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Friday, July 1, 2011

Separation


…Separation…

(Judges 13:2-25)  2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 3 And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not; but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: 5 for, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come upon his head; for the child shall be a Nazirite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of the angel of God, very terrible; and I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: 7 but he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazirite unto God from the womb to the day of his death.
8 Then Manoah entreated Jehovah, and said, Oh, Lord, I pray thee, let the man of God whom thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. 9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and told her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. 11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. 12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass: what shall be the ordering of the child, and how shall we do unto him? 13 And the angel of Jehovah said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. 14 She may not eat of anything that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; all that I commanded her let her observe.
15 And Manoah said unto the angel of Jehovah, I pray thee, let us detain thee, that we may make ready a kid for thee. 16 And the angel of Jehovah said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread; and if thou wilt make ready a burnt-offering, thou must offer it unto Jehovah. For Manoah knew not that he was the angel of Jehovah. 17 And Manoah said unto the angel of Jehovah, What is thy name, that, when thy words come to pass, we may do thee honor? 18 And the angel of Jehovah said unto him, Wherefore askest thou after my name, seeing it is wonderful? 19 So Manoah took the kid with the meal-offering, and offered it upon the rock unto Jehovah: and the angel did wondrously, and Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of Jehovah ascended in the flame of the altar: and Manoah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 But the angel of Jehovah did no more appear to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Jehovah. 22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 23 But his wife said unto him, If Jehovah were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering and a meal-offering at our hand, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would at this time have told such things as these.
24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and Jehovah blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of Jehovah began to move him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. [1]

“…Separation.  Unto God was Samson separated for this was the lot of the Nazirite.  A Naz´arite, more properly Naz´irite (one separated), one of either sex who was bound by a vow of a peculiar kind to be set apart from others for the service of God. The obligation was either for life or for a defined time. There is no notice in the Pentateuch of Nazarites for life; but the regulations for the vow of a Nazarite of days are given Num. 6:1-21. The Nazarite, during the term of his consecration, was bound to abstain from wine, grapes, with every production of the vine, and from every kind of intoxicating drink. He was forbidden to cut the hair of his head, or to approach any dead body, even that of his nearest relation. When the period of his vow was fulfilled, he was brought to the door of the tabernacle, and was required to offer a he lamb for a burnt offering, a ewe lamb for a sin offering, and a ram for a peace offering, with the usual accompaniments of peace offerings, Lev. 7:12, 13, and of the offering made at the consecration of priests. Ex. 29:2; Num. 6:15. He brought also a meat offering and a drink offering, which appear to have been presented by themselves as a distinct act of service. ver. 17. He was to cut off the hair of “the head of his separation” (that is, the hair which had grown during the period of his consecration) at the door of the tabernacle, and to put it into the fire under the sacrifice on the altar. Of the Nazarites for life three are mentioned in the Scriptures—Samson, Samuel, and St. John the Baptist. The only one of these actually called a Nazarite is Samson. We do not know whether the vow for life was ever voluntarily taken by the individual. In all the cases mentioned in the sacred history, it was made by the parents before the birth of the Nazarite himself. The consecration of the Nazarite bore a striking resemblance to that of the high priest. Lev. 21:10-12. The meaning of the Nazarite vow has been regarded in different lights. It may be regarded as an act of self-sacrifice. That it was essentially a sacrifice of the person to the Lord is obviously in accordance with the terms of the law. Num. 6:2. As the Nazarite was a witness for the straitness of the law, as distinguished from the freedom of the gospel, his sacrifice of himself was a submission to the letter of the rule. Its outward manifestations were restraints and eccentricities. The man was separated from his brethren that he might be peculiarly devoted to the Lord. This was consistent with the purpose of divine wisdom for the time for which it was ordained…” [2]
     
…”We see in this definition what one separated for God should be, but anyone who reads the story of Samson knows that he broke all the requirements of a Nazarite: as outlined in Number 6:1-21 a Nazarite was prohibited from against cutting their hair,  using products of the vine and the touching of any dead body. Samson’s actions violated all three of these regulations (cf. 14:8, 9, 17; 16:17). Samson was a hero of Israel known for his great physical strength as well as his moral weakness. The last of the “judges” or military leaders mentioned in the Book of Judges, Samson led his country in this role for about 20 years. He was a Nazarite from birth, like Samuel and John the Baptist later. This meant that Samson should have served as an example to Israel of commitment to God. Through most of his life, however, Samson fell far short of God’s standard with his sin and disobedience. His life is a clear warning against the dangers of self-indulgence and lack of discipline. In spite of his heroic physical deeds—killing a young lion, killing a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey, and carrying away the massive gate of Gaza—he nevertheless violated all three aspects of the Nazarite vow.  Samson also violated God’s Word by marrying a Philistine, then visiting a prostitute in Gaza, and finally living with Delilah. His last act, the killing of thousands of the enemy Philistines, won him a place among the heroes of faith (Heb. 11:32). (First Reference, Judg. 13:7; Primary References, Judg. 13–16.)
Nevertheless, God sovereignly overruled the defects in Samson’s character to bring about His good purpose for Israel…” [3] 
           
As an example, Samson isn’t a very good one.  His repeated disobedience to God brought about his eventual downfall, but in the end, he humbled himself before God and in a selfless act of courage, destroyed almost all of the ruling class of the Philistines. 
Now, what is our separation today?  The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:16, “ because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy. [4]  (Compare with Lev. 19:2; 20:7, 20:26)  “Holy” denotes that which is “sanctified” or “set apart” for divine service. [5]  Do we find ourselves in the mold of a Samuel, a John the Baptist, or are we more liken to be compared with Samson?  In our quest for sanctification, of the walking out of our life and duty before God, are we winning the fight to change our defects with the aid of God and the Holy Ghost, or does God have to bring about the change for us to accomplish His good purpose?  Are we the chaff, or are we the wheat?  In all men, only God truly knows the answer to this, for what is in our hearts, God knows.
At the core of our separation for God is the decision to love; to love God, to love others:
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)  4 Love has long patience, is kind; love is not emulous of others; love is not insolent and rash, is not puffed up, 5 does not behave in an unseemly manner, does not seek what is its own, is not quickly provoked, does not impute evil, 6 does not rejoice at iniquity but rejoices with the truth, 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; but whether prophecies, they shall be done away; or tongues, they shall cease; or knowledge, it shall be done away. [6]
When we learn this way of love, this way of separation, we begin to pick up the fruit of the Spirit, and we start to walk as Christ, led by the Spirit and not the flesh:
(Galatians 5:22-26)  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. [7]
As we can see, living in the Spirit starts to do away with the old habit of willful sin: by the freedom of Christ’s blood we are no longer slave to the flesh, no longer under sin’s dominion, but separated unto God by the remission and forgiveness of our sinful nature, bought by the blood of Christ.  What we need to do though, is look again at the things of old, at the story of Samson and see what it has to hold for us today.


…LOOKING AT THE CHURCH THROUGH SAMSON…

Lets’ look at Judges 16:19:  19Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. [8] 
In this complex, microwave world in which we live, we, the church, unfortunately haven’t learned our lesson from Samson.  In our headlong rush to be contemporary, in trying to appeal to the masses, we have tried to be like Paul, where he stated in 1 Corinthians 9:22:  “…to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. [9]
In attempting to become all things to all men, we have weakened the message of salvation, watered down the cross and tickled the ears.  Paul, nonetheless, never compromised a single principle of of Torah or his faith in Christ to do so.  He had discipline and demanded order of the right kind but never at the expense of the free motion and spontaneity of the Spirit.  The ekklesia of the 1st century under the direction of the Holy Spirit and Paul’s teachings never gave up its claim to its supernatural origin, character, and mission.  What has happened in the 1974 years since the death and resurrection of our Saviour has brought about changes in the church’s character and focus.  While not true of all churches, for there is always the remnant that has not forgotten that the true church is not just an earthly organization with a divine sanction, the sad part is that most have given way to the doctrines of men, and have submitted to the world’s conditions, confessing the demands of Jesus to be impractical.  The truth?  The demands of Christ are not impractical; in most cases they just haven’t been preached and applied.  For it is in the practical application of “Return to Jesus”, and the belief in “Sola Scriptora” (the Bible Alone) that the experience and action wrought by the 1st century church can be replicated.  Never mind the forces of the world that seek to muddy the river of life that is true Christianity; we as the body of Christ ought never allow the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to fall prey to secularizing influences and elements.  If we allow ourselves to fall asleep on the knees of the world, then what befell Samson will befall us:
(Judges 16:20)  “20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. [10]
The Philistines will be upon us and the Lord will have departed us.
(Judges 16:24-25)  “24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hand our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, who hath slain many of us. 25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison-house; and he made sport before them. And they set him between the pillars: [11]
            Our adversary, satan, is laughing at the church.  We have seen that the church seems to be ineffectual in dealing with the sins of the world, for our God is blasphemed continuously, in popular movies and books.  We haven’t been able to halt abortion or put God back into schools.  We’ve seen the Ten Commandments under assault, and even the phrase “In God we Trust” on our currency is under attack.  How can this be, when Christ told us in John 14:12 that:   12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father. [12]  If greater works than these we will do, where is the power?  The lowest common denominator of  power that any believer should have is to cast out demons.  How many “Christians” even believe in demons any more?  Where are the sick being healed, the dead being raised, the lame walking, the deaf hearing, the blind seeing, the captives being loosed?  It happens, in various locations, at various times, but we as believers ALL have this power, granted to us by Jesus Christ Himself.  So what is wrong?
·         We have forgotten who Christ Jesus is in us
·         We have forgotten, or haven’t even known who we are in Him
·         We don’t acknowledge the FACT that we can destroy the power and the works of the devil, for we are the sons and daughters of the most High God!
·         There is but one answer to this problem, and we as the church today have seem to forgotten it:  THE CROSS, THE CROSS THE CROSS!
How does it work you might ask?
Simple:
Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.    13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.   [13]
And:
Colossians 2:9-10
9 for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, 10 and in him ye are made full, who is the head of all principality and power: [14]
And:
2 Corinthians 10:3-6
3 For walking in flesh, we do not war according to flesh. 4 For the arms of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful according to God to the overthrow of strongholds; 5 overthrowing reasonings and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God, and leading captive every thought into the obedience of the Christ; 6 and having in readiness to avenge all disobedience when your obedience shall have been fulfilled.  [15]

By the power of the cross and the Blood of Christ, the enemy is defeated.  We stand strong in the power of His might, in His strength.  The joy of the Lord is our strength, no matter the circumstances.  As partakers in the Kingdom of God, as co-laborers with Him, we use the power of God and His might to destroy the strongholds of the enemy. 

(Judges 16:26-30)  26 Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.”27 Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there—about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed.
28 Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left.30 Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life. [16]

            In the final act of his life, Samson was redeemed of the Lord, and allowed to put down the enemy.  In the might and power of God the Church can strike a blow to the enemy also, but we must be willing to fight, we must be uncompromising in our stands and we must boldly preach the crucified and resurrected Christ to a lost and dying generation, no matter the cost to ourselves.  Just like Samson, we must be willing to pull the pillars in on ourselves if need be to strike at the heart of the enemies of our souls. 

            In Christ alone is the hope and perfection of the Godhead.  We, who call ourselves by His name, are all ordained as preachers of the Gospel of life.  Some of us may do it with the words of life; others may do it with the way they just live their lives.  A preacher is someone telling something to another, and our lives are always speaking, always demonstrating that there is power in the blood of Jesus, power to shatter the chains of oppression and set hind feet upon high places.  Preach Him, apply Him, and love Him.  If we stand fast in the power of God’ mercy and grace, what have we to fear?

Romans 8:31-39
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth; 34 who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [17]

            If naught can separate us from the love of Christ, then surly naught should be able to separate Christ from our love, for He dwells in us and we in Him.  Separation?  Only from the troubles of this world, not our Loving Master.  I beseech you then brethren, consecrate yourself to the King of Glory, and seize the day, for we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus, we are heirs to the promise and that my beloved, you can take to the bank. 

May God richly bless you and keep you this day, Amein.


[1] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[2] William Smith; revised and edited by F.N. and M.A. Peloubet, Smith’s Bible dictionary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997.
[3] Thomas Nelson, Inc., King James Version Study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1988  by Liberty University.
[4] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[5] Youngblood, Ronald F., General Editor; F.F. Bruce and R.K. Harrison, Consulting Editors, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995.
[6] Darby, J. N., 1890 Darby Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
[7] The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
[8] The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
[9] The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
[10] The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
[11] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[12] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[13] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[14] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[15] Darby, J. N., 1890 Darby Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
[16] The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
[17] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.