Monday, December 29, 2008

Honor Covenants: Samson's Downfall

I’ve been studying the Old Testament. Recently, I read the account of Samson. His parents desperately wanted a child. A messenger came to Manoah’s wife and promised her that she would bear a child that would, “ . . . begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). The Lord wanted to make a great leader out of Samson. He blessed Samson with incredible strength. But, Samson’s weakness for women prevented him from becoming a great a noble leader among the Israelites. It’s hard to understand why Samson would engage in such a dangerous game with Delilah. He must’ve known she wanted to know the secret to his strength in order to destroy him but he continued to play the game until it cost him his eyes, and then his life.

As a kid, I’d heard about Samson and his long hair. I believed that his strength literally came from his hair. I thought that each hair on his head somehow endowed him with great strength. I thought it was a little strange that his hair could be so strong or could make him so strong, but I couldn’t come up with another explanation.

Now I understand that it wasn’t the actual hairs that made him strong, but rather his hair was a token of the covenant between him and the Lord. Once his hair, or token, was gone, the Lord no longer blessed him with strength. Samson’s hair is similar to our garments. We wear garments as a token of covenants that we’ve made. The fabric of the garments doesn’t have any magical powers. It is the act of worthily wearing the garments that allows the Lord to bless us.

Samson became distracted and lost sight of his covenant. He may have been so mesmerized by Delilah that he didn’t give much thought to the token of his covenant. Perhaps, he didn’t believe anything would come of his losing his hair. Whatever the case, we can learn from the story of Samson that the Lord will not be mocked.

When we make covenants, or promises, we need to be committed to keeping them. In the temple, we take upon us additional covenants. We need to remember how sacred those are by wearing our garments and not altering them in any way.

When we honor our covenants, the Lord blesses us. We may not receive strength to kill 1000 people with the jawbone of an ass (Judges15:15), but we will receive the strength we need to deal with our trials. Heavenly Father is eager to bless us. The more committed we are to keeping our covenants, the more he can heap blessings upon us.

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2 comments:

Sheila said...

Very powerful message Rebecca! Thanks for the reminder.

Elliah A. Terry said...

What a beautifully written post! I think I'll go read the story of Samson right now.