Throughout history we have seen great, anointed men be attacked by Satan both mythically and in reality. When I was in high school I went through this phase of being kind of obsessed with Greek mythology. I found it so attracting and appealing. There was so much creativity behind it all. I remember thinking; “man this must have taken a long time to come up with all this specific information about each god, not to mention all the demigods…” The reason I bring this up is because like in the Bible we see these anointed men, who have a destiny for their lives that’s often much bigger than they are. In Greek mythology we have the story of Achilles. He was an anointed man by the Greek god’s, his destiny was to become the greatest hero of the Trojan War. His mother knew of this prophecy, but she also knew that he would die at war so she bathed him in the river Styx to burn out his humanity. She dipped him in the river by his left heel when he was an infant. Because she was holding his left heel, it left that small spot on his body mortal. His mother acted of her own will, trying to combat the gods will for Achilles and that action had consequences. Consequences so severe that it would lead to Achilles’ death. Paris shot an arrow into his heel and it ended up killing him because of his “Achilles heel” (his weakness). So here we have a great man with a calling who was disobedient and suffered the consequences of his actions.
In the Bible we have Samson, this great strong powerful man that was under a Nazarite vow. This vow meant that he was “set apart to God from birth”. He also had a call and a destiny for his life. But like most great men, he had an Achilles heel and for Samson, it was women. He was known to be a womanizer and a man full of sin. He is a prime example of how temptation leads to sin, and sin always has a consequence. However, God also uses Samson’s life to show us that God can still use a sinful man to fulfill his will. Samson’s weakness was women and we see that with his marriage to a Philistine woman. He deliberately walked into temptation disregarding his vow all for a woman. We can read about it in Judges and Numbers.
God created Samson to “begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). Samson did fulfill this will for his life eventually but it came at a price. Samson understood that his strength came from the Lord, but he didn’t quite fully grasp his calling. Since the Lord was with Samson he kept sinning, not experiencing the consequences. Samson’s acts were rooted in selfishness and vengeance but they also were the things that gave him the confidence to fight the Philistines. God would turn those acts of selfishness to reveal his Glory through Samson. When Delilah removed his hair from his head that was the last straw. In doing so he broke that last part of his vow and God left him. This is when the Philistines took Samson captive and removed his eyes. A strong man, broken by disobedience.
“Then Samson prayed to the LORD, ‘O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes’" (Judges 16:28). The Lord returned to Samson in that moment and he was able to tear down the building over them and kill more Philistines than when he was alive. These men both suffered terrible pain and affliction in their deaths as consequences for sin. They accomplished the task that was before them but the end result was losing their lives.
The reason I talked about Achilles and Samson is to give you two representations of the lives we can choose. A life where we follow God, or a life where we follow the gods we have created. Achilles followed a false god and in the end he was abandoned by them and left to die. Samson chose to call upon the Lord, and even though he sinned and fell away, God came back to him and revealed his Glory through Samson. He was given purpose in his death and God was with him. I believe that much of us are anointed. That God did create us with purpose. For some of us it takes a long time to realize that purpose and act on it. Selfishness keeps our eyes focused on our desires and it blinds us to God’s will. For Samson it wasn’t until he lost his eyes that he could truly see, and for Achilles it was the death of his close friend Patroclus. Now, I know that Achilles was not a real man, but neither are the gods that we create and choose to put before the one true God. This god looks different for each of us but this type of idol worship all has the same end point.
Samson knowingly acted out of his vow and put himself into situations to be tempted. We also put ourselves in situations that tempt us to sin against God. We think that in our own strength we can withstand the temptations but the truth is we can’t, we need Him. The one thing we can do when we are put in a tempting situation is to actively choose God and not our own desires. Giving God the control of our lives is easier said than done, but ultimately it is with that true surrender that his Glory is revealed through us. Just like Samson, God gives each of us the opportunity to choose him, he is a gentleman and he stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20). Two questions we need to ask ourselves are “do we want to accept that anointing and step into the call God has placed on our lives?” Or “do we want to live a life of idol worship, our own personal glory living selfishly eventually being abandoned and left for dead?”
Satan likes to have us believe that we can keep on sinning and not experience the consequence of our sin. One of his greatest tactics is that he encourages us to sin and when we do, he holds us on the edge of consequence. He keeps us there in this sort of limbo where we don’t receive punishment, so what do we do? We keep on sinning. In Uganda the boda drives asked me if God’s grace for them would run out. I said no it won’t, but that doesn’t mean you can keep on sinning. He has endless amounts of grace but that is not for us to abuse. Samson abused that grace, God allowed him to keep seeking his selfishness but in the end he turned it all around. I guess my encouragement for you in this blog is that no matter the choices we make or the bad things we’ve done, it’s never too late to choose Christ. We are all called to righteousness and we are given a new life in Christ. He will never force himself upon us; he gives us the choice to make the decisions we choose. In the end he is always there to lavish us with his love and to invite us all back home. Let us choose life, and life abundant through Christ.