Epistle to the Hebrews (11:32 [c])   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.” Hebrews 11:32

  • Barak

What the bible tells us about Barak is that he listened to Deborah the judge by taking 10000 warriors to fight against Sisera.

Once again we see the natural response of a man:

Barak told her, “I will go, but only if you go with me.”“Very well,” she replied, “I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.” Judges 4:8

Barak was a warrior and somehow feared to go alone and fight the army of Sisera. He tells to Deborah, a woman, that he will go only if she goes with him. Deborah agreed and told him that he would have no honor in this battle since the victory would be won through the leadership of a woman.

I will go, but only if you go with me

Is not that a sign of cowardice and fear? Moses also asked to have Aaron. We find in Barak the faith that God will give victory but with the fear of going alone. Barak did not need the physical strength of a woman but the spiritual presence of a godly woman. When I think about it again, it was not really cowardice but faith. The presence of Deborah on the battle field gave Barak the assurance that God was going to be with him. Deborah did not fight or do the massive work, but Barak did chase the enemies. Barak succeeded in what he did because God intervened in the battle. By his own strength he would not have won the battle. Deborah’s wisdom and closeness to God were necessary for Barak to have confidence. Many times we tell ourselves that we would do great things for God if we have a spiritual leader with us. “If God’s presence is not going to accompany me, I’ll not go” was a bit how Barak reasoned. Barak did not ask for more warriors but requested only the presence of a spiritual leader by his side. It was faith in God’s presence.

  • Samson

We have seen previously how God did miracles to make barren woman pregnant. Once again, the birth of Samson was due to God’s hand. God permitted Manoah’s wife to be pregnant. Samson was a man filled with God’s Spirit (Judges 13:24). Samson was to be entirely dedicated to God. Samson was powerful but he had a weakness – women. Many Christians who had powerful ministries crashed in their faith because of money, women and pride. Samson saw a Philistine woman and his parents tried to dissuade him from not marrying her but he was blinded by the beauty of that woman. “There are godly woman in Israel why are you looking for ungodly woman” his parents wondered. God can give you a powerful ministry where miracles happen through you. However, if you no longer submit to Him, your destruction is at the door.

Does not the book of proverbs say:

Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path.For she has been the ruin of many;many men have been her victims.Her house is the road to the grave.Her bedroom is the den of death” Proverbs 7:25-27

But still God used Samson’s weaknesses to fight against the ungodly Philistines.

Samson told his father, “Get her for me! She looks good to me.” His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time.”

Samson was eventually enticed by his wife to tell her the answer to the riddle.The wife’s response was ““You don’t love me; you hate me! You have given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”

Samson was a man who had some secrets and he did not tell them to his relatives(Judges 14:6,9,16).

Samson’s wife was pestering him with the answer to the riddle and he finally gave the answer. When the philistines knew the answer, this made Samson furious and he  killed 30 philistines and left his wife (Judges 14:19-20). It is again a good reminder that we should not unite ourselves with ungodly partners for it will lead to our downfall.

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?”

Samson eventually wanted to return to his wife but was forbidden by his father in law. This made him again furious and he destroyed their fields. This hostility between the philistines and Samson began to grow and he killed a thousand more philistines.(Judges 15:15). Samson was judge in Israel for 20 years.

Afterwards, Samson went again to the philistine town and slept with a prostitute and this was a risk he took since many men plotted to kill him when they heard he was there. Then came Delilah. Samson felt in love with her and the Philistines used the influence Delilah had on Samson to know how to defeat him. Samson knew the secret of his strength and did not want to unveil it. 3 times he led in error Delilah and defeated the philistines when they attacked him. Samson had pride in his strength and he thought he was invincible (Judges 15:17).

The bible tells us:

Then 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.”

Samson was a man who knew how to hide secrets as we saw earlier. However, because of the persistence of this ungodly woman he finally spitted out his secret to his own destruction. Samson’s hairs were cut and the Lord’s presence left him. The bible tells us:

So the Philistines captured him 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.But before long, his hair began to grow back.” Judges 16:21,22

I wondered why the author of our Epistle mentioned Samson as a man of faith. Did not he sleep with a prostitute and had 2 philistines women? Samson did fail to live a godly life. However, when he lost his strength and was deprived of his eyes he was humbled inside. I guess the time he spent in prison made him realise his unfaithfulness and sins. He was now a destroyed and useless man because of his mistakes. He could have been a mighty judge in Israel if he lived a godly life but his ungodly sexual desires led to his fall. I am quite certain he bitterly regretted his bad acts. But it was not too late to repent.

When brought in the Philistine temple, it was the second time the bible records that Samson prayed to God. The first time was when he prayed God to give him water and it came from the ground(Judges 15:19)

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.” Judges 16:28-30

Samson acknowledged that his strength was from God and that he could only crash down the temple down by God’s strength. At this very moment, Samson had faith. I believe Samson also had faith in God when he attacked the philistines, fought against a lion, asked for water and carried the Gaza gates on the top of a hill (Judges 16:3). If Samson lived a godly life, he could have accomplished more. Samson was a man of faith because he had great victories, however his sexual impulse was his Achilles’ heel. The story of Samson is a good reminder that living by faith also requires godliness. Deborah is woman who had a godly influence on Barak but Delilah was an ungodly woman who caused Samson to fall. Dear Christian, let us be cautious with whom we partner with. Ungodly relationships are poisonous to our faith in God.

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Posted June 4, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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