“But he (Samson) did not tell his father and mother what he had done.”
Judges 14: 6
“What Did We Do Wrong?”
“Every word and deed of a parent is a fiber woven into the character of a child, which ultimately determines how that child fits into the fabric of society.”
Evangelist & Pastor
What fibers have I woven into the lives of the children God has placed within my care and keeping?
“In the man (and woman) whose childhood has known caresses and kindness, there is always a fiber of memory that can be touched to gentle issues.”
“There is only one way to bring up a child in the way (they) should go and that is to travel that way yourself.”
I want to say this upfront. Today’s devotional is intended to be an encouragement to every parent, grandparent, aunt and uncle, or any other person who in their lives have undertaken the heavenly responsibility of raising a child.
As we have looked at the lives of Manoah and his wife, “Faithful,” and then watched as their son Samson, instead of making wise choices and living within the calling of a Nazirite, willfully walked a pathway of his own making, I wonder if Samson’s parents ever asked themselves a question I’ve heard other parents ask. “What in the world did we do wrong?”
Frankly, I heard my parents ask this question a few times as I wandered off the pathway of God in my young adult years.
Granted, there are many parents today who have been less than perfect. You may find that your influence in your children’s lives has been less than God intended.
However, we all fall short of God’s glory. And no parent has a guide book which perfectly lays out every word and action to be used to raise a child. What’s more, the book would have to be revised for each child, since no two are alike, and what works for child may not have any relevance to another.
If we look at Manoah and “Faithful,” we find that in the midst of apostasy, they kept grounded in their heavenly Father. When “Faithful” was told she was carrying a child of promise, she adopted the practices of a Nazirite herself, living a life of purity. What’s more, this wasn’t a home where the parents were divided in their devotion to spiritual matters. As a father-to-be, Manoah asked the heavenly visitor who came to the couple, “How shall we manage the child, and what is he to do?” (Judges 13: 12, Amplified Bible). These parents were serious in their desire to raise their child in the ways of God. They wanted heaven’s input and longed for God’s guiding hand to be with them.
Throughout the early life of Samson, there is absolutely no Biblical evidence recorded that these parents ever veered off track in their parental responsibilities. Yet with this foundation, Samson still chose to “do his own thing.”
By the time Samson demanded his parents go and get him the woman from Timnah as his bride, he was an adult making adult decisions. As Judges 14: 3 informs us, Samson’s parents labored with him, trying to encourage him to marry within his tribe and within the Israelite faith – to absolutely no avail. Finally, his parents went to Timnah and did what I believe to be was what they thought would be proper and arrange for a marriage. Perhaps they believed their influence on this girl would bring her to a knowledge of God. There were cases of this happening at the time, even in the life of Abraham and his wife Keturah. Who knows? Samson’s parents certainly knew they couldn’t get their son to change his mind, no matter what they did or said. As one author notes, “You train a child until ten, after that, you only influence them.” There’s a heap of truth in this statement for by the time a child reaches their teens, the pattern from the fibers we have woven are quite firmly in place. It doesn’t mean children after the age of twelve can’t change – it just means it is vital the early years be ones where heavenly assistance is sought and spiritual training instilled in young lives, if in the end, we want the outcome to be a life of purpose lived for God.
From all we can read about Samson, he had every opportunity given to him, but on his first foray into Philistine territory, his head was turned and his eyes were drawn to the forbidden.
Within my own family, as well as my husband’s, we have watched the same thing happen. Brothers and sisters raised by the same godly parents, choose to walk in distinctly different directions and lest we think this is only a 21st century problem, beginning in Genesis we find our first family had two sons as different as night and day – Cain and Abel. And there were Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Absalom and Solomon, and the list goes on and on.
Which leads me to the encouraging part of the story of Samson which we will study. In spite of his wandering and falling into a pit, in the end, the training from his youth, about the God of heaven and earth, was what Samson remembered. Even when his parents couldn’t control his choices and had to let him walk the way of his own choosing, God hung on to Samson. Even when his parents couldn’t be by his side to guide him, God was. It is this wonderful and comforting knowledge I have claimed more than one time in my life for the young people God has placed under the umbrella of my care.
One of my favorite authors, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, penned these insightful words: “Him that I love, I wish to be free even from me.”
We all desire the young ones in our care to grow up to be independent, responsible adults – making wise decisions and choosing to walk on God’s path. I’m certain Manoah and “Faithful” wanted the best for Samson. But when children grow to the age where we have to let them go, how thankful I am we can rest in the fact that if we raise our children in the knowledge of God, even when they are choosing a pathway which is filled with errant decisions, when we ask our Father to surround our children with His gracious love and protection, they will be covered by a Father and Mother who promises, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son (or daughter) of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have indelibly, imprinted a picture of you on the palm of each of My hands…for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will give safety to your children.” (Isaiah 49: 15, 16, 25, Amplified Bible).
What a promise for you and me to claim for all our children throughout their entire lives.
“If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to how we want our children to remember us that we give to the question of what to do with two weeks’ vacation, we would overnight become better parents and over time become the kind of family that we always dreamed we would be.”
“Most gracious Father,
This is our home;
Let Your peace rest upon it.
Let love abide here,
Love of one another,
Love of mankind,
And love of God.
Let us remember that
As many hands build a house,
So many hearts make a home.”
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, ChristianBook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeets jesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal.
If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at a 30%-50% quantity discount for your Women’s Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please visit: www.direct2church.com or email direct2church@Bakerpublishinggroup.com.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.