May 27, 2023: Haftorah - Judges 13:2-25
This week's Haftorah reading is from Judges 13:2-25. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he digs into the life of Samson and the special calling ELOHIM had on his life, and how the decisions he made affected his generation. We too have a special calling on our lives, and there are 6 characteristics of this calling of ELOHIM that He is looking for, in us.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – Judges 13:2-25
When we think of the name “Samson” we immediately think of the woman— “Delilah” or “super strength” or “long hair”. As we look at Samson we wonder why, with such amazing strength and gifts of Elohim, would he be so dumb when it comes to the ladies? How could he be so foolish to be tricked? What was he thinking? It seems like Samson is a tragic hero whose amazing feats were overshadowed by his decisions and failures in life. Samson was a man who was empowered by the Ruach HaKodesh, yet he was ruled by his flesh.
To understand this narrative, we need to understand the time of Judges in Israel. Elohim had chosen Israel and brought them out of slavery in Egypt. He had given them His Torah to integrate into their lives and eventually placed them in the Promised Land. They were commanded to live like His chosen and holy people. They were to be holy because He is holy. After the death of Joshua, things began to head into a downward spiral fast. The whole book of Judges is a 300-year history of what happens when a nation depends on its own sense of morality rather than on Elohim’s. Judges is a record of Israel’s dark ages. Joshua has died, and it is before there was a king to lead Elohim’s people in what is right. So, they did what was right in their own eyes. Israel fell into sin and Elohim allowed the Philistines to conquer them. Israel would sin, follow after idols and reject Elohim. So, Elohim would raise up people around them to oppress them and make them slaves. They would cry out to Elohim and He would raise up a “judge” or “deliverer” to save them. Then there would be a time of peace and after the “Judge” dies, they would go back to sinning and the cycle would repeat. This is where Samson comes into the narrative and Judges 13:1 says, “Again the people of Israel did what was evil from Adonai’s perspective and Adonai handed them over to the Philistines for 40 years.” The difference this time is that they didn’t cry out to Elohim to deliver them. They were content being slaves to the Philistines but Elohim decides to deliver them anyway and He chooses to do so with Samson.
In Judges 13:2-7, Elohim appears to Samson’s mother who was barren, childless. He spoke and told her “She would have a son and advised her not to drink any wine or intoxicating liquor, and don’t eat anything unclean.” He also said, “No razor is to touch his head because the child will be a nazir for Elohim from the womb.” We see that Samson’s parents are godly parents who are willing to sacrifice for the purpose of Elohim’s will. Her barrenness meant that the impossible are Elohim’s opportunities and her willingness to understand that is always a part of privilege.
We also see that Elohim answers the prayer of Samson’s father…we learn that godly parents are teachable (Judges 13:8-14). He asks Elohim to teach them how to raise their son. If you are a teachable parent then you aim to unite on spiritual priorities, you know that Elohim uses our desperate situations as parents to grow us spiritually.
Elohim reveals His greatness to both parents because godly parents are worshippers (Judges 13:15-25). Samson’s father invites the angel of Adonai to dinner, but the angel invites him to worship. Elohim wants our worship as parents more than anything. Worship means realizing Yah is far beyond understanding, so we focus on who Yah is instead of what we want from Him.
Samson’s birth is extraordinary but also is his calling. This was not some ordinary calling of living a normal life, but a special calling of Elohim that is seen in two factors: A Nazirite vow and a Deliverer of Israel. Nazirite means dedicated or consecrated, a vow taken for a voluntary period of time. However, Samson was to be a Nazirite for life! He was to be dedicated to and consecrated to Elohim for life! As a Nazirite, he was to abstain from fermented drinks, not to cut his hair or touch a dead body. The violation of this calling will play an important role in the life of Samson and be the downfall of his life. This vow was not just a list of rules to conform to but was an outward expression of an inward dedication to Elohim. This person was visibly seen as different and as separated to Elohim.
Another aspect of his calling is seen at the end of Judges 13:5 He will begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines. He was not only dedicated to Yah but also lived a special life of delivering Elohim’s people. But because of Samson’s moral failures he gets caught up in doing what he wants when he wants. We need to value the call of Elohim in our own lives. Elohim is still speaking to people like you and me. He is pulling on our hearts, inviting us and bidding us to take a certain action or make a certain decision. He wants us to answer the call and walk in our purpose—totally dedicated and consecrated to Him. We find within Scripture 6 characteristics of the calling of Elohim. The first characteristic is that Elohim’s call isn’t based on natural abilities. I Cor. 1:26-27 says, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But Elohim has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and Elohim has chosen the weak things of this world to put to shame the things that are mighty.” Elohim does not look for the people who are the most talented, intelligent, or popular by the world’s standards. He calls people who will walk by the Ruach and not by the flesh.
The second characteristic is that Elohim has “called us with a holy calling.” Holy means set apart for a sacred purpose…not perfect. However, this special calling should be greatly valued. Thirdly, Elohim always calls us to better things. Eph. 4:1, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Elohim gives us a higher vision to live up to in order to bring out the best in us. What He has in store for us is always better than what we are experiencing now. Fourthly, Elohim’s calling has a purpose, and He wants you to know it. Remember, He calls us for a reason! There is a hope to His calling, a purpose attached to its fulfillment. Fifthly, Elohim’s calling is irrevocable according to Romans 11:29. Just because you don’t walk in it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Elohim doesn’t change His mind about His call. Our mistakes don’t diminish His vision or derail His plan for us. If we mess up…He doesn’t withdraw His call. He is more interested in moving us forward than taking things away. Sixth, Elohim’s call requires a response. We must be “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1). Partakers signifies our responsibility to take part in the calling Elohim has for us. It’s one thing to be served food but it’s another thing to partake of it. In the same way, there is a difference in hearing Elohim’s call and answering His call. We shouldn’t just acknowledge His call; we should obey! We must respond to His call by proclaiming, “YES!”
May we not be like Samson who allowed his moral failure and weakness to stop the will of Yah in His life. Let us live according to our Yah-given mission instead of living without purpose. Elohim has called us, saved us for a Yah-given mission. We should bring Him glory, live as holy people and share His message to the world. When we don’t live in light of our special relationship to yah and our special Yah-given mission in life, we are nothing more than Samsons'—empowered by the Ruach but dominated by the flesh, only to live a tragic believer’s life of failure. Let’s rise above our flesh and fulfill the will of Yah!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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Fulfill your calling. Die to your flesh. Be ye crucified in Yeshua, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Yeshua lives within me. Amen and Halleluyah! Arise watchman and blow the warning shofar and gather the people. Come and give Him your praise and worship. He is worthy. See you at the altar!