Ride, Don’t Walk
For a long time, I’ve believed that the story of Samson was given to us to show what happens when the Spirit-filled church gives up the Holy Spirit and does what seems right in its own eyes. I thought I’d write about it today.
A lot of weird things happened in the Old Testament. Improbable things. I have learned that when very odd things happen, it often means there is a supernatural reason. Many things that happened in the Old Testament, among physical beings, were intended to teach future believers about warfare in the supernatural realm. Abraham tried to sacrifice Isaac, and God sacrificed himself through Jesus. Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, through a body of water; Jesus leads believers out of the kingdom of Satan. And so on and so on. The story of Samson has symbolic value.
Samson was given to us to symbolize a believer (or body of believers) filled with the Holy Spirit.
An angel appeared to Samson’s mother and told her he would be born, and that he was to be a Nazirite, set apart for God (as we are set apart – Psalm 4). He was not to drink wine or let a razor touch his head.
The Bible doesn’t mention the mother’s name. Why? Because a mother is the source of one’s flesh. Women symbolize flesh, which is supposed to be subject to authority. God provides the seed which transforms flesh. When you’re baptized with the Holy Spirit, God’s supernatural “DNA” takes over, and you grow to be like him. It doesn’t matter who your mother is. You may be a Gentile, or you may be a Jew. The source of your flesh doesn’t make any difference. It’s your past. It’s the dirt you grew from. God is about the future.
This is why it’s wrong for Catholics to worship Mary. Jesus himself discouraged this. Mary was probably a wonderful woman, but she did not earn the right to carry Jesus, and she was not the reason Jesus was good. Jesus was good because half of his genetic material came directly from his father, God, and that contribution dominated his development. He was also good because God guided him through life.
When the Holy Spirit was on Samson, he could do anything. As a result, his enemies could not touch him. They were like worms before him. Powerless. The only way they could ever get to him was to use ungodly women, who symbolize the iniquities of our flesh. A woman, like our flesh, is supposed to be in submission. When a husband lets an ungodly wife rule him, the result is shame and defeat. Look at Solomon and Ahab. The same thing happens when you let your flesh–which is like a wife–tell you what to do. It’s supposed to be a helper, not a boss.
On one occasion, Samson went to Gaza and pulled up the gates of the city. He carried them away and stuck them on a hill. What does that mean? In his time, gates served two purposes. They let things in and out, and they were the locations of courts. Our minds are gates. Things go in and out of us through our minds, and we are judges who decide when to open the doors.
When Samson picked up the gates, he was picking up the authority of the city, as well as its ability to keep enemies out. It was an extremely destructive act. He was showing the Gazans that they had no sovereignty and no protection. He was the head, and they were the tail. God was with him, so his enemies were helpless.
Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against his kingdom. Although he was standing in a place that may have been referred to as the gates of hell (Caesarea Philippi), he was referring to the authority of hell, as well as the physical temptations that assail our flesh. By paying for our sins, Jesus destroyed Satan’s standing as a supernatural litigant. He no longer has the right to rule us. We don’t have to be judged in Satan’s courts any more. And by sending the Holy Spirit, Jesus gave us the power to overcome our iniquities and close the door to sin, which gives power and ingress to our enemies.
On another occasion, a lion attacked Samson. Lions symbolize hostile spirits, as well as people who serve them. The Bible says Satan prowls around like a lion. Of people who serve Satan, it says, “The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”
In the natural world, lions are a whole lot stronger than men, but Samson picked the lion up and tore it apart effortlessly. It wasn’t just a defeat. It was a crushing, complete, pure defeat. The lion didn’t even register as a problem. And later, when Samson saw the carcass lying in the road, he found a beehive in it, full of honey, which he ate.
When the Holy Spirit is with you, God will defeat your enemies for you, decisively and easily. Beyond that, he will use their attacks to bless you with things that are pleasing. Like honey. In this way, he takes attacks that are intended to harm you, and he turns then into great blessings, which compounds the humiliation of your enemies.
Samson is remembered for taking the jawbone of an ass and killing a thousand Palestinians (Philistines) with it. An ass is a stubborn beast of burden which is wise in its own eyes. It’s supposed to serve, but it wants to rule. It symbolizes the flesh. This is why the Bible calls Esau a wild ass of a man. He was a slave to the flesh. He preferred a bowl of soup to his inheritance.
A jawbone symbolizes speech, and teeth symbolize natural weapons. In the psalms, one author asks God to smite his enemies on the cheekbone and break the teeth of the wicked. He is asking God to destroy the power of the evil words his enemies say, and to destroy their earthly weapons.
When the jawbone was in Samson’s hand, and Samson was guided by the Spirit, the jawbone was a powerful weapon. When the jaw of a flesh-and-blood servant of God is controlled by the Spirit, that servant will be able to use his words to inflict terrible defeat on God’s enemies. Every time you see a preacher speak by the Spirit, you’re watching Samson swing the jawbone of an ass. When the Spirit leaves, only the ass is left.
Later, Samson was thirsty. He was so thirsty, he thought he would die. He begged God for water. God removed a tooth from the jawbone, and water poured from the socket. Samson drank it, and the Bible says his SPIRIT was revived.
The loss of the tooth symbolizes the way we have to give up reliance on our earthly weapons in order to be empowered and delivered by the Spirit. It symbolizes humility and submission.
Spirit-filled believers are supposed to be rivers of living water. We are supposed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and we are supposed to pray in tongues to build our spirits up. Paul said this repeatedly. He said prayer in tongues builds faith. The Bible says those who hunger and THIRST for righteousness will be filled, and it says God calls faith righteousness. When you pray in tongues, you will find that it builds your faith. When you get good at it, you’ll actually sense it. You will feel God reviving your spirit, as Samson did.
Samson liked trashy women, so he slept with Delilah. He ended up telling her how to take away his strength. His strength came from the Holy Spirit, so what he was really telling her was how to disconnect him from God. He told her that if his hair was shorn, he would be like any other man.
Delilah got him to sleep on her lap. This is what the world does to Spirit-filled Christians, when it can’t beat them any other way. It puts us to sleep. The attacks stop. Things seem to go well. We get excited about our blessings. Like manic-depressives who stop taking their lithium when things go well, we stop praying and relying on the Spirit. This is what happened to the early church. They got the support of the political system. They got fat. They quit teaching about tongues, and they lost their power.
The Holy Spirit has seven parts. This is reflected in the seven-armed structure of the lampstand in the Holy of Holies, and Jesus himself (in the Revelation) stated that there were seven spirits of God. As the lampstand illuminated the Holy of Holies, the Holy Spirit is supposed to illuminate a Christian from within. Seven is the number of completeness (also called perfection). The Holy Spirit completes us.
Samson’s hair had seven locks. Delilah removed them from him. When that was done, he had no strength, and the Palestinians put out his eyes. They took away his light. He carried off the gate of Gaza, and the Palestinians entered through the gate of his flesh and returned the favor, destroying his authority.
They made him a slave, just as Christians have served Satan’s world since the church gave up the Spirit. Samson ground grain to make their bread. He used his natural strength to do a menial task, when he should have been using supernatural power to do lasting works for God.
When his strength returned to him, he was able to kill many Palestinians. But he would have been better off listening to God in the first place.
You can be like Samson. You can be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and you can pray in tongues every day. You can be built up supernaturally, and you will grow stronger than your enemies. God will do amazing things through you, and you will live in victory. If you reject the baptism, expect to live in defeat. You have rights, but you can’t exercise them unless you do it God’s way.
This is working for me, and I’m sure it will work for you. Life isn’t perfect, but remember: Muhammad Ali never won a fight without taking a few punches to the face. You may be blessed with effortless victory, like Samson’s victory over the lion, or you may be like Paul, who got a number of beatings. But overall, you will win.
Our abandonment of the Holy Spirit is the reason Christians do not live in power. It’s why we claim the promises of the Bible and don’t receive them. The Bible is true, but you can’t have it your way. You have to go through the gate God prepared, and that means Holy Spirit baptism and prayer in tongues.
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