Holy Spirit & Spiritual Gifts: Breaking the Nazarite Vow
The Holy Spirit is the source of our deepest connections with our Creator and empowers us to fully experience His Presence and operate in our spiritual gifts. We must be mindful of this great privilege and honor and not take the Holy Spirit for granted. Though destined to serve as a powerful Judge on behalf of Israel against the Philistines, mighty Samson instead tried to live on his own behalf and failed to recognize the ultimate role that the Holy Spirit played in his heroic feats, and lost everything, including his life, in the process.
Judge Samson’s birth was announced to his barren mother by the Angel of the Lord, instructing her to not imbibe any wine or strong drink, and to avoid any unclean things while pregnant. These restrictions, which included never drinking alcohol, touching unclean animals or the dead, or ever shaving his hair, would continue throughout Samson’s own life as a Nazarite, dedicated to the service of God. Despite knowing his obligations to abide by these restrictions, Samson broke them repeatedly to fulfill his personal desires.
While on their journey to arrange Samson’s marriage to a Philistine woman, which his parents objected to, a young lion roared against him, which he tore apart with his bare hands, after the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him. Samson didn’t tell his parents; if they had seen this carnage, they would have chastised him for breaking the restriction of touching an unclean animal. After meeting with the woman he intended to marry, Samson came across the carcass of the lion he had killed and saw that a swarm of bees had formed in it. Samson again broke his Nazarite vow and reached into the carcass and grabbed the honey comb, which he ate and shared with his parents, but didn’t tell them where he had gotten it (ref. Judges 14:5-9).
During the wedding ceremony, it is heavily implied that Samson broke the restriction on drinking alcohol, since the word used for feast is mishteh, whose root shalthah means “drink” (Judges 14:10). Amongst their other drinking games, Samson issued a riddle with the reward of thirty sets of clothes and sheets. After having nagged him for the answer, Samson’s wife told the men at the feast how to solve the question, and in his rage at her betrayal, Samson went to the nearby Philistine city and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he killed thirty men and looted their corpses to pay the reward (ref. Judges 14:11-19).
After his wife was given to his best man (Judges 14:20), in a fit of vengeance, Samson caught 300 foxes, yet another unclean animal, bound pairs of foxes’ tails together with a flaming torch between them and released them into the Philistine’s grain stores, fields, orchards, vineyards, and olive groves, which were ready for harvest, setting everything ablaze. The ensuing destruction intensely crippled their economy and food production. In revenge, the Philistines killed Samson’s wife and father-in-law with fire, but Samson retaliated and viciously slaughtered many Philistines, tearing them apart limb from limb (ref. Judges 15:1-8).
The Tribe of Judah calmly captured Samson to ransom a peace treaty with the Philistines, but again the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and Samson broke through the ropes that bound him, as they approached the camp. Though he had just enacted a terrible defeat against the Philistines empowered only by the Spirit, Samson grabbed the fresh jawbone from a donkey skeleton, another unclean dead animal, and killed 1,000 men, while using it as a weapon (ref. Judges 15:9-16).
Samson broke his final restriction against cutting his hair after the devious Delilah convinced him to tell her the secret to his immense strength. Since he had already touched many unclean animals and their corpses and the bodies of dead men, and drank alcohol, he reasoned that his strength had always been in his hair, since it had never been shorn. After being bound while sleeping and having his hair shaved, Samson was unable to break the ropes that restricted him, not realizing that God had departed from him (ref. Judges 16:15-20).
After his capture, Samson had his eyes gouged out and was ironically forced to do the work of donkeys by treading out grain while imprisoned. He was flaunted as a war prize during the Philistine’s religious ceremony, where in his final moments, Samson pushed the pillars of their temple apart, killing over 3,000 of the Philistines’ societal leaders and himself in the process (ref. Judges 16:21-30).
Though Samson had been physically blinded by his Philistine captors, it was his inability to see how his strength was reliant on the Spirit of the Lord and keeping his Nazarite vow that truly disabled him. Likewise, we cannot expect to walk in the full grace, promises, and blessings God intends for us if we do not obey His Word, honor the Holy Spirit, or try to fulfill the purpose He has for our lives.
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator
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