Between the Times

Judges 13:24–25 (KJV) – 24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times…

He was a miracle child.  His mother was barren until an angel of the LORD came with a message from God:

A miracle is going to happen. You will bear a son.

The angel continued:

Your son will not be an ordinary child nor live an ordinary life. You and your husband are to raise him differently than other children. He is to be a Nazarite all the days of his life.

Samson had a rendezvous with destiny. Before he was even born, God ordained that this man, Samson, should be a mighty deliverer for Israel.  The touch of heaven upon Samson didn’t end at his birth:

Judges 13:24 – 24 …..and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.

The Lord blessed him as he grew. At some point the Spirit of God moved upon him. It moved upon him in a samsonway that inspires legends and fairytales.

He was walking through a vineyard in the Philistine city of Timnath when a young lion roared against Him. The Spirit of the Lord moved upon him and he grabbed the lion and killed it with his bare hands!

When an army of the Philistines came against him, Samson picked up the jawbone of an ass and with it slew 1000 enemy soldiers.

On another occasion he was sleeping in city of Gaza. The enemy locked the gates of the city hoping to catch him at daybreak. At midnight Samson went to the main city gates and picked them up – posts, hinges, bars and all! He carried the gates up to the top of the hill on his shoulders.

He did those things when the Spirit of God moved upon him.

Meant for More?

You would think by observing his exploits and recalling his miraculous birth that Sampson is a hero for the ages. Be he is not. When you think of Sampson, you think of him succumbing to the temptation of a harlot. You think of him divulging his divine secret to a heathen woman who used it against him. We see him at the end of his life – a captive to the very enemy that God said he was destined to defeat. We see him with his eyes gouged out by the enemy, bound in chains and grinding at mill of the Philistines.

Certainly he found some measure of redemption. In his last act, he destroyed more Philistines in his own death than he did throughout his entire life. He is a testimony that God can bring beauty out of ashes. But you have to conclude: This is not what God intended.

Surely Samson was meant for more. Surely he was destined for more than to fall into the trap of Delilah and die a martyr’s death while the philistines mocked him. Having read the circumstances of his birth and his great exploits in life, you would have hoped for a better ending. What went awry?

Between the Times

The Bible says the Spirit moved on him at times. If the Spirit moved upon him mightily at times, then there were obviously times when the Spirit wasn’t moving on him. And a survey of his life will reveal that Samson’s downfall came from how he handled life when the Spirit was not moving upon Him.  He ran into trouble – not during the times the Spirit moved on him – but between the times!

He didn’t fail God because he couldn’t function properly when the Spirit moved upon Him. When the Spirit was moving on him, he did mighty exploits.  He failed God because he couldn’t live between the times.

When the Spirit wasn’t moving on him is when you find him going to Gaza to spend the night with a prostitute. That’s when you find him disregarding the commands of God. That’s when you find him going down to the valley of Sorek and falling for Delilah. It’s during the time the Spirit wasn’t moving on him that you see him violate his covenant with God.

Samson did fine during the times the Spirit moved upon him. But he lacked the discipline to walk with God during the times he didn’t feel the anointing of God’s Spirit.

Still True Today

Where do most people get off track today? It’s not when the Spirit is mightily moving upon them. It’s between the times that most stumble.

Nobody backslides when the Holy Ghost is moving upon them. When the Spirit is moving upon us we feel invincible. We are determined to do great exploits for God. It’s during the times we don’t feel Him that we waver.

As Spirit-filled believers we certainly have the promise the He will never leave us or forsake us! That doesn’t, however, exempt us from times when we don’t feel Him.

So what are you going to do between the times? That’s when many people have fallen by the wayside. That’s when many have made poor choices or become disillusioned.

I’ve known people who thrived as long as they lived in one continuous Spiritual highlight. As long as the Spirit was moving on them they were fine. But they never learned the discipline of walking with God between the spiritual highlights.

Walk by Faith

The Christian journey is filled with great spiritual exploits and mountaintop experiences. There’s nothing more exhilarating than feeling the anointing of God or sensing the Hand of God upon you. But the entirety of your Christian walk is not a mountaintop experience.

samsonWe must learn to walk by faith and not by sight. We must learn to walk by faith and not by feeling. There will be some times when you don’t feel God or sense His anointing. There will be times when you don’t feel the strength to tear off the gates of the enemy city. Rest assured, there will be times when we won’t understand what God is up to or hear His voice. There will be times when life doesn’t make sense – times when the answers to our prayers haven’t come yet.

What are you going to do? Anyone can serve God when a rushing wind of the Holy Ghost and cloven tongues of fire are sweeping over you. But what are you going to do between the times?

The Desert Test

Every great leader in the God’s story had to pass the desert test. Moses had his desert experiences. So did Joseph, David and Elijah. Even Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness! Paul spent two years in the desert of Arabia before his ministry began in earnest.

God will test you. Before He promotes you, you must demonstrate that you can be faithful and consistent in your walk with him, regardless of what you feel. Anyone can “mount up with wings like an eagle” in those times when upward currents of the Holy Ghost are lifting you to lofty spiritual peaks. But can you walk and not faint between the times. There’s usually a valley between mountain peaks!

Inconsistency Trumps Destiny

Samson’s birth, with it’s miraculous notes, clearly testifies of his great destiny. The angel’s own words remove any doubt. God’s plan for the child was that he grow up to be a mighty deliverer for the Nation.  But Samson’s inconsistency trumped his potential. Samson’s destiny was overcome his unfaithfulness.

Sadly, I’ve watched far too many with great potential unable to seize their destiny because they couldn’t be consistent. I’ve noticed far too many with an obvious anointing never realize their possibilities.  And it all boiled down to an inability to walk faithfully “between the times.” Their greatness was stolen by their inability to be steady.

I’m grateful for momentous spiritual experiences. They are needful. But perhaps more important than having great spiritual experiences is the ability to walk consistently with God through all types of spiritual terrain. Let’s be faithful “between the times!”

~Matthew Ball

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5 thoughts on “Between the Times

  1. Thank you Br. Ball this was really good and a reminder of the hill and valleys and our life between those points. Good word!