Sunday, February 24, 2019

Returning to Victories

Returning to Victories
February 25, 2019
Judges 14:8 "Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he returned aside to look at the lion's carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey."

Sampson was a Nazarite, hence his long hair. Part of the Nazarite vow, besides not cutting your hair, was that you could not consume alcohol or touch a dead body. The first mention in the Bible of Sampson's strength was tearing apart a lion with his bare hands. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with Sampson killing the lion, no major sin or violation of his Nazarite vow, but that event created the opportunity for sin. Sampson was not a humble man and he slowly let the sin of pride and arrogance creep in. He slowly began to think he was invincible, and that transcended into being invincible over sin. He wasn't invincible however.

He came across the location of the lion's carcass, as he may have wanted to revel in his success over the animal. In looking at the carcass, he undoubtedly relived the moment in his mind, possibly feeling triumphant and heroic, rejoicing in the moment again. He saw that there was a swarm of bees in the carcass, not likely with flesh still on it, but a hive of bees inside the dried bones is documented. There was honey in the hive, meaning the bees had been working weeks, maybe months to produce the honey. Sampson felt he deserved some spoils from the bees and reached into the carcass to take the honey for himself. Sampson knew at that moment, in reaching into the carcass, that he was violating his Nazarite vow. He was now in sin, possibly the first time he broke his vow. The Bible documents that he did not tell his parents about the honey, demonstrating that Sampson was also now hiding his sin.

Follow his story further and you see he is now married to a Philistine woman and desperately wanted to brag about his endeavor with the lion. So he makes up a riddle, hoping to keep his sin secret still while being prideful of his victory. His wife finally gets the story out of him and tells the Philistines the meaning of the riddle, that honey came from the carcass of the dead lion. But in doing so, Sampson wasn't revealed for eating honey, his sin of violating his vow was now made public. This sets him on the path to maintaining his sin, violating all aspects of his Nazarite vow which eventually leads to his mighty strength being taken from him.

His mighty strength was taken from him, all stemming from the act of using his mighty strength over the lion. Sampson returned to that victory, but it was the start of his sin. He rejoiced in the spoils of his victory. He didn't stop there, and continued to return to his sin, all because of his success. He wasn't in sin regarding the death of the lion, but that moment of victory was enough to put Sampson on a path to hell, a path that he returned to time and again until the Lord was no longer willing to stand by his side for further victories.

Sampson returned to that victory, but it was the start of his sin. Maybe if Sampson had to reveled in the victory as his own but acknowledged it was the Lord who gave him that strength, maybe if Sampson had done that he never would have lost his strength. Was the victory over the lion Sampson's victory or the Lord's victory? Sampson made it his own victory, which lead to his sin. Sampson is not the only human in history to have physical or mental strengths and giftings. You and I have been given many abilities by the Lord, but do we revel in the success when those strengths are utilized or do we give honor to the Lord for those strengths? We both have likely made a mistake or two in regard to our strengths and victories, but do we continue in that pattern like Sampson or do we turn from our victories and turn from our sin?  Returning to your victories in life could be the most deadly thing you do.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Ex 15:8-10, Judges 14

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