Samson: Faith in the Belly of Failure
|2000-01-01||Hebrews 11:32 Judges 13-16|
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25
13:1 Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. 24... the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon him...14:6 the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat,
14:1 Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. 2..."I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife."
16:1 Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.
14:16 Then Samson's wife wept on him, and said, "You only hate me! You do not love me!...And he said to her, "Look, I have not explained... 17 Now she had wept on him the seven days while their feast lasted. On the seventh day that he told her, because she pressed him so much.
19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he...killed... So his anger was aroused, and he went back up to his father's house. 15:7 Since you would do a thing like this, I will surely take revenge on you, and after that I will cease. 8 So he attacked them with a great slaughter;
15:14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him...bonds broke loose from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey...killed a thousand men with it. 18 Then he became very thirsty; so he cried out to the LORD and said, "You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant; and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?" 19 So God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out, and he drank; and his spirit returned, and he revived.
16:15 Then she said to him, "How can you say, `I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies." 16 And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, 17 that he told her all his heart, and said to her, "No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man." 20 And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" So he awoke from his sleep, and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!" But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. 21 Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22 However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven
28 Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, "O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!" 30 Then Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.
I. We fail to realize our potential for God (or even enjoy what we have) when we live for ourselves (rather than Him and others).
A. Israel was unable to enjoy the land that God had given them because “they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do so.” Jdg 2:17
B. Samson didn’t fulfill his purpose in delivering others because he didn’t draw on God’s strength to deliver himself.
”A principle that is found throughout Scripture can be expressed this way: If there is any area in our life where we are resisting the Lordship of Christ, and if we continue to resist, then we will discover that, in other areas also, our life will begin to fall under the dominion of the flesh. If God is speaking to you, for instance, about a resentful spirit, or an unforgiving heart, or lustful thoughts, or whatever, and if you are unwilling to deal with that, then you will find yourself falling back into sins that you felt had long since been vanquished in your life, slipping back into habits from which you have been delivered for years. Perhaps your old jealous spirit returns, or your former bad temper comes back, and, whereas once you had complete control in this area, now you find that you've lost control.” David Roper PBC (Stedman) http://www.pbc.org/dp/roper/0461.html
C. The secret of spiritual strength is keeping wholly (not compartmentally) separated from world and connected to the True Vine (Jn 15)
II. We will realize the pain of our sin as God lovingly lets us reap the consequences of our deadly desires
A. Israel’s complacent refusal to focus on what pleased God (1:28; 2:19; 21:25) resulted in their serving sin and earning its wages
B Delilah’s desire for possessions (and failure to fulfill her purpose) resulted in others being hurt and God disgraced.
C. Samson’s self-centered desires for pleasure blinded him to the deceitfulness of sin. He couldn’t see and couldn’t learn.
His desire for revenge destroyed those he should have loved (including himself) and resulted in barren bondage.
”And that is what happens to us. God will give us up to the passions of our own life, if we insist on it. This picture of Samson grinding away at the mill is such a vivid illustration of what happens in the inner man. There is a blinding--a loss of a sense of moral perspective and vision. There is a binding--a loss of our freedom and liberty and mobility in the Spirit. And there is a grinding--a sense of futility and boredom and purposelessness about life, of just going around and around and around inside.” D Roper
III. It’s never too late to do the right thing (even though it involves painful humility and self sacrifice).
A. God always spares based upon repentance: David, Israel, Ahab (1Kg 8:47-53; 21:25-29), Peter
B. Failure is never fatal unless our pride keeps us from repenting and calling upon the God of grace (power & desire to do His will) in faith
Questions for Discussion/Reflection/Response:
1. How are we a source of grief to ourselves, others, and God when we fail to live according to our purpose? What’s your purpose?
2. What causes believers to forsake the fountain of living water to suck muck from polluted cesspools? Do we realize we do that? Why?
3. Why do we hide and hurl (from God and others) to cover up our failures rather than confess up? What would help? Is it necessary?
4. How can we train or reprogram our desires so we want what God wants us to have and not what isn’t good for us? Need help?
5. What can motivate us to repent and exercise God-pleasing faith when our-sufficiency lands us in the belly of failure?
6. What instructions would you have given Samson’s parents about his rule of life and work other than diet and hairstyle (Jdg 13:12)?