Fri, 18 December 2020
(Jgs.13:2-7,24-25; Ps.71:3-6,8,16-17; Lk.1:5-25)
“From my mother’s womb you are my strength.”
How the above line from our psalm is reflected both in Samson and in John, and how parallel are the lives of these two great men. Of John it is said, “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb”; of Samson, “This boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb” and “The Spirit of the Lord began to be with him.” The birth of both is announced by an angel of the Lord. Both will be born of women who were barren. Both will be nazirites, who shall “never drink wine or strong drink,” and whose head “no razor shall touch.” Both come for the deliverance of the people, though Samson only from “the power of the Philistines” while John comes to “prepare for the Lord a people well-disposed,” that we might have eternal salvation.
Of course, Jesus, too, will have His birth announced by the angel of the Lord; He will be born of a woman from whom it seems no child could come – a consecrated virgin – and this of the Holy Spirit, who is with Him even before time. His is a new testament, however, signified by His birth of a woman of youth and not old age. Though hailed by the old, He brings the newness of God into our midst. His birth fulfills all the births and words and wisdom of the prophets and judges and kings of the Old Testament.
But, returning to our psalm and its universal call in the voice of Christ (words which apply to all in their quest for God), we should remember today that for all, God is our “rock of refuge” on whom we “depend from birth.” “You have taught me from my youth,” the psalmist declares to the Lord, and so it should be true with us all that from the womb “till the present [we] proclaim [His] wondrous deeds.” He works in all our lives, brothers and sisters; He has brought us all to birth and is acting now, His Spirit upon us, to see that we are born into His kingdom.
The great figures of the Old Testament, and especially John, are models from whom we can all learn, holy men whom we can certainly admire. But as our Lord has stated clearly, none of those born of woman can compare with those born into the kingdom of heaven. And so, let us take our strength for our journey from His prophets and from His Word; from His Spirit let us receive what we need in this life for our journey to His paradise. As strong as were Samson and John, so much stronger can we now be by His Body and His Blood, our holy food on this earth, and by His Spirit upon us.
O LORD, it is you who give us life
and make us strong –
your Spirit be with us.
YHWH, your power is upon the mothers of both Samson and John, and so upon their sons. They are born by your will to bring deliverance to the people. As they trusted in you from the womb, so let us be blessed to know you, LORD; let us be blessed to do your will.
Strength we should all take in you, O LORD, for you teach us from our youth to this day: the moment we turn to you, you come to us, and from our souls you would never take your leave. O let us trust in you, that in our lives your works might be done.
How hard it is for our wounded hearts to believe the glory you bring into our midst, dear LORD. Your presence is overwhelming to us and so difficult to bear. But you would make it easy, if we had but faith. Turn our hearts to the call to serve you, that we might be ready to receive you. O let us speak in your Name!