It's been many years since I have included some purpose profiles from the Bible in the Monday Memo. I am considering doing a Purpose Heroes series for my 2016 daily devotional, so this may be a good way to get into that flow of thinking for next year by doing the profiles again for the next few weeks. Let's start with Samson.
Samson was one of the most unusual characters in the Bible. There is one verse that gives me great hope when I consider Samson’s life and it is found in Hebrews 11:32: “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson.” What is so encouraging about this verse? The fact that Samson is mentioned at all in Hebrews 11, which lists the heroes of the faith, gives me hope. If Samson made it and pleased God, then so can I! What’s more, so can you!
Samson was less than perfect, to say the least. Yet he pleased God in faith, as a man of purpose. I’m going to assume you know Samson’s story. If not, then please take time now to read about him in Judges 13:24-16:31 (Even if you know his story, you may want to stop and read it again before you go on.). There are three points I would like to make concerning Samson’s life of purpose and hopefully you can apply them to your own PurposeQuest.
- God is often leading you and you don’t even know it. “Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, "I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife." His father and mother replied, "Isn't there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me. She's the right one for me." (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.) (Judges 14:1-4). Samson’s family didn’t understand what was going on and, for that matter, neither did Samson. But God was leading Samson, positioning him right where God wanted him to be so he could do what the Lord wanted him to do. It may not seem like God is leading you, but He is! When you feel like God isn’t there, that’s not the time to trust less, but more. Put your hope in the God of your purpose and move on.
- Your past may hold a key to your quest. “Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power 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. Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her. Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion's carcass. In it was a swarm of bees and some honey, which he scooped out with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion's carcass” (Judges 14:5-9). Samson did something that he thought was gone and forgotten. Yet when he returned to it, even though it was “dead,” it brought forth something sweet, which fed both him and his parents. What is in your past that you thought was dead? Is it a failure, or something you enjoyed doing but don’t do anymore. Perhaps it’s time to revisit that and see if there is something sweet there. Very often simple or overlooked things from your past provide a key for your present PurposeQuest.
- It’s never too late. While they were in high spirits, they shouted, "Bring out Samson to entertain us." So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, "Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them." Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the Lord, "O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes." Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived (Judges 16:25-30). Samson was a miserable failure, or so it seemed. He was defeated, blinded and forced to perform for his enemies. Yet he prayed and God heard him, and Samson literally brought the house down at his last performance! He fulfilled his purpose to the end, proving it’s never too late to pursue or fulfill purpose.
So what about you? What lessons can you learn from Samson’s life? How can you apply them to your current PurposeQuest? Is it time to trust God this week even thought it seems like nothing is happening in your life? Is it time to reevaluate your past and see if there is anything there that can still yield something useful? Have you given up, feeling like it’s too late to be a person of purpose? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then take out a piece of paper and start writing. Put down your thoughts and study Samson’s life, recording your thoughts from that as well. Then use Samson’s profile to encourage yourself in your own PurposeQuest. If Samson made it, so can you. Don't abandon the quest. and have a great week!