Updated: Jun 11
Text: Manoah said, "Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy's 'RULE OF LIFE' , and his work?" (Jud.13:12).
By the reason of an angelic visitation, and in a manner similitude to the appearance of God, to the father of Faith, Abram, the household of aged Manoah received the promise of a child of destiny- Samson. This was in the days of Judges in Israel.
WHO WERE THE JUDGES?
The judges were tribal leaders. With God still reigning as King, the judges served as under-shepherds.They were twelve in number and reigned at different times. Eleven males and one female - DEBORAH . The judges were the immediate remediation plan of God to sustain the Israelites when their trust in God began to wane, occasioned by the death of Joshua, "...another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel" (Jud.2 :10).
Even at that, subsequent overwhelming uproars, pandemonium, wars, and skirmishes that characterized this period in the history of the people of God; revealed that not even these charismatic judges could proffer a lasting solution to sustain this God-chosen nation. They lacked the spiritual wherewithal to have a firm grip on the nation, lead them to wars, and fight to gain victory for them, over their surrounding enemies. It was nothing short of an interim government that had to give way for the much needed stable form of governance, if anything good was ever to come out of Israel. Or so it seemed, because the much clamored-for monarchical government that that ushered in Saul the son of Kish, as the pioneering king of Israel was to, soon become a shadow of itself , (1 Sam.10:1). Saul was to later become a king whose character and conduct found expression in the closing verse of the book of Judges, "in those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." ( Jud.21:25). Meaning, even Saul as the debutant king, later did what was right in his own eyes, veering off the divine mandate to destroy the Amalekites and their animals. In essence, King Saul, a pioneering king at that, did no better than the judges who were before him. It was a the beginning of the end, too sudden for his reign !
THE BOY SAMSON:
Samson was a child of destiny, going by the circumstances surrounding his birth, as well as the importance God emphasized on how he should live his life. He cannot afford to live a care-free or loose life. Little wonder, his arrival was heralded by an Angel of the LORD. Our main text today was a question his father, Manoah, asked the visiting angel in the course of their discussion. As the father of the house, he seemed to pay close attention to details than the wife who had earlier received the angelic visitation. Samson was commissioned from birth to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines (Jud.13:5).
(How much attention do we pay to God when He responds to our questions in the place of prayers? Do we even care to hear Him talk to us as we tend to be too much in a hurry to leave His presence? Or better still, how much do we hold His revelations given to us at such divine encounter seriously?).
In his response the Angel of the LORD reeled out to the parents to-be, certain divine expectations, in a twin-like answer, that would be the blueprint of Samson's life. Both were captured succinctly thus: "and no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Jud.13:5). This first part was to be his 'core-strength' , and exclusive to him ! The second part, to "not eat anything that comes from the vine...or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean" (Jud.13:14), was part of the deal the mother was to observe.
As this content navigates through to its crux, it is necessary to highlight the fact that Samson's 'Rule of Life' was so unique that it was divinely founded on mutual and symbiotic relationship - between him and his mother. Summarily explained, mother to abstain from certain drinks and food, while the man at the center of the narrative, Samson, was to remain a Nazarite, for his own good, all his life !
WHO IS A NAZARITE?
A Nazarite is an Israelite consecrated to the service of God. As a result he MUST abstain from alcohol, keep grown hair and avoid defilement , (Jud.13:7). As such, MUST not eat anything unclean . This is who Samson was, and on the strength of that designation, he was to live till the day of his death.
What Is 'Rule Of Life'?
With particular reference to the subject under discussion, and as it applies to 'us', "Rule of Life is a close and particular reference and attention to one's lifestyle as ordained by God." It is the main strength in our calling or assignment. It is a measure of the grace of God upon us . It embraces the totality of a believer - birth, life & times, and represents "how his existence is affected and influenced by the things, people, and habits around him" . It is a God-given UNIQUENESS, that makes 'you to be you.' It is usually intangible in nature yet strong and powerful enough to overcome and conquer the terrestrial ecosystem.
It is the area of his expertise, the skills and the gifting God has bestowed on him to excel. It is that outstanding divine impact needed to fulfill the mandate of God. It is a gift that must not be abused either, so as to remain relevant in the scheme of things as designed by God. Myles Munroe, (1954-2014) said, "when purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable." It is the value God has placed in us to transmit to the body of Christ. These are godly virtues that are inherent in us to guard jealously, so as to impact our generation positively. Paul, writing to Timothy, exclaimed, "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust..." (1 Tim.6:20). The onus is on us to be intentional to keep utmost care of this gift God has given us. Hence, for our own good, our Rule Of Life MUST not be toyed with or violated intentionally or otherwise. To stick to your Rule Of Life, you cannot afford to live a life of random. It's a precious part of our calling that we cannot trade for nothing ! By implications, upholding our 'Rule of Life' diligently channels us on the right path to destiny fulfillment . Hence, the fulfillment of destiny is a function of how much care and attention we give to our Rule Of life.
Should anyone NOT know what his Rule Of Life is, let him seek it prayerfully or by mentorship, or by both means . Truth is no one believer is void of this unique gift.
Scope Of Rule Of Life.
(1) Parent - God / God- Parent Initiated
Rule of Life can at times be parent - God initiated or God- parent initiated, as the case might be. Pushed to the wall as a result of her bareness, Hannah thought it wise to negotiate with God and initiated the terms of condition to be held 'sacred', should God give her a son. In her desperate state, she vowed that the child would have a Rule Of Life all his years . She said among other things, "...then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head." (1 Sam. 1:11). Meaning, as long as Samuel lived, he was not permitted to cut his hair. In essence, anything short of this lifestyle for Samuel, was placing him at conflict with God's mandate for his life, and may put him at the risk of violating his Rule Of Life .
For Samson, our main character, it's God- parent initiated. God in His benevolence looked upon his parents to bless them with this child of destiny. In converse with Samuel, God personally initiated and dictated the scope of his Rule Of Life, and in a symbiotic and mutual manner, too. While his mother, a good and godly one too, played her part of the deal, Samson ran completely in disfavor of his Rule Of Life. He expressly threw caution to the wind. He was on a progressive pedestal to orchestrate a wanton waste of his life. He turned deaf ears to all parental counsels imploring him not to marry wrongly. By the time the chips were down, Samson sadly ended it on the laps of Delilah . The much revered Rule Of Life the Angel of the LORD handed to the parents got watered down when he told Delilah his strength. In her words, Delilah beckoned to her accomplices, "Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart." (Jud.16:18).
(2) Per - Time
In some case, the Rule Of Life could come per-time . This implies God could reveal His expectations for us in phases, deploying several methodologies in the process, to approach different tasks as occasions call for it. Insistence on our part using same approach over and over for different assignments puts us at risk in our callings. It places us at loggerheads with the LORD. It may spell doom on the culprit, no matter how dear to the Master, the character is. This was Moses' major undoing. He deviated from the divine instruction of speaking to the rock, to striking the rock-even twice ! (Num. 20:11). To him, it did not matter which approach he used, since it was the same God that gave him the instruction of striking the rock, earlier in (Ex.17:6). Either way, the purpose of God was achieved- making water available for His people, since God would not deny Himself. At any rate, by the time the scene closed, a rule was violated, and Moses was to later pay dearly for the effrontery.
If the consequence of Moses' misbehavior was pathetic, then, the end of our young brother and prophet in (1Kgs.13), was more pathetic ! Young, vibrant, and full of the grace of God, he was on a divine assignment to cry against the altar at Bethel. He was equipped with specific 'rules', for this particular assignment- "eat no bread, drink no water, and return NOT by the same way he came into the city". Simple as it may sound, it is unfortunate that at the tail end of his leaving the city, after a very successful mission, his entire life came crumbling like a pack of cards- simply because he sheepishly fell for a satanic persuasion by an older prophet- a prophet who probably felt threatened by the young prophet's prophetic exploits, to go against the 'rules' that were outlined for this assignment. He was not spared a moment of repentance , "...because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD...and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you...eat no bread and drink no water, your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers." (1Kgs. 13:21-22).
Facts About Rule Of Life
For us believers, Rule of Life could literally be one or a mix of the followings:
Not Knowing and not setting boundaries, as well as keeping to divine instructions: Adam and Eve- failure to respect boundaries and observe divine instructions was a challenge that led to their limited stay and inglorious exit from the garden of Eden (Gen.2:17). For some, sticking to instructions is a problem, even after such instructions had been set very well ahead of time. We may need to ask for the grace to endure hardship even in trying times, "...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Heb.12:1).
Lack of Self-Discipline : This is a broad one that cuts across virtually how we relate with the issues of life. This is inclusive of our appetite, as it was the case with Esau, "and Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright." (Gen. 25:34). Wrong sexual urge or desire, difficulty in keeping to time, excessive talk, sleep, poor hygiene, poor self-coordination. The list is endless.
Random abuse and misuse of power, position, freedom and authority. Rather, we are implored to NOT use our liberty to perpetrate evil, "as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Love the brotherhood . Fear God. Honor the king." (1 Pet. 2: 16-17).
Within the framework of the operations of Rule Of Life, it is essential that we uphold the sanctity of the subject, stay true and committed to it, guard it with all carefulness, hold fast our confessions of it, and seek room for improvement where need be. It is that portion God has bestowed on us that we cannot afford to jeopardize . Whatever we identify as our Rule Of Life, is our strength and edge in this depraved and perverted world. We cannot afford to "go out as before, at other times" (Jud.16:20). A casual and care-free life in the midst of multitude of enemies, was Samson's greatest's undoing. May God help us. Amen !
Being A Monthly Scripture Nugget
From The Desk Of
Olusegun A Emosu
The Redeemed Christian Church Of God,
1879, S Stonemountain Lithonia Rd,
Lithonia GA 30058 (404-644-4127)
June 10th, 2023.
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