I’ve been reading about Samson. He was a Nazirite from birth. Being a Nazirite means being wholly consecrated to God. A Nazirite should not drink wine. Wine speaks of the joys of this world. We should not find our pleasure in worldly things. A Nazirite should keep away from the dead. The world is full of those people who are spiritually dead. That doesn’t mean that we live like hermits in the forest or in a cave, far from the habitations of men; it means that we should not associate with worldly friends and form worldly associations. We are to be separated from the world; we are in the world, but we are not part of it. A Nazirite had to keep his hair long and unshaven. We know from 1 Corinthians 11.14 that it is shameful for a man to have long hair. (Let the reader understand that all those pictures of Christ with long hair are shameful and insulting; Christ was not a Nazirite, because He took wine.) (Let the reader also understand that it is shameful for men to sport long hair; it makes them effeminate.)
A Nazirite by keeping his hair long and his beard unshaven was ‘bearing the reproach’. What does that mean? It means that a Christian who is wholly consecrated to God bears the reproach of the world. He bears the reproach of ‘carrying the cross and following Christ.’ The world will not accept him; rather, the world will hate him. The principle of the Nazirite is of a man wholly devoted or consecrated to the Lord. As Christians we are to be wholly for the Lord. We are to serve Him with all our heart. Our heart is not for the world and its empty pleasures; we do not fellowship with the children of Belial (for what fellowship has light with darkness); we are strangers and pilgrims in this world. Our joy is the joy of the Lord.
But do we find our joy in the Lord? Are we living wholly for the Lord? Read 2 Cor 5.15 where it says we no longer live for ourselves, our selfish desires, our frivolous ambitions, our petty interests, but rather we live for God and Christ who gave His life for us. Alas, we are no better than Samson. The carnal heart and mind within us is hostile to God. We find it hard and dull to spend time with God. We derive no pleasure from His Word, and are reluctant to partake of the fellowship of the saints. Even worse, we do not know how to pray, nor do we desire to pray. Prayerlessness is the great spiritual disease that afflicts almost every Christian.
We would rather be tweeting on Twitter, or blogging on a blog, or surfing on the Net. We would rather be watching T.V. with its innumberale vapid mindless channels. We would rather be reading a novel, or chatting with ‘friends’. We would rather be eating and drinking and sleeping. But we will not find our joy in the Lord. ‘Delight yourself in the Lord’, Psalm 37.4. But in almost every case, it is ‘duty’ that draws us to God, not ‘delight’. No wonder we are unable to know the Lord, or worship the Lord, or find Him ‘the fairest of all’.
The story of Samson is a warning to every believer. Here is a man attracted by Philistine women. Just as Christians are attracted by the world and its sport and entertainment. Didn’t Ravenhill talk about the twin gods we worship – King Sport and Queen Entertainment? It was the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh that undid Samson. And his slide was inevitable and his fall tragic. In the end his eyes were blinded. Samson did many great exploits. He was a man of God. But he ended up a tragic backslider. In his misery he called upon God and God, who is merciful and gracious, heard his cry. He slew more Philistines in his death, than he did in his lifetime.
But the warning is clear. We are not to hobnob with the world. We are to beware of the attractions that appear to the eye. We are to put to death the pulls of the flesh. We are to seek our delight in the Lord. But how? Only by accepting the cross, by totally surrendering one’s life to the Lord, by coming down in absolute obedience to the will of God, by appropriating God’s grace in every situation – and allowing the cross to do its deep work in the heart. It takes a long time, but in the end we find we have lost our ‘taste’ for the world. We can find no pleasure in earthly things. And then the joy of the Lord begins to bud and blossom in our hearts. And when that happens, we know that have become truly consecrated to the Lord.