Derailing God’s Purpose?

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by Fadingman, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. …you will conceive and give birth to a son. You must never cut his hair, because the boy will be a Nazirite to God from birth, and he will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.
    - Judges 13:5 (HCSB)

    Then his brothers and his father’s family came down, carried him back, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. So he judged Israel 20 years.
    - Judges 16:31 (HCSB)

    Sandwiched between these two verses is the story of the life of Samson. It began with a promise that God would use him to start to deliver the Israelites from their enemies, and it ended with the destruction of the rulers of the Philistines after having judged Israel for 20 years.

    Samson was a miracle child, given to Manoah and his barren wife. He was to be holy, a Nazarite, dedicated to the Lord all the days of his life. His physical strength, supernaturally given to him by the Lord, was tied to one aspect of his dedication: his hair was to remain uncut.

    According to Numbers 6:1-21, a Nazarite was someone who made a special promise to the Lord, and lived for a time in a manner that set himself apart to God. He (or she) could not eat or drink anything of the fruit of the grape vine. He could not come near a corpse, and he had to let his hair grow the entire time of his separation. When the term of his vow was complete, he would shave off all the hair of his body, which would then be offered as a burnt offering, symbolizing the giving over of that period of his life to the Lord. If something happened to interrupt the vow, such as inadvertant contact with a dead body, then the Nazarite’s hair would have to be shaved off, a sin offering and burnt offering made, and the time of the vow started over again from scratch. (Think about the Philistines cutting of Samson’s hair in light of this.)

    As a Nazarite, Samson was unusual. He was born into the condition involuntarily – he made no vow, and the term of his separation was for his entire life. Considering how he lived, I wonder if he despised being set apart from birth.

    Samson was to live in a manner holy to the Lord – his strength depended on it. And yet, in some ways he was worse than the countrymen he was intended to save. He lived for his own pleasure. He ate honey out of a lion’s corpse. He married a Philistine woman against the advice of his parents. He slept with a prostitute. He let another Philistine woman seduce him into compromising the secret of his strength. Samson lived a very unholy life. It appeared that God’s purpose for Samson had been derailed. And yet, in spite of Samson’s failure, God’s purpose was fulfilled – not just at the end, but throughout his whole life.

    We are told in Judges 14:4 that it was of God that Samson demanded to have a Philistine woman as wife. God was “seeking an occasion against the Philistines” – to cause them trouble. The honey incident was an integral part of God’s plan, for it formed the basis of the riddle Samson gave to his enemies, eventually leading to his killing 30 Philistine men under the Spirit of the Lord (Judges 14:19), then causing more trouble for them throughout the next chapter.

    Most of the things Samson did were very wrong, and yet God still worked through him to accomplish His purposes. More than that, God knew the kind of life Samson would live, and yet He still chose him from the beginning. God used Samson in spite of his weaknesses.

    Samson was not unique. What I learn from this story and others is the absolute surity of God fulfilling His purposes, even though He uses the most imperfect people. Just think about the weaknesses of the patriarchs, or even Jonah. Nothing they did thwarted God’s plan to the slightest degree.

    Bringing this truth forward to the present, I know that there is nothing I can do to screw up whatever purposes God has planned for me. He always gets His way. I may suffer the consequences of my sins, and others may suffer wrongly for my sins, but no matter what I do, I can’t derail God’s purpose.
  2. I think of Job and Joseph as well; especially this verse comes to mind:

    But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
    Genesis 50:20

    Joseph bestowing forgiveness on his brothers for selling him into slavery and having to endure prison.

    And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
    Romans 8:28
  3. God uses the "lemon" situations for the greater good: That doesn't give us license to be lemon growers.
  4. God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect will.
  5. Those are the only kind of people available to God. Hebrews 1:1 says He used human prophets to speak to the Israelites. I would think angels to have been more qualified, but God didn't.

    I think God uses imperfect and sinful people to show off His power - His sovereignty.
  6. He does use the meek and foolish to confound the wise of this world; since God's foolishness is wiser than the wise of this world...
  7. I don't think God "shows off" at all...He uses the weak who turn to Him...It's about love and mercy, IMO, not power, authority or royal force.

    If this is true, than the Father is just like Jesus :

  8. Perhaps the lesson here is: the 'meek' are more willing to surrender to His will versus the prideful?
  9. Theoretically, yes....But then there is Paul and millions of other "non-meek" who came face-to-face with His love and mercy.They succumbed to love, not might.

    My point is that God Father is like Jesus is: Not a braggart, not using His "majesty, force or power" to get His way...But by much more effective means...."love begets love".
  10. But Saul did submit; he surrendered in the presence of the LORD (immediately). I was not trying to imply God forcing anyone; pointing out the human side of the equation: willingness to submit.
  11. Yes and your point is right....However, I doubt if Paul truly submitted out of terror or show of power...(although he clearly was shocked!) but out of the communications Jesus had with him, the deep revelations Jesus unfolded to him. Re-read Acts 9 to get the fullest picture.
  12. I think we are on a road of over analysis; and 'derailing' the thread.
  13. I don't really think so: Fadingman's Op is that God's will prevails in using weak humans (of course). but then suggests:

    I don't agree with this as His motive or method.

    Not derailing at all......God prevails because He shows love and mercy to sinners, not overpowering them.
  14. I don't deny God was also showing His love and mercy through Samson. God usually reveals more than one of His attributes at times. But I was focusing on His sovereignty, and using Samson as one example.
  15. Could you explain how you think the life of Samson "shows off" God's sovereignty?
  16. It should be quite clear in the OP, but if not, Judges 2:16, Nehemiah 9:27, and Acts 13:20 say God raised up the judges (including Samson) to deliver His people from their oppressors. In Judges 13:3-5, God determined he would be a Nazarite from birth. In Judges 13:25, God began to move Samson by His Spirit. In the end, God answered Samson's prayer for strength in Judges 16:28-30.

    In all this, God used Samson to help deliver Israel from the Philistines. It was a sure thing.
  17. Thank you...Why do you think God's sovereignty is recorded in the manner it was, with Samson's betrayal of God's orders for him to stay pure and away from sin?
  18. I know very little why God works the way He does. To me, I see no need for Samson to have been a Nazarite at all; God could have just given him supernatural strength to deal with the Philistines.

    ...well, maybe he was a Nazarite to publicly show God chose him from birth for his purpose. I don't know.

    As a Nazarite, much more was required of Samson. But when he sinned, God still used him, so he received much more grace.

    I think God's sovereignty was recorded in this way because we understand things better when we are shown something rather than just told something, especially when we are shown using a more extreme example. We can have a doctrinal understanding of the attributes of God, but when we see how those attributes play out in someone's life (especially in our own life), we begin to see who He is much more clearly. We understand grace better, not when we see the 'righteous' receive grace, but when we see the wicked receive grace (Paul, for example, or Joseph's brothers). We understand God's power when we see Him consume a sacrifice and altar that has been drenched with water. Etc. More extreme examples help us see better.

    In terms of sovereignty, human kings are sovereign to a limited degree. From a human standpoint, they only have power because others in their kingdom support their rule and enforce their decrees. God's sovereignty does not require any external support. He doesn't rely on man or angels to retain control of His kingdom. To show this, there are various examples throughout the Bible of God working in spite of the majority of man's sin or antagonism to Him - things that would quickly strip away the veneer of superficial sovereignty for a human ruler. In Samson's case, we see God work with an imperfect man, so we understand He can work with us, too.

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