John was a lamp that burned and gave light…. John 5:35
Gosh isn’t what Jesus said about John the Baptist what we all want Him to say of us?! “(Insert your own name here) was a lamp that burned and gave light…” I know I sure do! Recently our family walked through a situation that for me required ever increasing trust and faith in our God who is bigger. That is not something I can conger up on my own but had to pray for – and He was faithful as He always is. He revealed His presence all along the way. Praise His name! He promises to never forsake us but that He would take the time to go above and beyond that and reveal His presence is knee buckling to me!
I can be like Eve in the garden so often getting my gaze fixated on the tree of knowledge, wanting to see the whole picture and know how it’s all going to work out; I want to be in control of it because of course I know best right…wrong! You know right beside that tree of knowledge is the tree of LIFE!!! Fixating on that knowledge tree I’m missing out on the abundant life He came to give me! Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….
Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. John 6:61:62 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me. Matthew 11:6
I fight off being offended by fixing my eyes on the One who took the cross in my place, Who conquered the grave for me… what else do I think I’m “owed”?! If I get nothing else me and all those who too believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have unearned totally undeserved eternal life with the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Creator in His Kingdom of which knows no end and holds no tears or sickness or death because He overcame all that on the cross and through His resurrection!! I must trust that, our light and momentary troubles (that don’t seem so light and momentary but in faith must fix my eyes on Christ to be like Christ as He set His eyes on the joy set BEFORE Him past the pain of the cross because we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength-Phil. 4:13) are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Cor. 4:17 THAT FAR OUTWEIGHS THEM ALL! We aren’t going to want to miss that!!
You got to love the story of Sampson, what a picture of Romans 8:28 of God working all things together for His good! Sampson started out such a miracle child, such a child of promise and potential… don’t we all! But through a series of decisions Sampson began to insight hardship upon his life thinking and acting like he knew best. However I just love, love Judges 14:4, so lets take a look!
Judges 14:4 the entire verse is in parenthesis! Parenthesis are used when the entire sentence makes sense without additional information but the author would like to add something more. So in this case Samuel is writing this account long after its happened and as the author he felt Judges 14:4 should be included as additional information the reader might benefit from! (His parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.) What was it Sampson’s parents didn’t know was from the LORD? Well, back up and read verses 1-4. Sampson who was born to save his people from the Philistines had apparently now fallen for the enemy!! He was telling his parents he wanted to marry a Philistine women! You can hear the desperation in the parents voices as they plead with their son in verse 3 over his step in the wrong direction.
Ever been there in Sampson’s parents shoes pleading with God over someone, maybe for their health, maybe over a bad choice you perceive them making, maybe even over yourself because of your own failings. You plead with God because you know the potential of that persons life or you have become so frozen in fear and shame over what you’ve done with yours. But are we even paying attention to the Author of life, the Alpha and Omega, who won’t finish until everything is accomplished according to His plan, He who starts a good work in you will carry it on to completion, He promises that. He knows things I don’t and understands things I can’t. Jesus help me to trust beyond what my eyes can see and my mind can understand!
So God according to Judges 14:4 was working out even Sampson’s ill choice to His good and glory even though his parents could not conceive how! Looking forward Sampson’s marriage did go awry which led to him tying 300 fox tails together and setting the Philistines land on fire! I believe God’s will to confront the evil Philistines was accomplished even though Sampson chose the harder way. I find it comforting to know I can’t screw up God’s plan, He is bigger than my poor choices, situations and circumstances. When I feel like I’ve been given more than I can handle I’m glad to know “God’s got a handle on all I’m facing.”
He is faithful in keeping His promises, in His love for us, in helping us, in protecting us, in forgiving us and His Word is forever living, active and faithful. Sometimes when things make your heart feel like it might shatter into dust that’s just the ingredient God needs to mix with His living water in order to create something more beautiful than we could ever ask think or even imagine! In this fallen world sometimes like Jesus said in John 9:3 Neither this man nor his parents sinned, …but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. Sometimes we need to take up Exodus 14:14, The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. If we will just tune into and trust the Author of life we won’t be able to contain the fullness of joy He will fill us with, we will burn like a lamp and shine the light of His indescribable love within us to all we meet and we will find, “We just gotta tell somebody”!
Independent read: 2 Cor. 1:18-22, 1 Cor. 10:12-13, Psalm 91:4, 2 Thess. 3:3, 1 John 1:9, Revelation 21:4-7, Hebrews 12:2, Ephesians 3:19-21, 2 Cor. 2:9