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Week 28

September 21st, 2017
Self-Serving Samson
Judges 13:1-25
You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.”

The woman ran and told her husband, “A man of God appeared to me! He looked like one of God’s angels, terrifying to see. I didn’t ask where he was from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he told me, ‘You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food. For your son will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from the moment of his birth until the day of his death.’” (Judges 13:5-7)
Samson was to be a Nazirite—a person set apart by a vow to serve God’s people. Samson’s parents made the vow for him. A Nazirite vow was sometimes temporary, but in Samson’s case, it was for life. As a Nazirite, Samson could not cut his hair, touch a dead body, or drink anything containing alcohol.

God empowered Samson to serve Israel by giving him great strength, and when Samson obeyed God he accomplished incredible things. But more often, Samson used poor judgment and ignored God. Typically, Samson impulsively used the special gift God gave him for selfish purposes. For example, he used his strength to kill 30 men in Ashkelon.

Today, God empowers people to serve the church (1 Corinthians 12:1ff). The apostle Paul states that these gifts are to be used “to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). But like Samson, we often use our God-given gifts for selfish purposes. Using these abilities for ourselves robs the church of what God had intended.
As you use the gifts God has given you, are you serving yourself, or are you serving the church? Who could benefit from the gifts you have to offer? Even if it’s just lending an extra set of hands for a project, your willingness to serve can be a great encouragement to those who have too much to do.
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