on fire--into enemy grainfields. Using a donkey's jawbone as his weapon, he slaughtered 1000 Philistines.

And yet, he was utterly stupid in his sexual appetites. The classic tale of Samson and Delilah (Judges 16) tells how she asked him many times for the source of his strength. When he made up a reason, she set him up for entrapment. The men paying her for information would spring on Samson and try to capture him.

You'd think after a few times, Samson would catch on! This woman didn't have his best interests at heart. She used information given during intimacy against him. He escaped each time only by lying to her.

The fourth time, Delilah nagged him that he didn't love her enough to tell the truth. She wore him out with her questions. However, instead of leaving, Samson was so "in love" that he told her his secret. Sure enough: she laid the snare in which he was caught.

It's easy to judge Samson for his lusty habits. Yet, how many times have we indulged in behaviors and thoughts we know are unhealthy or unwise? How many times have we fallen to our knees to beg God for forgiveness "one more time"?

Often our greatest strength is coupled to our greatest weakness. Samson's strong body probably coursed with testosterone, making him vulnerable to physical lust. You or I might be comfortable performing in public, but secretly harbor pride and condescension of others. Those skilled in cooking may be prone to overeating. We may be storytellers inclined to gossip. (You get the picture.)

Only God can give us the will and the tools to elude sin and its consequences. Jesus came to purchase our freedom. He offers us abundant life that comes from communing with God, no sins between.

What do you (and I) need to ask God's help for today?

Read more:
*Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. Psalm 25:18

*From the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:13-14

*We intend to do what is right not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of others. 2 Corinthians 8:21

*When you were dead in trespasses, God made you alive together with Christ, when he forgave us all our trespasses. Colossians 2:13

Moravain Prayer: Christ Jesus, suffering Servant of God, we bow in utter gratitude before your cross. Thank you for lifting us from despair and showing us the way to forgiveness. We know what you require of us for right living, O Lord – kindness, justice, and humility before you. Strengthen us to live according to your instruction. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

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