Friday, December 2, 2011

Samson Judges 13-16

Ladies it has been such a long time since I have had the privilege of teaching the lecture. I am so glad to be back. Did you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving? Praise the LORD.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that there are many gifts of the Spirit. Do you know your gift? If you don’t, why not ask a close friend? They are the ones that can see the manifestation of the Spirit in your life. God doesn’t give us all the same gift. My daughter was given a beautiful singing voice.  I used to stand beside my daughter in our choir and just pretend that beautiful voice, capable of hitting the highest note, was coming from my throat. But God in His marvelous wisdom knew I would be prideful and take credit for my performance. Teaching is one of my talents and I have to constantly remind myself that it is a gift from God, to direct positive remarks to give Him the glory, the One who gave me my teaching abilities. To give Him the honor and praise and adoration! He puts the hunger in me to dig deep and search the scriptures, and he also gives me the days and hours that I need to prepare.
What we do with our gifts is our gift to God! How are you using your gifts? One of my pet phrases is, “use it or lose it!” In the twilight of our lives we need to continue to feed our minds and souls, exercise our vocal chords and keep our fingers nimble. If you have the gift of music or poetry etc., please let us know. We enjoy hearing from our CBS members during Openings. Didn’t Felicia do a great job earlier! Ladies we need to use our gifts, sing his praises, and share how God has blessed us.

Tonight we will talk about Samson, the last of our judges in this book. We will take a few minutes to analyze how well he used his gifts.
The more I studied the more my opinion of Samson has diminished. There are more chapters in the book of Judges devoted to Samson than any other man. God is using the failings of Samson to teach us some important life lessons. Hopefully we will gain wisdom and insight realizing the importance of God’s direction in our Christian walk, when make decisions.
A.B. Simpson expressed it well when he wrote Samson was:  ‘A marvellous example of what God might have done with a thoroughly separated man,
and yet what self-indulgence and sin can do to hinder the glorious promise and the gracious purpose of God.’

 It's not how you start life, but how you finish that counts for God.

   PRAYER  Ladies if you want, open your bible to Judges 13.
While studying about Samson I chose three points for my lecture tonight from Warren Wiersbe’s book, Be Available.      

·        The Child with the Unbelievable Gift
·        The Champion with Undefeatable Power
·        The Man with the Unreliable Character

The Child with the Unbelievable Gift
Judges 13:1 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. This will be their longest captivity.
Ladies are you even surprised! This time God’s children did not even cry out for deliverance, but He decided it was time for another miracle.
WW  “When God wants to do something really great in His world, He doesn’t send an army, but an angel,” to deliver a gift for His special use to fulfill God’s own purpose.  In verse 2 we learn Manoah‘s wife was barren and had borne no children.

   vv. 3-7 The Angel of the LORD came to the woman and said” Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son;” ( Angel ascended to heaven in a fire.)
Sound familiar doesn’t it. How wonderful to have an angelic birth announcement.
      Sarah - Isaac after 90~ Genesis 17:17
      Rachel - Joseph~ Genesis 30:27   (after Leah had 7 children)
      Hannah - Samuel~1 Samuel 1:20  Eli the priest
      Elizabeth-John the Baptist~ Luke 1 Zachariah and Elizabeth “well along in years”
      Shunammite woman  1 Kings 4  Elisha  “She has no son and her husband is old”
There are several instances in the bible of barren women giving birth in later years: Sarai, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, and the Shunammite woman who cared for Elisha. Two of these, Sara and Elizabeth received a heavenly visitor as well. These sons were definitely “worth the wait.” We tend to develop great expectation for things we have long awaited.  Manoah and his wife were faithful, devoted Christians. Manoah urgently prayed for wisdom and knowledge to raise this special child.

Judges 13:7   Samson was dedicated to be “a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.”  There are only three mentions made in Scripture of those who were Nazirites for life, Samson Judg. 13:4-5, Samuel, 1 Sam. 1:11;and John the Baptist Luke 1:15. Some sources believe Jesus was a Nazirite.
A Nazirite was one who had taken a special vow before the Lord. The purpose of the vow was to provide a way in which a non-priestly person could dedicate his life to God. The Nazirite vow was voluntary and usually temporary, 30-100 days. But in Samson’s case it was ordained by God to last for his whole life. He was chosen by God before he was born and uniquely gifted for the work he was to do.
JV McGee says of Samson:  “Never was a man born with more glorious opportunities than this man.”

 Let me tells you about a boy who used his blessings as an opportunity to help others. A child prodigy nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize at age 12.
Gregory Smith born in PA in1990 could read by age two and had enrolled in university at 10. By16, Smith was studying for four doctorate degress. His “genius” is only one aspect of this story. Smith has used his media attention to advocate children’s rights around the world. He founded an organization that promotes peace and understanding among the world’s young people. Meeting with leaders of different countries and speaking in front of the UN, he has been nominated 4 times for a Nobel Peace Prize. His humanitarian efforts are benefiting orphans and young people around the world. Smith hopes to create safe havens, protected shelters for children living in war zones and is working to create an international symbol to mark these and provide protection during conflict.
Greg Smith realizes that he cannot accomplish much alone. “I try to reach out to other people and encourage them to take part. One drop doesn’t make an ocean, but with enough drops, you can begin to make a change.”Smith has said.  
Quite a different attitude from the one Samson chose.
It's not how you start in life, but how you finish that matters.
Gregory Smith not only started out well but has continued to excel in his 21 years.

The Champion with Undefeatable Power
The blessing of God rested on Samson from his birth. In Mahaneh Dan young Samson no doubt liked to watch the men get ready for battle. The Spirit of God began to stir in Samson in his teen years when a Jewish boy becomes a “son of the law” and demonstrates his special gifts. That the Spirit stirred him at this military staging area indicates that his life’s work would be the deliverance of his people from the hands of the hated Philistine.
We cannot deny that Samson was a powerful man, a mighty warrior of great strength, but always remember his strength was not his hair.

Supernaturally empowered by the Spirit of the LORD, let’s take a look at some of his extraordinary FEATS of STRENGTH
Judges 14:5-6  Ripped apart a young lion  Could this have been the LORD warning him to get out of the vineyard. 1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
  • 14:19 Killed 30 men of Ashkelon for their garments                               
  • 15:4 Caught and tied 300 foxes tail to tail & put a torch on each pair           
  • 15:8 In vengeance, slaughter a great number of Philistines
  • 15:14 Easily broke 2 new cords that bound him
  • 15:15 Killed 1,000 men with the new jawbone of an ass 
  • 16:3 carried the gates of the city posts and all for several miles to                              Hebron 
  • 16:30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
In all of these demonstrations of strength, Samson acted alone in the Spirit of the LORD.  It has been said “God plus 1 is a majority.”
 For 20 years Samson played the champion, but he failed to act as a leader. He never gathered an army or organized the people to fight the Philistines. The only time there was a united military effort was when the 3,000 men of Judah came to Samson to bind him and deliver him over to the enemy. Notice the phrase “the Philistines are rulers over us” Judges 15 v.11
The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson: 4 times in the NIV, but we never heard him call out to the LORD for wisdom or authorization to act. Samson was more interested in serving himself than serving God. The only reason Samson fought against the Philistines, was when he felt personally wronged or out-smarted.  But fear not, God is still orchestrating the “downfall“  of the Philistines
One of the times Samson did cry out to the LORD is in Judges 15:18. He was weakened from battle and proclaimed he would die of thirst. God produced water from a rock and his strength was revived. Judges 15: 20And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
Samson had a good start in life, but it’s how he finished that matters.
The Man with the Unreliable Character
Winston Churchill once described the actions of the Russian “It is a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma.” Warren Weirsbe says this quote could be applied to Samson. He was unpredictable and undependable. James 1:8 “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways”
Judges 13:3-5 should have given us a clue (Samson) shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. JVMcGee   He was a beginner, not a finisher.
 Paul wrote to the Galatians in 5:7   “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?”
Numbers 6 for a more detailed information in the Nazirite vow.
Numbers 6 3 abstain from wine and beer.  not drink vinegar made from wine or from beer. not drink any grape juice or eat fresh grapes or raisins. 4 He is not to eat anything produced by the grapevine, from seeds to skin, during his vow.
Judges 14: 1 Samson went down to Timnath,(why we ask is he in the camp of the enemy) then he saw a Philistine woman.   Lust of the eyes
 V2.  get her for me to wife.  Selfish motive-lust of the flesh
V3  his father and his mother wisely try to dissuade Samson from choosing a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines. (Unclean)
Samson said, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
 Judges 17:6  but every man did that which was right in his own eyes
 His parents I am sure were disappointed at the wife their only son had chosen. But God is working even in this.
Samson again is strolling through the vineyards of Timnath   Judges 14:8 …he turned aside to see the honey in the carcass of the lion.  9And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother
Numbers 6:6 Nazirites must not go near a dead body.
The problem began when Samson turned aside. How often have we be tempted by turning aside from what is right and pure and godly! Ladies we must keep our eyes on the LORD.
Samson must think himself quite clever creating a riddle of his little moment of turning aside in the vineyard. It was not very respectful to make light of his sin. Samson compounded his sin by deceiving his parents.
Numbers 6: 5 no razor may be used on his head..
Samson still had his long hair, an outward symbol of a Nazirite; but his heart was not totally focused on God’s purpose for his life. Samson certainly was not bringing glory to God.
Bible stories for Children mention Samson and Delilah, but this week we learned Samson had several ungodly alliances. He had a recurrent weakness.
 Superman’s weakness was kryptonite.  Samson’s weakness was Philistine women.
Proverbs 6:27-28Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned?
                            Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched?

Judges 16:19 Delilah Having put him to sleep on her lap, called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. 20 But he did not know that the LORD had left him

Ladies this is the saddest thing of the entire story. Samson did not know that the LORD had left him.
How often do we try to do things in our own strength without God’s guidance or blessing. This is surely a lesson for Christian Living.
Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:14-15).
 Judges 14:4  says The LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; “ Samson’s last day turned out to be his BEST
There are some SIMILARITIES in lives of Samson and of Jesus Christ - births were foretold about an angel and were dedicated to God from the womb. Both men moved in the power of the Holy Spirit. They were rejected by their people and bound and tortured at the hands of their enemies.
  Many CONTRASTS between Samson’s life and  Jesus
·        Samson live  a life of sin;
·        Jesus life was sinless
·        Sampson at the time at his death prayed, Judges 16:28
I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes
·        Jesus prayed, “ Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”
·         In death Samson's arms were outstretched in wrath.
·        In death Jesus arms were outstretched in love
·         Sampson died.
·        Jesus Christ lives

Friends, many times as Christian we can be distracted by the bus-i-ness of the world and make bad choices in emotional circumstances. The secular world tries to convince us that what the Bible says is outdated or untrue.  A popular phrase in the 60’s  “If it feels good, do it” is still dictating the lives of people today. Sometimes we can’t do what we feel-because it contradicts God WORD and His will for our lives.

Isaiah 55:9 (KJV) 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

It’s not how you begin, but how you finish that makes the difference.
May we be able to say as Paul:  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim. 4:7)
God is still looking for people He can use for His glory.  Will you choose to be available for his call?
If you have problems in your walk with the Lord, I invite you right now to confess to Him, receive His forgiveness and be made ready to be used by Him in His time. 
Any member of the Servants Team or your Core Leader would be happy to talk to you after the lecture.
Let us Pray