July 31

Today's Bible Readings:
     Judges 14
     Acts 18
     Jeremiah 27
     Mark 13
''And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him..." (Judges 14:6a) 
            The story of Samson and Delilah is the material movies are made from, and many have been. It is the tragic story of a man with unlimited potential who sadly learned that sin was binding and blinding in his life. Samson was a spiritual enigma. Before his birth, he was chosen of God to be a Nazerite. This meant he would be set apart from the things of the world for the service of God. Some Nazerites were set apart for a short period of time, but Samson was set apart by God for life. In his case, the secret of his great strength was symbolized by his long hair. Samson failed to live the life of the Nazerite, trusted Delilah and revealed to her the secret of his great physical strength. Finally, while he slept in Delilah's lap, his hair was cut and he discovered he had lost his strength. One of the saddest statements in the Bible was when the Scripture says in Judges 16, ''but he did not know that the Lord had departed from him." He lost the power of the Holy Spirit, lost his victory, and was captured by the Philistines. His final act, however, was when the Spirit came upon him mightily at the end, and he defeated the Philistines.
            Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit did not originate at Pentecost. His descent, like a dove, upon the Lord Jesus was not His initial arrival into the world. Nor did He come first in powerful anointing upon prophets like Jeremiah, Amos, Elijah and Elisha. Nor did He come first in the shekinah glory that fell upon the Temple. Nor did He come first in the effulgence that fell with the law at Sinai. The Holy Spirit has always been!
            We were first introduced to Him as He brought creation out of chaos in Genesis 1:2; “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” And that same Holy Spirit has continued to unfold God's program and unleash God's power to our very day. Just as it is essential that we have the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit today, it was essential for Old Testament saints as well.
            The great sadness of our text is that the awesome power of the Holy Spirit was available to a very special man, and he missed it. As a result, Samson lost everything. That same power of the Holy Spirit is available to give anointing, success, and effectiveness to every believer today. May people reflect upon your life and say, ''Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily."
            Swaziland is a very small country in Africa with about 1.2 million people. This country claims 83% Christian, but nominalism has become a major problem. Again, we need to pray for God to raise up quality Christian leadership. The churches will not move beyond their leadership and that is why they become stagnant and fragmented at this time. The only hope for the church to have a positive vision for the future is to train quality leaders.
“A WORLD without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the joyous day of the whole week.”