“Then she let him fall asleep on her lap and called a man to shave off the seven braids on his head. In this way, she made him helpless, and his strength left him. Then she cried, ‘Samson, the Philistines are here!’ When he awoke from his sleep, he said, ‘I will escape as I did before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him” (Judges 16:19-20, Christian Standard Bible).
“But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” That may be one of the saddest statements in the entire Bible. Samson had come to trust in the gift– his hair– rather than the Giver. His hair wasn’t what made him strong. It was only a symbol of the command God had given him much earlier.
He had come to rely on his strength and not in the God who gave him that strength. In the end, God wasn’t even so much as an afterthought in Samson’s mind.
Sometimes, I wonder if this could ever apply to the Church.
We sometimes rely so much on high production values, musicianship, and charisma that we’ve left little to no room for the Holy Spirit to work and move. If God suddenly removed His Spirit from our worship services, would we even notice? Would it make any difference?
It’s one thing to be able to manipulate people’s emotions by overwhelming them through powerful songs and dramatic preaching, but that’s not always synonymous with the moving of God’s Spirit.
What if you took away the comfortable chairs and the modern facilities? What if you took away the professional lighting and sound system? What if there was no worship band or charismatic speaker?
Would God’s Word be enough? Could we still sense the Spirit moving without all the sensory overload?
The saddest testimony about the modern Church would be that the Spirit of God one day left and we went about our business as usual and didn’t even know it until it was far too late.