“The hair of his (Samson’s head began to grow again after he was shaved.” Judges 16:22
Samson had a good beginning. For about twenty years, during which he judged Israel, he remained a “Nazarite” in his heart, one that was separated unto God, consecrated to God for His purposes. But there would come a day when he would treat lightly this consecration vow, and he would divulge its reason to his enemy, Delilah. In a short moment of time, he would lose his strength. “He did not know that the Lord had departed from him.” His enemies would imprison him, put out his eyes, and make him a subject of mockery and scorn. BUT…his hair began to grow. The attitude which was the key to his greatness began to return to his heart until a very propitious and eventful day when he would ask one more time for the strength that he possessed before his fall. The Lord would grant him request, and in that day, he would destroy more of his enemies, than all whom he destroyed during his life. Samson knew the reality of a new beginning, however brief in his case. He would prove the the mercy and goodness of God.
From a human standpoint, Jonah should have been rejected by God. Knowing quite well WHO God was, and being his servant, a prophet by calling, Jonah deliberately turned his back on his calling and mission. He deliberately chose to flee from the presence of the Lord, hoping in doing so, to bring down the wrath of God on the Ninevites, whom he hated. So intense was his disdain for these enemies of Israel that he was willing to die rather than obey God, and see Him save them. It would take three days in the belly of a fish, in the stench, wretchedness, and intense darkness, for this man to look again toward heaven, and cry out to God for mercy. God would hear his voice, and the cry of his heart. He would be delivered from the fish, and saved from himself. He would go to Ninevah, preach what God commanded him, and Ninevah would be spared. Jonah was given the possibility of a new beginning…and he took it.
Lastly, as an example of new beginnings, we look at David. Here is a man, chosen by God to be the King of Israel…a man after God’s own heart, who would do all of His will. There would come a day when he would commit adultery, and soon after that, murder, in order to hide his adultery. But God is God, and there is nothing hid from his eyes. He would pay dearly for his sins, lose temporarily his kingdom, and some of his family. Though God would forgive him, he would suffer for many years, with the remembrance and the consequences of his sin. How then did David have a new beginning? First of all, after being forced to abandon and flee Jerusalem, become a fugitive being pursued by his son Absalom, who was seeking to kill him, he would in essence lose ALL. Many would suffer and die because of David’s sin, but God, in his mercy, would restore David to his position as king. This would be for a testimony to the mercy of God, but also, for the good of the nation. Secondly, after David had repented, his wife Bathsheba, with whom he had committed adultery, would bear him a son, Solomon. This son would be blessed of God beyond measure. It would be Solomon who would build the first temple in Jerusalem. David’s legacy, and that of the mercy of God, would live on and be declared in the magnificent temple. David also knew what a new beginning meant.
How can one know a new beginning? It is the same for all of us. The blood of Christ was shed so that we could be washed, and cleansed from ALL our sin. This is essential. If we are willing to turn to God for grace to repent, and trust Him for cleansing, He is merciful, and faithful to do so. Secondly, in realizing our sin, we also realize that sin and self-reliance go hand in hand. There must be the rejection, and abandonment of self-reliance, to trust wholly in Christ as King, Lord, Shepherd, Savior, and Friend. Is this possible? Christ died and rose again to not only prove to us that God is willing to do this in the heart, but also, that He has to power to accomplish it. The new beginning that God gives is as real as the beginning of a new day, one where the “…mercies (compassions) of God renew themselves EVERY MORNING.” (Lam. 3:22-23)
Dear Father, save us from wrong thoughts of You. Give us to see that You are not a man (petty, unforgiving, vengeful), but God…holy and true. Enable us to grasp the reality that You are waiting to meet us in the hour of our deepest need, and this out of Your mercy, to grant us repentance, forgiveness and cleansing, and the renewing power of the Spirit. Grant us THIS DAY the capacity to run this race without sin’s entanglements, the weight of sin’s guilt, and the occupation with our petty pursuits. Give us to know and realize the new beginning that You give freely. In Jesus’ name, Amen.