Daily Devotion for August 12, 2019
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye.
Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
To Love Jesus
Oh, my soul, how much longer do you wish to be so stingy with Jesus? Why so negligent towards Jesus who made You? Why so lazy towards Jesus who redeemed you? Who do you want to love, if you do not want to love Jesus?
For Past Mistakes
Lift the burden of my past failures from my spirit. Let me go forward in faith. Clear the clouds from my path and lighten my step. If you do not reproach me, let me hear no reproach from myself or any other person, but only your promise of new life. And bring your Word and your light and your forgiveness to all who have wrecked their lives, I pray; for your power is greater than sin, and there no human being you cannot heal, no matter how wretched and vile, if they only surrender their lives to you.
[What past failures do I cling to?]
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked will I return. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Proverbs 3:5-8 (NKJV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.
Judges 13:1-6 (ESV)
Samson —Samson is Conceived
And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
here was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”
Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, . . .”
Notes on the Scripture
Samson was one of the great judges of Israel, but the term “judge” is misleading. After Joshua finally conquered Canaan, the twelve tribes formed into a sort of confederation; something more than an alliance, but without a true central government. When the need arose — usually when a foreign power invaded Hebrew lands — a leader would be chosen. We call these leaders “judges” for lack of a better term, but they were more military and political leaders than legal arbiters. They were “temporary kings.”
an obscure Judge
They did have power to interpret the law; this was even more important in Israel than in most kingdoms, due to the law’s pronouced religious significance and its deep integration into the culture. But the Hebrew judges of this period — the capital-J-Judges — acted with all the powers of a king, lacking only the hereditary rights and ceremonial anointing a formal king would have.
The account of Samson begins, as so many of Israel’s stories, with the people having fallen into disgrace in God’s eyes. No details are provided, but typically, Hebrew misconduct serious enough to warrant conquest meant widespread idol worship, invariably a foreign god such as Astarte or one of many local cult gods which came to be known, collectively, as Ba’al.
Samson’s annunciation is paralleled in many great figures of the Bible. Like Samuel, Isaac, or John the Baptist, he was given to a barren woman; one can see how a childless woman becoming pregnant at a late age would lend credibility to status as a child of God, destined to be special.
Samson was specifically was to be raised as a Nazirite “from the womb.” The Nazirites were a sort of early asectic religious order which shunned both wine and razors. Most of them were not allowed to see corpses or visit graves, but Samson clearly did not practice this tenet; in fact, sources outside the Bible confirm a sub-order of Nazirites to whom the corpse prohibition did not apply.
Most Nazirites chose their status, like monks. Samson, however, was doubly special. He was ordained a Nazirite from the time of his conception. Not even as a fetus was he contaminated by wine or unclean food. This gives credence to the great powers he would wield as a man.