March 21, 2021
Before attempting to answer the question in the title of this post, let me state my opinion about strength.
I believe there are at least three kinds of strength. (1) physical strength, (2) mental strength, and (3) spiritual strength.
In a book I am still writing about health, I also use those three criteria to determine how healthy one is. Still, my opinion, but I think as we evaluate our health, we must realize that health and strength are close synonyms.
I state in my forthcoming book AND this post that our health/ strength is likened to the three-legged stool. The stool must utilize all three legs to function properly.
But in today’s post, I specifically write about our physical strength. We need to be as strong as possible physically so that we can do better at accomplishing God’s goals and plan for our life.
I find by reading and studying the Bible, in particular, that our strength comes from God. Some people are born with more strength and stamina than others. And I discover, too, that there is much one can do to increase their strength. All sorts of exercise are usually good at improving our strength.
But how and why do we have the strength, to begin with? I want to answer a part of that riddle by sharing a few stories that come from the Bible.
Both of these stories come from the Book of Judges. The time of Israel being ruled by judges came before the Israelites demanded that God give them a king to rule over them as the nations round about them did.
The first story is about Gideon (Judges 6-8). Gideon would in his lifetime be a military leader, a judge, and a prophet. He was one of the great leaders of Israel. One day God called Gideon to lead a military campaign against the Midianites, sworn enemies against Israel. When God called Gideon and told him what he wanted him to do, Gideon said something like, “Who, me, I’m just a nobody. I’ve never accomplished much in my life.” But God said, “Gideon, you are a mighty man of valor.”
Isn’t it amazing how God sees the potential when we don’t recognize it ourselves?
Gideon felt that if he was to be successful at defeating the Midianites, he would have to use all the armies of Israel combined. But God said, “No, just use 300 men.” Gideon, in himself, thought that by just using 300 men, his mission would be impossible. But Gideon believed God and devised a strange way in which Israel defeated a much larger Midianite army. To accomplish the victory, Gideon and his men had to be strong in strength, faith, and obedience.
What can we learn from Gideon?
The second story about strength is about Samson (Judges 13-16). When I was a young child, my Grandmother Pansy Plumley, gave me a Bible storybook for Christmas one year. The book contained many of the classic pictures of Bible history. One of my favorite pictures was of Samson when he fought and killed a lion singlehandedly. The caption under the picture contained the location in my Bible where I could look up the scripture and learn all about Samson.
Samson would make the likes of Tarzan, Atlas, and other contemporary strong men of my youth look like little school children. As I became older, I learned that Samson was a great warrior for Israel and that he was also a judge. Samson took and kept a Nazarite vow he made to God. One of the outward signs of being a Nazarite was that the person making the vow would not cut their hair. They let it grow long. Far too many people who do not put in the study time to learn about the Nazarite vow simply think Samson’s strength was in his long hair.
That is a very false assumption.
Samson, being a warrior for Israel against the Philistines, often was called upon to do superhuman feats of strength. The Bible says that Samson would pray for strength and that the Holy Ghost would come upon him and he was able to perform the many things we read about in his life. Eventually, the Philistines hired a beautiful lady named Delilah, to seduce Samson and find out the secret of his strength.
While she was trying to find out that answer, Samson told her his strength came from his long hair. That was not the whole story as I wrote earlier, but Delilah had Samson sleeping on her lap when the Philistines slipped upon him and cut off his long hair. This time when Delilah yelled out, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you.”He was not able to fight them off as he had so easily done in the past. NOT because his hair had been shorn, but because he forgot God and the Nazarite vow he had made long ago.
It seems like this story is warning all that if we turn away from God, neither does He have to keep His commitment to us.
Samson was soon blinded and made to push a huge millstone around in circles grinding out the grain. Fortunately, while Samson was being made fun of he reconnected with God and became a Nazarite in soul and spirit. When a great victory party celebrating Samson’s captivity was being held in a great temple with many thousands of people present, Samson found his way to the main pillars supporting the temple and pushed them over. The temple fell in killing more of God’s enemy than Samson had been able to kill in his whole life.
It takes more strength to become a martyr for God than it does to live.
I wish everyone would read Foxes Book of Martyrs. How easy we have it today. But even in peaceful times with little persecution toward God’s people, it takes strength from God to be able to fully achieve what God has ahead for each of us to achieve.
Spencer and Sandra Plumley