Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pressure of Forbidden Love

Oh, the joy of being in love!  As the person enters the room butterflies enter your stomach with their presence.  His eyes melt my heart!  As Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, many dating couples are preparing to show their love and affection upon this day.  As flowers are order, chocolate purchased, and candlelight dinners prepared to express their love to each other; it’s a remarkable tribute.   Dating can be very exciting part of your life; it’s preparing you to find the love of your life.  Yet, as my grandmother said to me, “You will get your heartbroken and you will break someone’s heart until the right one comes.”   Oh, how my grandmother was so right!  Yet, I didn’t want a marriage of longevity with no love or affection towards my spouse.  My family tree doesn’t have many successful marriages upon my father’s side of the family.  The majority of father's siblings were married two or three times ending in divorce.  Sadly, my own life was truly changed by the aftermath of my parent’s divorce even for valid reasons.  When I accepted Christ into my life, I was only twelve years old.  As I was growing up, I sought the Lord’s face about getting married.  I admit I wasn’t sure if I would be married because of God’s call upon my life.  So, if I did marry someone he had to accept my calling to either support or work with it.  If he couldn’t accept my calling; he wasn’t the right one for me.  During my dating period in college, some men wouldn’t continue to date me for this reason.  So, I would just keep praying and trusting God to bring him if it was His plan.  While in college I met my husband who I have been married to for sixteen years.  I am madly in love with the man!  Although my husband and I dated for over a year; we were teased in college for “taking things slow.”  Nevertheless, I didn't want to walk into marriage lightly.  It's a covenant I am making to my spouse and God.  
     Sadly, the devil will use any tactic to trip your life; even the opposite sex.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to be loved or to share your life with someone.  It’s a healthy and godly desire for a man and woman to be married. God created marriage between a man and woman. (Genesis 2:18)
Now all of my children have turned into teenagers, so I am praying for God’s protection, guidance, and for their spouses.  Besides praying, modeling a godly marriage, I am teaching my children what God’s Word says.  Does God’s Word teach on dating and marriage?  Yes, it does!  One story in particular has some vital truths found in Judges 13-15.  A loving and godly couple couldn’t conceive a child for the woman was sterile. (Judges 13:2)  An angel of the Lord appears to the woman to tell she is going to have a male child.  Besides having a male child, there were certain guidelines to be followed by the mother and this child.  The mother wasn’t allowed to eat anything unclean or drink wine/fermented drink.  Also, the requirement was the same for the child who was set apart for God’s call to deliver the children of Israel from the Philistines.  In addition the child was not allowed to have a razor to cut his hair because he was a Nazirite. (See Numbers 6)  Samson’s parents desired to follow God’s instructions for the child, so they sought the Lord.  Yet, as Samson grew up to marry, he sought the hand of a Philistine woman.   (The Philistines were enemies of God who are ruling them at this moment in time)  Instead of following his parents counsel to follow God’s call upon his life and God’s Word, he yearns for someone who he can’t have.   Although this was being used by the Lord to open a door to confront the Philistines; it should have taught Samson a lesson as well. 
     Upon the wedding celebration, Samson gives a riddle to his Philistine companions.  No one is able to solve the riddle, so they coax his wife to find out.  During the whole celebration she cries, throws herself upon him, and begs for the answer.  Yet, he surrenders to her cries to release the answer.  Although Samson keeps his word to the companions; it cost his affection for his wife because of her betrayal.  Instead of being a lesson learned, Samson later falls in love with Delilah.  Judges 16:4 says, “Sometime later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.”  Delilah was a prostitute in Gaza, an area owned by the Philistines.  So, he follows his lust to the arms of a prostitute instead of God's instruction.  As he follows his lust, he ignores God’s instruction to remain separate from wicked nations. (Deut. 7:1-4)  So as Samson followed his lust; it opened the opportunity for the enemy to trap him.
     As I was reading this chapter I was amazed how the enemy lured Samson to bondage but he didn’t see it.  His affections for Delilah blinded him into chains of bondage.  As the Philistines are aware of his weakness and his love for Delilah they prepare a trap to OVERPOWER HIM!  It wasn't just to overpower him but to subdue him.  So, the plan begins with attacking Samson at his weak spot.  Satan knows your weakness, so be aware he is cunning.  He is an angel of light who will make it pleasing to the eyes, our desires, and set a trap to place us back in bondage.  He doesn’t want to place us just back in bondage; he wants to drag our souls to his kingdom.  As the conversation of Samson’s strength unfolds, we learn how the enemy operates, so we need to pay attention.
     First, Delilah is advised to TIE HIM with seven fresh throngs that have never been dried. (Judges 16:7)   Second, Delilah is advised to TIM HIM with new ropes. (Judges 16:11)   His love for Delilah causes him to sin against his body, so he is being placed in physical bondage by the first two advances.  Also, he should have recognized “her scheme” after the first question about his strength.  It’s also interesting the enemies of Samson were also in his bedroom chambers.  Third, Delilah is advised to weave the seven braids of his hair into fabric with a loom, and tighten it with a pen.  He is compromising his mind in her lap to allow her to weave destruction.  As the pin secures his hair; he is pinning the “secret” in her hand.  When we are in love, we share intimate details of ourselves.  As we share those details, we learn about the person completely.  Yet, we shouldn’t be using those facts to bring about the destruction of someone’s character or life.  Also, no dating couple should be alone in “secret quarters” for it will cause sexual temptation to arise.  We are to FLEE youthful lusts and seek righteousness. “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”(2 Timothy 2:22) Finally, Samson surrenders the truth of his strength to her-his vow to God.   As his hair is shaved (his vow removed) he is subdued to the enemy. 
     Love is a powerful emotion and is truly a wonderful experience.  Yet, as Christians we must be careful in our dating relationship or period of engagement not to allow our passion for someone to steal our purity for God.   (Fornication is sex outside of the marriage covenant)  According to scripture sex is forbidden until a couple (a man and woman) marry. Also, we shouldn't be dating someone who doesn't belong to Christ.  Light and darkness have nothing in common, so we can't pursue a courting or marriage relationship.  God's ways are better and the person He selects is worth waiting for.  Also, we can be dating a Christian but if God says "no" it's still wrong to disobey Him.  
     As Samson slept upon the lap of Delilah his eyes were closed to her deceptive plan.  Yet, his blinding love for Delilah entrapped his life as he slept in the enemies hands.  He was satisfied with her loving affection, closeness, and words of love.  Delilah advises that the Philistine are upon him again but this time Samson doesn’t recognize the Lord left him.  What this clearly shows any child of God can be lured away back into the arms of the world!  We are to live separate from the world’s standards, beliefs, and ways.  We can’t participate in them, WE ARE CALLED TO BE SEPARATE!  We are called to be holy! 
As Samson awakens he is captured by his enemies who overpowered him.  They GOUGED out his eyes! Why?  So, he couldn’t attack them or he couldn’t defend himself.   As the Philistines took Samson away, they took him to their kingdom.  In their kingdom, they placed his in bronze shackles and to work in their prison.  So, the devil desire is shown through the actions of the Philistines.
     Our enemies may see us fall into our weakness; it can happen.  Sadly, our enemies will mock our faith and God.  It’s true but it doesn’t mean we have to live in defeat.  We can fall back into bondage of sin; it can entrap us.  It’s only by calling upon God can we be delivered from sin and its bondage.   As Samson’s hair grew, God's remained faithful to him.  As the enemies celebrated their victory; it was going to be their destruction.  Samson had to die to himself by calling upon God to destroy his enemies; he got victory.  
However, Samson missed out on finding the love of his life because he didn’t follow God’s instructions.  Yes, he married someone but it wasn’t who God selected.  Also, he never had children.  His calling was fulfilled but his life wasn’t.  It’s something to really think about.