This post is from the revelatory teaching notes that Dr. Aikens taught in a Bootcamp. Posted by Rev. Jane Babich after attending the Bootcamp.
Although this teaching is reverencing Samson as the one that allowed his desires to override what was right, he lost being seen as a leader. We see that same behavior in many, many, too many of our land leaders in these times.
No matter what we see or how disappointed we are in the lack of leadership in our lives, remember you are a leader to someone, be it a co-worker, family, community; so we need to hold fast to the calling are to fulfill, regardless of those that are falling short daily.
Sterizo (hold fast) even when it looks like we are going under
Some of the greatest leaders lose their position because they first lost sight of their calling. How is it that Samson could lose sight of his high calling?
His parents obediently undertook the responsibility of bringing Samson up according to the Nazarite vow, which an angel revealed to them before Samson even entered his mother’s womb.
Let’s consider Judges 13:1-5 and 24-25
“And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. 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. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God … from the womb: and … he shall begin … to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.”
So, we see Samson’s requirements even before he entered his mother’s womb were to become a living sacrifice as a lifelong Nazarite.
Lifelong Nazarites were literally God’s dedicated or consecrated ones. They either enter this state of their own free will or, as a matter of a vow, their parents took for them.
There were three main conditions they had to follow and maintain for the duration of their vow if they were to enter into and remain in this chosen holy state of leadership as a Nazarites:
- Refrain from the fruit of the vine or other intoxicants, which could be as simple as grapes and raisins. (Intoxicating worldly things).
- Never allow a razor to touch one’s hair as long as you are vowed to be a Nazarite. (Humility).
- Never go near a dead body, not even one’s own mother and father (num. 6:1-7). (Defilements).
This last condition is comparable to the kind of dedication expected of a high priest. When Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, were killed to offer strange fire to God (Lev. 21:10-12 and 21:1-4). Even Joseph was referred to as a Nazarite (Gen. 49:26; Deut. 33:16).
Samuel and Samson were dedicated in their mother’s wombs. But Samson is the more famous and specifically titled Nazarite of the two, yet he took his vows the least seriously.
Though he didn’t cut his hair and abstained from strong drink, yet he never avoided dead bodies as with the carcass of the lion and the jawbone of the ass, and more importantly, he never refrained from things he found were very intoxicating to him. Namely, the exotic dark-skinned Philistine women who seemed in his eyes to be the only ones able to please him.
He was so frenzied and intoxicated by these women that even when his parents stood against him marrying one, he withstood them and demanded his father get her for him. He desired to marry and cleave to her!
The sad thing is this Samson seemed oblivious to the level of intoxication he was subjecting himself to. Eventually, this penchant he had for making alliances with the intoxicating beguilements the world offered him began to wear at the resolve he had to sterizo (concept meaning stick and stay or holding on) in the things of God and his higher call —the Nazarite vow.
The thing that really caused the last devastating blow; the thing that cleaved them apart, was he fell in love with Delilah. Loving her, he made the last transition himself and chose to cleave to her instead of to his God.
Remember, a Nazarite is one who takes a vow to consecrate and keep himself separate from intoxicating worldly things. Instead, they choose to cleave themselves unto God, determining to prepare and remain in place available for His exclusive use and direction.
First, to cleave means to cling closely or stick fast to become firmly adhered to another as if fastened or glued in place. To choose to stick fast to loyally and unwaveringly be determined to let nothing separate. And so one chooses to become faithful to and stick with another without question or expressing any feeling of reservation.
Second, it also means to penetrate or cause a separating or a passing through something that actually produces a peeling away or splitting apart.
Listen, it’s also to divide by, or as if with a cutting blow that succeeds in separating that which was one into such distinct parts that suddenly they find themselves even more divided simply because each now has succinctly different views and perspectives.
Nazarites were not required to withdraw from society and live as hermits. The strictest portion of their vow was not to abstain from everything, but anything intoxicating enough to overpower and alter their choices.
Listen, abstaining from intoxications was such a strict requirement that even grapes, it’s juice, and raisins were forbidden. You see, lifelong Nazarites had to sterizo, so they had to guard themselves against being controlled by any spirit other than God’s.
Sterizo means we’re established by God to stand and accomplish by being equipped with fullness or supernatural strength that enables us to remain set in place as assigned as if we’d been permanently fastened or glued in place strengthened by God to stick and stay.
If Samson had cleaved to the LORD rather than to other people or things that he thought would satisfy him, he would have retained his leadership. And so it is with us.
What is it that intoxicates us in our culture away from loyalty to the LORD? It is a high price to pay to lose closeness with the LORD. God is able; are we willing?
Are we willing to resist the temptations that pull on us? God is able by His Spirit to hold us fast and enable us to sterizo in our calling from the Lord.
We all see leaders pulled away from that which they are called or appointed to do by what intoxicates them, such as power, money, position, or relationships.
We need to hold on to our calling of leadership, even when those around us make us feel like we are going under. Remember, God is always in control, no matter what we see around us or from our leaders. Glory!
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