The Benefits of Cultivating Our Relationship With the Lord Daily
Shep Johnson
Sunday, March 5, 2017

Before Samson was born he was dedicated to the Lord by his parents to be a lifelong Nazarite.  He was to live a holy life, to not cut his hair, to avoid touching dead bodies or anything that would render him unclean, to abstain from all wine and strong drink, and to remain dedicated to the Lord God all his life.  Samson was made a judge in Israel and served in that capacity for 20 years.

  As long as the Spirit of the Lord rested upon Samson, he exhibited superhuman strength and was a mighty warrior.  But Samson did not honor his Nazarite vow.  He pursued pleasure instead of pursuing a deep relationship with God.  Eventually his archenemies, the Philistines, plotted to uncover the secret of his great strength and destroy him.

  The Bible says in Judges 16:4-31 (NLT) that Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek.  Delilah was no worshiper of God and she was deceitful in character.

  The Bible says, “The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, ‘Entice Samson to tell you what makes him so strong and how he can be overpowered and tied up securely. Then each of us will give you 1,100 pieces of silver.’”

  “So Delilah said to Samson, ‘Please tell me what makes you so strong and what it would take to tie you up securely.’  Samson replied, ‘If I were tied up with seven new bowstrings that have not yet been dried, I would become as weak as anyone else.’  So the Philistine rulers brought Delilah seven new bowstrings, and she tied Samson up with them.  She had hidden some men in one of the inner rooms of her house, and she cried out, ‘Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!’ But Samson snapped the bowstrings as a piece of string snaps when it is burned by a fire. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.”

  Again and again Delilah tried to entice Samson into revealing the secret of his strength but Samson resisted.

  The Bible says “Delilah pouted, ‘How can you tell me, “I love you,” when you don’t share your secrets with me? You’ve made fun of me three times now, and you still haven’t told me what makes you so strong!’  She tormented him with her nagging day after day until he was sick to death of it.  Finally, Samson shared his secret with her. ‘My hair has never been cut,’ he confessed, ‘for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else.’”

  “Delilah realized he had finally told her the truth, so she sent for the Philistine rulers. ‘Come back one more time,’ she said, ‘for he has finally told me his secret.’ So the Philistine rulers returned with the money in their hands.  Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him.”

  “Then she cried out, ‘Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!’ When he woke up, he thought, ‘I will do as before and shake myself free.’ But he didn’t realize the LORD had left him.”

  “So the Philistines captured Samson and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison.”

  Samson had shown contempt for the presence of God and the Nazarite vow under which he was to live.  As a result the Bible says, “the LORD left him.”  The Lord withdrew His blessing from Him.  And Samson was blinded, humiliated, and placed in chains.

  Sin has a powerful potential to rob us of the blessing of God.  While we cannot lose our salvation, we can experience the withdrawal of God’s favor.  When we fall into profound compromise and sin, God remains present in our life, but His manifest presence is withdrawn.  In other words, God continues to abide in our hearts but He no longer manifests His gracious blessings in our lives.  That’s what happened to Samson.  And the same can happen to us.

  As believers we must maintain a guard on our hearts.  We must cultivate our relationship with the Lord daily.  We must seek His face continually and then say “No” to little and big sins alike.  Only then can we experience the manifest presence of God and the power for righteous living our great God affords.

  Brother Shep