The story of Samson is another one of those Old Testament stories that I can’t claim to know from start to finish. We all know the story of Samson and Delilah. We all know how it ends with Samson having his final revenge on his captors by giving his life. It’s a fantastic story of intrigue and wiles and a tremendous reflection of God and how He works in ways sometimes we’re not all that comfortable with. In my last post I talked about how we as Christians have to reconcile the entirety of the Old Testament with it’s blood, gore, death, destruction and even (gasp) sex (Song of Solomon anyone?) with the general understanding we have of Jesus Christ in the New Testament and His sacrifice for us in Love, Mercy and Grace.
It’s something I’ve been recently challenged on with our young adults pastor just finished up pushing through the OT subject. It is a revealing and troubling thing when you have to start thinking critically about things most of us would rather not talk about or even deign to accept as the reality of our Faith. I always come back to the quote about Aslan from “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” when one of the animals answers a question about The Great Lion being safe by saying,
“Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Our faith is never safe. It is a rocking rolling adventure without end. If anyone tells you different, slap ‘em with a fish. Or whatever animal or vegetable you may have on hand.
And so when I look to Samson’s story it’s not a safe story. It’s a messy story. It’s violent, filled with stories of women behaving badly, men behaving badly and in the end the ultimate moment of answering to God for it all – the final curtain with Samson in the middle. And it all started quietly enough with a man named Manoah and his wife who remains nameless. Manoah’s wife has a visit from an Angel of God telling her despite her curse in not being able to have children she will indeed have a son and he’s going to save the world like Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and James Bond. Perhaps not in that order, but you get the gist.
The part that I love about this entire thing is that when his unnamed wife tells him the story Manoah takes a step in talking to God. He asks for more information and details. God sends the Angel back but Manoah doesn’t realize it’s an angel until (in typical Angel fashion) the Angel of God ascends into heaven through the blazing flames of a sacrifice the man and his wife built.
They fell with their faces to the ground and Manoah loses his mind figuring fire, brimstone and lightening are coming for them because they’ve seen God. His wife counsels them that God accepted their sacrifice as they talked to Him. They will have a son named Samson.
It all starts here in Judges chapter 13. Samson is born, grows up blessed by God and soon begins to feel the stirrings of the Spirit of the Lord. There’s plenty more of the story but the part I focused on tonight was when they talked with the Angel and by proxy – God. Manoah’s speaks plainly and simply to the Angel – something we can learn in our conversations with God. It doesn’t have to sound High and Mighty with big words and practiced sayings. It can simply be, “Dear God – I’m having/have had/going to have a helluva day.” And take it from there.
I like the challenge of talking to him face down and I’ll be giving it a whirl this week. How do you pray? What do you find helpful in drawing you closer to God?
Until tomorrow – To God be the Glory, the Honor and The Praise in all things.