Wednesday, July 18, 2007

He may be seeking an occasion

"Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So he came back and told his father and mother, "I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife."Then his father and his mother said to him, "Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she looks good to me. However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel." Judges 14:1 - 4

Samson, a declared Nazarite from birth, goes against the command of Deuteronomy 7:3 "You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons." He sees this unnamed woman, and she 'looked good to him.' Samson's father and mother indirectly plead for him to not take a wife from the Philistines. Need they remind him who the Philistines are!? Yes - that would be one of their numero uno enemies The ones ruling over them!

Samson throws a feast in celebration of his father going to get this woman and decides to pose a riddle. If anyone was able to answer it, Samson would give thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes (uhm....some really cool party favors! lol. Okay - totally kidding. Sorry). Four days pass, and the guests are stumped. They approach Samson's wife asking her to 'entice' her husband, that she may find out the answer to the riddle, and then let them know. Through her weeping (talk about the manipulation and influence of a woman), Samson eventually discloses it to her. She shares the answer to the guests.

Samson, realizing that they only knew the answer because they had asked his wife to entice him, kills 30 men. And that is just the beginning.

God take one small intermarriage and uses it to oppose His peoples' enemy. You will find that Samson's wife is later given to his good friend (They were clearly not thinking about the possible repercussions of that move.) As a result, Samson destroys the wheat fields of the Philistines. The Philistines, not so happy about their loss of grain, took revenge upon Samson by burning his wife and father-in-law's house down, with them inside.

Samson flees and encounters the men of Judah. The men of Judah, not wanting to get in trouble with their enemy who was ruling over them, return him back to the Philistine bound by rope. Samson breaks free of his binding ropes by the Spirit of the Lord, and kills 1,000 of the Philistines. Later, he is captured again when his second wife betrays him. The result? The Philistines bind him, gouge out both of his eyes, and force him to entertain them one night while they are praising their god Dagon. Never one to quit, Samson makes a move one last time, lifting up the pillars that sustain the house, bending them, and causing the house to fall on him and all of the 3,000 Philistines inside it to death.

God was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. (14:4). He wanted to deliver His chosen people from the ones who were falsely ruling over them. Did you catch how the LORD sought this occasion? Don't miss it dear one. He used what looked like a bad idea to Samson's mother and father (the intermarriage) to begin the process. He also used betrayal (two different times by both of Samson's wife). He used it again when the men of Judah allowed fear to be the motivator of their decision. Samson being in their 'world,' was a threat to their own personal safety for they knew the Philistines would come looking for him. Thus, Samson allows himself to be bind in rope by them and returned to the Philistines. Again, and again, and again, Samson's life is allowed by the sovereign, yet permissible will of God, to enter into the hands of those who were his enemies, so that God could be the ultimate Avenger and Redeemer for His people.

Too often I am afraid we stand with mouths gaped open in shock like Samson's mother and father, worried about a circumstance that looks horrific externally. Or maybe we are like the men of Judah who want to keep our spiritual bubbles 'just so,' and any threat to the way we run ministry, the way we like life, the way we see God, we just bind in ropes and toss back to the enemy.

Sister...your betrayal, or the ropes He's allowed your circumstances to be bound under, may be the exact vessels He is using to seek an occasion against your enemy. For the sin, stronghold, or addiction that is 'ruling over you,' you may feel like He's turned you over to them just as he allowed Samson to be turned over to his enemies. He may just have (Romans 1:24)...but if I could grab your sweet face in my hands to tell you that it could be for your ultimate victory in Christ, I would. When we are given over to the unsatisfying and sickening life of depravity (the enemy of our flesh), God can ultimately use it for our good. It may be that He has allowed you to feel the mud of that pit, or the tightness of those binding ropes, so that you will know that He Himself is orchestrating your freedom behind the scenes so that He can be a Mighty Deliverer to you. He is only waiting for you to cry out to Him.

Perhaps, the most profound thing to me about the life of Samson was that he desired even to die, so that he could kill the greatest number of Philistines possible by doing so. "So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life." (16:30). Could it be that God is asking you to die (to the sinful nature of your flesh ) so that He can truly act upon the occasion He has long been seeking to destroy your enemies? I am sure that with the crucifixion of our flesh, God is readily more available to kill your enemies. And it is in death my sweet sister, that He raises you up with resurrection power. Let Him seek an occasion in your precious life.That rejection, that manipulation, and that death may really be the occasion He is using to give you a life of liberty.


Lindsee said...

I know there are things in my life that need to "die!"

Thank you for your sweet reminder, once again.

Getting IN the Word and being with my father is the # 1 place I need to be. And one I haven't been in a while. I think it's time for some me and God time.

Oh, how I long to love HIM even more!

Shelly, you never cease to encourage me! I am going to bed with a thankful heart for you tonight!! :)


Sharon said...

"That rejection, that manipulation, and that death may really be the occasion He is using to give you a life of liberty."

He has so used rejection in my life to teach me to keep my eyes on His face for the approval I need. I had really been taught as a young girl that people pleasing was very important. My parents in the ministry taught me this lesson.
But God has used some situations with people to show me that He is breaking me of that stronghold.
It used to take me months to get over the rejections and mean words.
Now it hurts but I am quickly turning the pain over to God and looking in to His sweet face to see if their words hold truth or lies.
Good lessons. Thank ya girl!

Jen the Newlywed said...

Hey Sweet Shelly,
Ya know what? These past few weeks when you've been sharing what you've been learning in the Word, you've inspired me! I realized that I haven't spent alot of time in the Old Testament as much lately. (I've been buried in Hebrews) but I am now in the final chapters of 1 Samuel. Girl, that little shepherd boy David was up against alot. Saul was just eaten up by jealousy! Thank you for inspiring me to get back into the "Old School" stuff, haha! (Also, I loved your comment about the linen as party favors. HOLLA!)

jennyhope said...

thank you for your sweet comment. I am really doing good but the hardest thing is that she is still my child when others forget or didn't act like it happened. I will never forget her and while the pain has eased I just want to remember her...
I learned so much through that it is not even funny! my heart breaks for people who can't have children or have lost a child...
What would the condition of my heart have been had that been it for me and the Lord had not blessed me with Morgan. I am sure I would have gone on with Him but I can't imagine the devastation some people have gone through. Grace girl!!!

jennyhope said...

I just love you girl! And about the takes like an hour to even get it tame! I am wasting a lot of time with the do! I love Morgans little outfits myself. I am like why cant they make this is my size?

I need a Chi for the Chia!! ha ha

mandy said...

oh girl.......

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog and having finally decided that I had to post something. (I may even try to get a blog going myself.) Thank you so much for all you share through this website.

I graduated from Tech about 10 years ago and when I look back on those years, I realize that God was watching out for me even when I was being so rebellious and selfish. Recently, I have felt like God is calling me to go back there and somehow be a mentor to young women there. To remind them that God does love them, and they don't have to conform to feel accepted. God is so awesome and wants so badly to be a part of our every day happenings. I want to see other Tech women allow God to be in control of your life.

Thank you for encouraging me with the words that God continues to give you.


Oh yeah, I'll be at the preconference for the Women of Faith in August too. Maybe we'll bump into each other. Now that would be a God thing, huh?

Shelly said...

Anonymous (Tonya) - This is the only way I know how to say 'hello' back to you and I'm so glad you posted! I like knowing who the women are that I get to share this fun and crazy blog world journey with!
And if you think Jesus is leading, I say GO FOR IT (starting a blog)!!!
AND, seriously let me know if you'd just liked to be plugged in to students' lives at Tech. The ministry I was a part of for years there (incredible) is intentional about connecting students with those a little older and LOVES even their powerful presence at our weekly events. So even if you don't feel led to mentor right away, your face is still a powerful presence in their eyes!
Thank you for sharing some of your story. I praise Him for His protective grace over our lives.

Profbaugh said...

Oh Shelly,

Thanks so much for this post. Tears are streaming down my face as I type this. Guess it's a good thing there's no webcam on blogs! God is so wonderul, tender and restoritive. And best of all, I don't deserve a bit of it but He provides that grace anyway. I'm just lovin' my Jesus right now.

Crazy for Christ,

Sam McClure said...

thanks for sharing this!

NspiredByFaith said...

Awesome post, Shelly.

Jeremy & Heather said...

Saw some of your comments on LPM and thought I'd jump over and say hi. Awesome post!

ang baylis said...

You really are amazing! I am in awe with what He is doing through you! You continue to be such an inspiration and encourager!

Thank you!

Military Mommy said...

Wow. I will have to come back and digest some more of this. That was an awesome post. : ) Thank you for sharing what is on your heart. I look forward to visiting again.

Hugs, Michelle

jennyhope said...

I think all verses are our faves girlfriend! Thank you for your sweet comments! Waiting to see how God moves in your life!!

connorcolesmom said...

Again God has just smacked me across the face with this one!! God is trying to use me for Women's Misistry and I am trying to hold onto my flesh that is full of fear and comfort in my current place. I want so badly to say no to leading Bible study and just attend one. I want so badly to sit on the back row and listen!! However that is not His plan and I need to remember that God can take my life and all of my bad choices and use them to defeat the enemy. I just have to be obedient!! I could go on and on ...
Thank you for the wonderful post!!
I love you siesta,

The Cooke Family said...

What a great post! In regards to your last post, I know God will provide for you to go to seminary, because He has obviously gifted you! You should not sit on that! You have much wisdom for a young girl - I think you may be the next Beth Moore. : ) said...

Thank you for another thought provoking message. Bless you.


jennyhope said...

your comment about made me wet myself! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!
I have laughed until I cried over that one!!

Little Steps Of Faith said...


Girl you are truley awesome. Your words definitely take on a little " Beth Moore"(get a slight headache lol), but I do love reading:)
I would love to go to seminary as well, a little down the road though, my one passion at this time is to finish my degree to teach the young...who knows where that will take me.
I am SO glad I am getting a chance to know you:)

Take care Sweet Siesta:)

angelina:-)(my friends call me)

Linda said...

YES! A resounding yes! He has used the pit to reach/teach me, "help" me to cry out in desperation. and thanks for the sweet comment about my shoes. I was all set to overnight them, until you said "just kidding." Just kidding. :)

Lyndy said...

Awsome post. Thanks for the reminder to all of us.

Have a blessed weekend.


Christina said...

Loved this post! Very inspiring! Thanks for the comments on my blog...they mean so much. ((HUGS))

sammie said...

Great post! It hit the spot.

jennyhope said...

thought you would like this:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Reassured by the Word of the Lord, the poor trembling citizens of Zion grew bold and shook their heads at Sennacherib's boastful threats. Strong faith enables the servants of God to look with calm contempt upon their most haughty foes. We know that our enemies are attempting impossibilities. They seek to destroy eternal life, which cannot die while Jesus lives-to overthrow the citadel, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. They kick against the goads to their own wounding and defiantly charge against God to their own hurt.
We know their weakness. What are they but men? And what is man but a worm? They roar and swell like waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame. When the Lord arises, they shall fly as chaff before the wind and be consumed as crackling thorns. Their utter powerlessness to do damage to the cause of God and His truth may make the weakest soldiers in Zion's ranks laugh them to scorn.
Above all, we know that the Most High is with us, and when He clothes Himself in armor, where are His enemies? If He comes forth from His place, the fragments of the earth will not long contend with their Maker. His rod of iron shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel, and their very remembrance shall perish from the earth. Away, then, all fears-the kingdom is safe in the King's hands. Let us shout for joy, for the Lord reigns, and His foes shall be as straw for compost.
As true as God's own word is true;
Nor earth, nor hell, with all their crew,
Against us shall prevail.
A jest, and byword, are they grown;
God is with us, we are his own,
Our victory cannot fail.

Please note: Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright (c) 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth for Life with written permission. Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible: English Standard Version, copyright (c) 2001, Good News Publishers.

Anonymous said...

Loved your last post! Amazing!
It always great to meet other people who love the Lord!

Sacchiel said...

Thanks for the teaching!

connorcolesmom said...

Thank you for your encouraging comment :)
I have chosen to be obedient but my flesh would rather take the easy way out. God continues to remind me that He has a plan for me and it is not about me anyway but how my testimony gives Him glory!!
Dying to my flesh everyday is the only way to bring Him glory and I so want God to be in Heaven proud of me!!!
Love ya siesta,