“And the Angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, ‘Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, not eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.’”
Judges 13: 13, 14, K.J.V.
“Playing By The Rules”
“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.”
Psalm 119: 24, N.I.V.
Do I follow the statutes given to me by my Father in heaven?
“The Ten commandments are not multiple choice.”
“(She) who scorns instruction will pay for it, but (she) who respects a command is rewarded.”
Proverbs 13: 13, N.I.V.
My husband, Jim, and I enjoy playing “table games.” For those of you around the world who may not have heard about “table games,” these are games that usually involve a board with instructions on how each player moves an object from space to space. “Monopoly” and “Risk” are two common “table games.” When Jim and I were first married, we had a group of friends who would get together once a week to enjoy the fun of games. However, if anything ever annoyed us, it was someone who came to the table to play a specific game and the first thing out of their mouth was, “Well, the way I play this game is to change the rules.” Then this person would proceed to defend their “new way” of playing. Often, they had come up with some idea to change or modify the “rules of the game” in a manner that suited their specific desires. I might add, usually their intent seemed to give them a distinct advantage over the rest of us who were struggling to figure out what they had concocted.
Interestingly enough, the entire financial system of our world right now is reeling from the effects of people who have come to the table, so to speak, and tried to foist their “new rules of the game” on everyone else while they made out like bandits, plundering the safe, to satisfy their craving to win the game at any cost.
Again, as we study God’s Word each day, the relevance of the Bible is so apparent. Thousands of years ago, the Angel of the Lord came to Manoah’s wife with very specific instructions on how a Nazirite, a consecrated person – male or female – should live their lives. The Angel laid out God’s “rules of the game.” Except this time, it wasn’t some “table game” or “greed game.” God wanted to have individuals who were dedicated to Him – exclusively. He asked these individuals to live their lives in a specific way. There were rules God asked these consecrated individuals to live by. If we carefully note, all these rules asked for “holy” living, beginning with no contact with unclean food and unclean people. God asked those who represented Him on earth to dedicate themselves “wholly” to Him. In essence, these designated messengers were to reflect on earth, the purity of heaven.
While at first, not eating “unclean” meat or touching anything “unclean” or not drinking or eating anything that represented the Valley of Sorek where the Philistines dwelt, might appear arbitrary. However, when we reflect on what God wanted to do for His children, there can be no doubt His request for purity of body, inside and out, was not arbitrary at all.
Just think for a moment what happens to us when we eat impure food or drink too much wine. The body can react with repulsion. Our minds becomes cloudy. Our thoughts confused. Even medical science concurs with the idea of temperance in what we eat and drink. And it isn’t because someone has come up with a list of arbitrary rules. Instead, medical specialists have found that overindulgence is detrimental to our health, our thoughts, and our lives.
Years ago we find God came to “Faithful,” Samson’s mother, and gave her very specific instructions on how she and the child she carried, who were consecrated as Nazirites to God, should live. If we analyze the instructions given, we shouldn’t be surprised at all to realize these “rules” have specifically to do with keeping our minds, bodies and hearts clear and clean so the glory of God and wholeness in serving Him become the core focus of our lives.
How sad the life of Samson ended up proving how right God was. Our attempts at changing or bending the rules of the game to fit our desires can lead to disastrous consequences as we will note in the upcoming studies on Samson’s life.
There is a Chinese Proverb written many years ago that says: “No man is a successful commander who has not first learned to obey.” This applies to God’s daughters, too!
God had great work for Samson to perform, but obedience to the rules was the key to Samson’s success, for not only his power, but ours, too, is found as we follow, wholly, the path of obedience laid out for us by God. As one author so perfectly penned, “Obedience to God is always for our good and His glory.”
“O Lord Jesus, let not Your word become a judgment upon us, lest we hear it and do not do it, or believe it and do not obey it.”
Thomas à Kempis
“God of the living word, give us the faith to receive Your message, the wisdom to know what it means, and the courage to put it into practice.”
New Zealand Prayer Book
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