I've been reading through Judges and have come across the story of Samson. Now, many of us probably know about Samson and Delilah and that he had unbelievable strength because of his long hair. That's about as much as I've really noticed before.
Reading this account again, he seems like a man sure of what he wants and determined to get it. Take for instance the circumstances regarding his wife - His parents don't seem too sure about him marrying a Philistine woman, but eventually they agree - it seems Samson is quite persistent and determined about what he wants.
Let's rewind a bit - Samson is a miracle child whose birth was foretold to his parents before his Mum was pregnant, in fact she was known to be a barren woman, but gets an amazing promise that she will have a child who will begin to free Israel from oppression from the Philistines. Then, fast forward a few years and Samson wants to marry a Philistine woman - yes, a woman from the enemy. No wonder his parents weren't too keen! However, Samson seems quite determined once he decides to do something, and he managed to persuade them to allow it to happen, so they go to meet her.
This section of scripture is about when Samson and his parents went out to meet his soon to be wife:
'Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.'
There are a couple of bits that struck me, 'he had nothing in his hand' he had NOTHING, no tool, no weapon, nothing with which to defend himself when a lion came towards him - how terrifying that would of been! I don't know about you, but I'd be legging it in the opposite direction or trying to find a tree to get out of the way, but Samson, determined as ever, stands his ground, and he manages to tear it apart! That is incredible! It is only because, 'the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him' that he was able to do it, what incredible, super strength is available through the Holy Spirit! Samson had the guts to stand up and fight his enemy, which was about to destroy him, and God helped him in the battle. Sometimes we need to be prepared to stand up and fight before we see God step in.
What also struck me is what it says next, 'he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done'. Now, I don't know about you, but if I'd just defeated a lion or overcome a massive obstacle or challenge in my life- I'd let people know about it!
Samson keeps silent.
In fact he meets up with his parents, just afterwards and they don't even notice anything different about him - no hair out of place, no massive grin spread across his face, he's not skipping with joy. It's as if nothing uncommon has happened here. Just an everyday occurrence, battling a lion!
What humility Samson demonstrates.
He is not full of pride, he doesn't brag, he carries on in gentle humility.
He must of acknowledged to himself that this was an incredible feat, but he doesn't let it go to his head.
That's where we sometimes go wrong. Instead of acknowledging that we've been given unusual; grace, favour, strength or knowledge in situations, we can sometimes accept that we have done such a wonderful thing that WE end up being praised rather than the one who helps us. Samson seems to of got it right here. He knows what he's done, but he doesn't need other people's acclamation, adoration or approval to know who he is and what he's capable of.
He is content with knowing who he is and what God can do with him.
Later on, Samson even has opportunity to boast when he finds honey in the carcass, but he still keeps quiet about it all. He knows. That's enough.
When we achieve great things, when we overcome amazing obstacles, help people in need or gain what seems to be impossible we should ask ourselves; do I need to tell anyone about it?
If we are sharing our successes, is it about us? Is it about us getting approval, acclamation or adoration?
What is the purpose of sharing even the amazing feats God performs in us?
Samson's parents knew who he was, they knew his strength and that he had an amazing purpose. Samson didn't need to tell them this amazing feat in order for them to believe in him, they already did. They already know the amazing power and benefit of following God.
I ask you to consider Samson, and consider who your stories need to be told to. Are they to puff you up? is it because you feel proud or desire praise in wanting to share your successes? Consider the humility of Samson, make sure you are keep your lion defeating moments to honour God. The Bible tells us in the New Testament that those who boast about their generosity, how faithful they are etc have, 'received their reward in full', make sure you're not receiving all your rewards now, and save some up in heaven.