The soft whine entered my ears, waking me from a restful sleep. I heard our puppy, letting me know he needed to go out. I looked down at him, and it almost knocked me back! It was positively visible how much taller he had gotten overnight! As I played Fetch with him later that morning, I admired his muscular rear legs and growing, strong girth. It’s amazing to me how much he has grown in six weeks!
Today, we’re going to dig into the next part of the verse we looked at last post.
“…The boy grew…”Judges 13:24b BSB
I know! Pretty exciting, right?!? I promise; there is more in here than meets the eye, at first.
The boy referred to here is Samson, the son promised to Manoah and his wife by the Angel of the LORD. As you can see, God kept His promise, as He always does, and Samson grew.
The Hebrew word for “grew,” here, is “gadal” (pronounced gaw-dal’). It’s a verb that means that the child grew up, but it also can mean “twist a cord; make strong, become strong.” It’s interesting to think on this for a bit. Samson was a very strong man, as God had plans to begin delivering Israel through him. Unfortunately, he grew to rely on his physical strength, instead of depending solely on God and His mighty power.
Isn’t it fitting that a rope, a symbol of strength, was, actually, what was used to bind Him, like chains? However, when the Spirit of God rushed upon him with His supernatural, decisive, controlled energy to wage a war of judgment on the Philistines, the ropes melted away…they vanished (Judges 15:14), or he snapped them in two like a thread (Judges 16:12)! This kind of power is available to us, when we depend on God; His power has no limits! Yet, Samson let people and his pride distract him from his purpose. In a weak moment, when he gave in to temptation and let himself be in a compromising situation, he didn’t depend solely on God. He said, “I will go out, as at other times, and shake myself free” (Judges 16:20 ASV). Who’s he depending on? Himself!
I’ve researched and written pieces of this post on and off over the past couple days. It was God’s timing and so fitting that today (before I could finish this post), I was the one in a situation. A dear friend, whom God graciously put in my path and used greatly and intentionally, offered her time, her ear, and the wisdom she has from God. During my conversation with her, God removed the scales from my eyes and revealed that people and pride were distracting me from doing what was right in God’s eyes. In a moment of temptation, I had allowed words to flow from my mouth that weren’t dependent solely on Him. How thankful I am that, unlike Samson’s situation, where the LORD left him after his disobedience (Judges 16:20), the LORD drew near to me, as a Father does with a child in need of correction; this is only possible because of Christ Jesus’ payment for my sin and my acceptance of it, becoming a child of God! After repenting, the LORD has melted off my chains (my sin) and has led me to obedience! It’s so freeing, yet the experience was necessary to expose my sin! Growing pains…not always fun, but fruitful!!
Is there anything that has you bound…anywhere you aren’t depending only on God? Take some time to ponder this one. If there is, forgiveness is available, and growth is waiting; I know this well!
Other meanings of the word “gadal” that are from a similar verb tense are “become great, to be magnified.”
“But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Great is the LORD!’”Psalm 40:16 ESV
The word for “great,” here, is the exact same word used to describe Samson growing up! Other translations of this verse say, “The LORD be magnified!” To magnify something is to make it bigger, to intensify, or deepen. Wasn’t this what Samson was doing as a strong man? Wasn’t he making God big to people? Wasn’t he showing them His power? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Shouldn’t we intensify Who He is to others, broadening or deepening their knowledge of Him?
How are we doing with that responsibility?
I needed a loving God today to graciously guide me, through a trusted friend, to lead me back to this purpose; He powerfully showed up!!
“…and you said, “Behold, Yahweh our God has shown us His glory and his greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God does speak with man, and he lives.”Deuteronomy 5:24 WEB
Amen! The Hebrew word for “greatness,” used in this verse, “godel,” was formed from “gadal,” which we spoke of earlier. Godel is a noun. It reminds me of “A Wonder,” a noun, a name of Jesus, which we have touched on for many posts. Calling Him “A Wonder” is a different way of looking at it than we often hear, as many use that noun as an adjective, calling Him “wonderful.” Greatness, this noun, is Who the LORD, Yahweh, is! It speaks to His magnificence! In history, a ruler or one who is honorable, well-known, and of prominent reputation would be called, “His Magnificence!” This is one of God’s names! This is Who Samson was to serve…Who Samson’s life was foreshadowing…Whom we are to make bigger, celebrate with praises, and increase the knowledge of Him to those we come in contact with!! Let’s remember our purpose!
All glory to His Magnificence!!!