PROVE YOUR FAITH
4. So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food.
5. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.”
Judges 13:4–5 NLT
Today’s Passage is another small slice of the Story of Sampson that I am isolating so I can make a particular point. I want to look at each portion individually to ensure I can present the proper perspective on all that happened without missing any pertinent details.
An “Angel of the Lord” has appeared and told a barren woman that she is going to have a son. Seeing that she could not conceive, this must have been a startling and welcomed revelation. However, as is so often the case with God, nothing He provides comes without a cost.
The Price of our Salvation was paid with Christ’s Blood. Israel’s freedom from Egypt cost Pharoah’s pride. Our ticket to Heaven costs a little bit of self-denial and a lot of Faith in Jesus’ Ability to Redeem us through His Sacrifice. God’s existence doesn’t mean science is wrong. Newton’s Third Law still applies; every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For the most part, that goes for dealings with God as well.
However, what God does, is take an impossible situation, apply his Power, and things change. A studdering murderer becomes the leader of God’s people. Jesus’s Death and Resurrection transforms our lives from the wrecks they were to things of beauty. A new Judge is born to free the people of Israel from the savage lash of their oppressors, the Philistines.
Each of those situations was altered by God’s intervention, but each required a specific course of action for the benefits to impact their intended recipient. All of that to say, there are constraints, prerequisites, and conditions to God’s Blessings. He doesn’t just toss them out indiscriminately. There is a strategy and a refinement to His decisions that cannot be denied.
At the same time, He needs to ensure that the individuals who receive His Miraculous Favor appreciate what they are receiving. He does that with these strictures, without which we will not receive even the things intended for us. Are you following me? God Provides Miracles sometimes, but He also has to make sure we appreciate them.
He does this through many means. The one He employed with Sampson’s mother was the Vow of a Nazarite. That meant that his mother could not drink alcohol or eat anything related to grape vines while pregnant, nor could the child eat or drink anything unclean, cut his hair, or touch the dead. It was a stricture that was required for the Blessing to be enjoyed. Seems fair, right?
But let’s take a closer look at what was being asked here. Yes, God asked Sampson’s mother to perform certain actions to gain the thing she’d always wanted. However, even today’s medical science recognizes the benefits of abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy. This child was to be the “savior” of Isreal; he had to be strong. It is a medical fact that drinking even a modest amount of alcohol during pregnancy can have harmful effects on the child.
God knows what He is doing. If He asks for us to do things that seem weird to us so we can get what we’re asking for, do you think He might have a plan in mind? See, here’s the thing, we ask Him for stuff, then get mad when He says, “Yes, but here’s what I need you to do.”
So, often we’re like, “What? I have to DO something to get this amazing thing that I don’t deserve? What a joke! I thought you were Powerful!” Really?!! We talk to the Gift Giver like He owes us something. Our attitudes tell it all, regardless of what we actually say to Him. Some of us get the power dynamic but still forget the division of labor!
He did all the heavy lifting. If He expects a little compliance so we can glean our dreams, is that too much to ask? If so, don’t expect anything from God. He’s not a vending machine. Sometimes, to get the deepest desires of our hearts, God will test our resolve. Do you really want what you’re praying for? How far are you willing to go to prove it?
Have a Thought-Provoking Thursday And Remember, Sometimes Our Prayers Are Answered Through Hard Work; Other Times, It Is A God-Performed Miracle Activated Through Self-Denial.