Tuesday, November 20, 2012


In Judges 14 the story of Samson's trip to claim his Philistine wife is told. Samson belonged to a people called the Nazirites. While there was no strict prohibition against a Nazirite marrying a Philistine woman, Samson was wrong in pursuing her because her people worshiped false gods. Samson's parents strongly advised him to consider marrying within his own tribe which were people who worshiped the living God. But Samson did not heed their wise counsel.

On his way to secure his Philistine bride Samson was surprised by an attack from a wild lion. God came to Samson's aid and gave him super human strength to kill the lion. Now you would think an encounter like that might cause one to reconsider the rest of the trip.  Not Samson.  Undeterred by the extraordinary encounter with the lion Samson continued on and collected his Philistine bride.

On the return trip to his home Samson passed by the dead lion carcass only to find it filled with delicious honey. It was so tempting that Samson tasted the honey. Other than being a little "gross" that probably doesn't sound like a big deal.  But the Nazirites lived by strict vows that prohibited them from touching anything dead as it was considered unclean.  So the decision to take a bride he shouldn't have put him in a position where he committed an even more serious offense against God.

Warning shots.  Everyone understands the concept.  You get too close to some place you're not supposed to be and someone fires a warning shot overhead.  Not meant to harm you but instead to make you stop and think about what you are about to do or enter.  I don't know for sure but for some reason I think God was trying to get Samson's attention with the lion encounter.  In a sense it was a warning shot.

Here are a few things as leaders we should consider about "warning shots":
  • When wise people offer us counsel we should always take and weigh it very seriously.  We rarely see things we are close to or emotionally involved with as objectively as those who are removed from it.
  • If we decide to proceed against the judgment of wise counsel we should be on the look out for signs that our decision may not have been well advised.  I'm not suggesting that we be "superstitious" or continually second guess ourselves.  But if we proceed against the recommedation of wise counsel just be sure that if something unusual happens along the "road" to the final objective to be sure to give the circumstances due consideration before continuing on.
  • Even if you achieve your goal while going against the advice of wise counsel be cautious that your success does not blind you to other risks that may present themselves as benefits of your success.  It's easy to make a big mistake in a moment of supreme self-confidence.
While we may not always follow the advice of wise counsel we should always pay attention to things that happen along the way when we take a path that strays from the advice of wise counsel - just in case a WARNING SHOT gets fired.

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