God Uses Us Despite Our Flaws and Failures
Day: 38 | Plan: Joshua-Judges
Today’s Reading: Judges 14
Judges 14:6 (NIV) “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.”
I’m so grateful God included Samson’s story in the Bible because it shows us that despite our flaws and failures, God can still use us to do great things for His kingdom!
Although Samson’s life started well, it didn’t end well. And the choices he made as a young adult lead us to ask why in the world God selected Samson to lead His people.
Let’s revisit Judges 13 to glean a bit about Samson’s start. God Himself announced Samson’s birth and established a call on his life. He gave him devout parents. God blessed him and as a child Scripture says “the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him” (Judges 13:25a). God also set Samson apart from birth to be a Nazirite, meaning no wine, no contact with dead bodies and no haircuts. (Numbers 6:1-21)
With this most blessed beginning, how could Samson’s life not end well, right? But from early adulthood, Samson made unholy, ungodly choices, consistently choosing his way over God’s.
First, he chose to marry a Philistine woman, even though Hebrew law forbid such marriages. Samson chose to do what was right in his own eyes, thereby dishonoring God, his heritage and his parents.
Second, in his travels to see his bride-to-be, Samson killed a young lion with his bare hands. At one point, Samson returned to the lion’s carcass, found it filled with bees and honey, scooped up the honey and ate it. By so doing, Samson defiled himself because he violated his Nazirite vow, which forbid any contact with dead bodies.
Samson’s sins only increased with age.
Yet, tucked in Samson’s story, we discover compelling truths about how God manages sin in our lives. God knew the sin lurking in Samson’s heart. He knew Samson would be more interested in satisfying his fleshly desires than in fulfilling his spiritual calling.
But, Samson’s sin could not thwart God’s plans. In fact, God used Samson’s sin for His purposes. First, Samson’s choice for his wife played a part in God’s plan for him: “… this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines, for at that time they were ruling over Israel” (Judges 14:4b). Samson’s bride-to-be opened the door for Samson to fraternize with and confront the Philistines.
Second, God’s hand appeared again in Samson’s encounter with the lion. In the moment of attack, “the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon [Samson]” (Judges 14:6a) enabling him to tear the lion apart with his bare hands. God infused Samson with power to build his confidence and ensure Samson that when he needed exceptional strength in the future to battle the Philistines, he had it.
It’s important we know that God working through Samson did not validate his sinful choices. God used Samson despite his failings. God purposed from birth that Samson would play a role in delivering His people from bondage to the Philistines. And that is exactly what God did. Samson was an unwilling instrument God used to accomplish His purposes.
Samson’s story encourages me that God will do the same for us. He will use us despite our flaws and failures. But, when we willingly choose to follow and obey Him, He will use us in even mightier ways.
Let’s close today celebrating the grace and mercy of our God who uses the weak, the selfish, even the wicked, to weave His divine purposes into the tapestry of human history.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the story of Samson. Like Samson, I often choose my own way. I seek what I want. Help me overcome my fleshly desire to satisfy self so that I can fulfill Your will and follow Your leading in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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