- An Abel Offering
- Gideon: From the Winepress to the Warzone
- Barak: Relying on God
- Jephthah: Living by Choosing
- Samson: The Bible’s “Incredible Hulk”
- Samuel: Revival Man
- David: The Shepherd King
- Enoch: Walking with God
- Noah: The First Great Ship Builder
- Abraham: Receiving God’s Promise
- Isaac: A Life of Hard Knocks
- Jacob: When God Prevails
- Joseph: The Dreamer
- Moses: From Prince to Pauper and Back Again!
- Rahab: The Prostitute with Faith
Read at beginning of service:
Psalm 34 (whole chapter)
Recap series, “When the Heroes of Faith Speak”
Today we?re going to look at the Incredible Hulk of the Bible?.(explain who the Hulk is)
Today we?re going to look at Samson ? who I consider to be the incredible Hulk of the Bible! If Samson were here this morning, I believe that he?d spend hours telling you how God worked in his life. He?d admit his lusts, bad choices and consequences, and he?d be honest with you about his journey of life.
Samson?s story is found in Judges 13-16 and I don?t have time to read all of his story too you but I am going to be highlighting a few incidences in the course of this message.
Before we look at what Samson might say, let?s look at the context and background of his life. We?re going to be looking at Judges 13 so I invite you to turn in your Bibles to that passage if you have it.
The book of Judges tells us that for 400 years, Israel was locked in a vicious cycle of sin and repentance.
Every new generation would fall away from the lord.
They would become rebellious toward God.
They would become disobedient.
They would fall into idolatry.
And they would abandon God.
Again, the people had fallen away from God.
Again, God had allowed them to be oppressed/conquered by their enemies.
The Philistines were the latest enemy.
And into this world was born a little baby named Samson.
Judges 13 tells us that Samson was a specific answer to prayer.
His parents were childless.
An angel appeared to them, and promised them a son, if they would take a Nazirite Vow on his behalf.
Judges 13:3-5 (NIV)
3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, 5 because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
NAZiRITE = Devoted or separated one
Nazirites took an oath to ABSTAIN from worldly Influences & CONSECRATE their lives to God…
There were 4 Commitments that were Common to the Nazirite
1 ? To Abstain for All Intoxicating Drink & Grape Products
2 ? To Not Cut the Hair
3 ? To Avoid Contact with the dead
4 ? To Refuse to eat Food Regarded as Unclean
The vow could be taken by any Israelite for a period of time to commit themselves to God.
Typically it lasted 30 to 100 days.
Only 3 men in the Bible were thought to have taken the Nazirite vow for life ?
Samuel…John Baptist…and Samson.
Samson was one of those men whose intent was to serve God his entire life.
God had chosen him to free His people from the Philistines.
Samson had it made in many ways?
His parents were Godly…
His purpose was revealed clearly to him…
His Spiritual heritage was assured…
His path was carved out…
All he had to do was stay faithful and walk in it!
And yet, he lost his way, and failed to accomplish his God ordained, life?s purpose.
He never freed the Israelites from the Philistines.
There is much that we can learn from Samson?s life this morning.
I believe that Samson would warn you to be careful.
He?d say that?
Your Greatest Strengths can be destroyed by your Smallest Weakness
Samson was the strongest man who ever lived.
But all of Samson?s strength was overcome one slight weakness?.
Samson?s greatest problem was impulsive behavior.
Samson had a problem with wandering eyes
He just couldn?t be satisfied with what God had made available to him.
There were plenty of Israelite women, and I?m sure many of them were beautiful.
And I?m sure many of them would have been thrilled to have Samson come courting.
But Samson couldn?t be content with the beautiful Israelite women all around him.
He wanted to cross the line.
He wanted to taste forbidden fruit.
He wanted to see how long he could dance with the devil without getting burned.
Friends, here?s truth you can take to the bank!
If you let your eyes wander long enough your feet will surely follow.
You can?t play with fire without getting burned!
Job 31:1 (NIV)
1 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.
David evidently learned his lesson with Bathsheba because in Psalms 101:3, he said
3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing?
In Colossians 3:2, Paul says,
Colossians 3:2 (NIV)
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
These men knew what would happen if they let their weaknesses loose.
These men know what would happen if they let their sinful thoughts to percolate.
These men knew what happened once our focus on sin change from a glance to a gaze. (EXPOUND)
But, for all his strength, Samson didn?t (Not couldn?t) control his weakness.
Scripture says that Samson went down to Timnah.
Timnah was a border city in the no man?s land between the Philistines and the Israelites.
It was populated by both Israelites and Philistines.
It was kind of like the red light district of a large town.
Judges 14:1-3 (NIV)
1 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. 2 When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” 3 His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.”
Timnah wasn?t the only where he let his eyes wander?.eventually married the woman from Timnah ? riddle ? ended up woman and her family were killed?Samson visited a prostitute in Gaza?Eventually fell in love with a woman named Delilah in the Valley of Sorek. I want to tell you something folks?Samson wasn?t seduced by temptation – he willingly took steps that led him in the wrong direction.
Eventually Samson reached a place where he was no longer in control of his life. (Briefly tell the story of Delilah as told in Judges 16)
His hair was the secret to his strength.
When he allowed Delilah to cut his hair, he lost his strength.
Judges 16:21 (NIV)
21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison.
Here?s the Irony..Samson was a strong man, but he was also a weak man.
He was strong in public, but he was weak in private
His public life was good enough to fool a lot of people, but his private life was in shambles
Someone famous said, “Character is who you are when no one is looking.”
In spite of his physical strength, he ended up being defeated by his enemy, without his enemy even striking one blow,
He just laid his head in Delilah?s lap and went to sleep. Yes, it was the Philistines that bound him and put out his eyes, but not until Samson of his own free will revealed the secret power of his covenant with God.
It was his covenant with God that gave him his power
When his covenant was gone so was his power
It didn?t happen all at once, it was a gradual thing
The enemy will never tell you that you have to choose between him or God.
He?ll tell you that God trying to keep you from having any fun.
He?ll tell you that God is trying to run your life.
He?ll tell you that God is holding you back.
He?ll tell you that those “so-called” sins will make you happy. That there is nothing really wrong with them.
Listen friends, Samson?s mess was of his own making,
It was a series of wrong choices that brought him down.
This is where a lot of people are today
They have made wrong choices so long, that in their minds, what used to be wrong is now right.
If you justify wrong attitudes/actions long enough, you will sear your conscious to the point that you no longer feel any conviction over wrong thoughts, or actions.
If you allow your flesh to rule in your life, you will reach the point where you may be on the top, doing everything you want to do, enjoying the grass on the other side of the fence?.
But Spiritually you will be on the bottom?
No joy. No peace.
No song in your heart.
Samson ended up a slave, eyes poked out, bound by the Philistines, grinding mill like a mule in the Philistine?s camp.
He didn?t get there because his enemy was so powerful
He got there because he was so weak.
He let his flesh/impulses/lusts/desires rule him.
Let me ask you a very pointed question this morning.
What?s your lust?
What?s your impulse?
What sin is ruling your life?
? Are you a blind slave to alcohol/drugs?
? Are you a blind slave to pornography?
? Are you a blind slave to illicit sex?
? Are you a blind slave to greed/money/power?
? Are you a blind slave to gossip/backbiting?
? Are you a blind slave to destructive relationships?
how about pride? Unforgiveness? Lying? Envy?
I want to tell you something – you didn?t get there in a day.
You?re blind, bound and broken because of a series of choices that you?ve made.
They probably started long ago, maybe even innocently.
Nobody gets up one morning and says, “I think I?ll begin serving Satan today”.
We all need to realize that, no matter how strong we all are, just one weakness can destroy us!
Don?t ever think that you?re too strong to be broken by sin! That in itself is a sin ? the sin of pride!
Don?t ever think that bad choices really don?t matter.
Don?t ever think that your reputation doesn?t matter.
Do you remember that tacky Fox network show “Who Wants to marry a Millionaire”?
That program caused quite a scandal?
After a prime time, beauty pageant romance Darva Conger married millionaire Rick Rockwell in front of millions of viewers.
Allegations that Rockwell was abusive emerged immediately.
Darva Conger sued for an annulment to the marriage because she said she, “Wanted her privacy”.
Then, she promptly posed as a centerfold for Playboy magazine.
Her life is an example of bad choices.
In an ABC TV interview, she told ABC?s Diane Sawyer, “I have worked my whole life to be a credible person, a person of integrity. Unfortunately, in two hours I destroyed much of that credibility. And … I?d like it back.”
I believe that Samson would warn us that your greatest strength can be destroyed by your smallest weakness.
But here?s the good part.
I think that Samson would also remind us that:
God is willing to give you another chance?
Thankfully this story doesn?t end with Samson in a slave?s pit.
Samsons life did end on a positive note.
Judges 16:22 (NIV)
22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
When the hair returned, so did the strength.
I don?t want you to make a mistake, though, in thinking that it was his magical hair that gave him his strength.
He had the long hair because he had taken a lifelong vow of faithfulness to God.
It wasn?t the hair that made him strong, it was the renewal of his commitment to God.
You see, somewhere Between Barber Shop & the Coliseum?Samson got something he hadn?t had in a long time ? He got real with God!
His broken heart cried out to God.
As he turned to mill wheel, his mind dwelled on:
? All the missed opportunities.
? All the impulsive emotions.
? All the times he flirted with sin.
? All the disobedience to his Parents
? All the disobedience to his calling.
? All the disobedience to his God.
I believe that while his hair was growing, his faith was also growing.
I believe that Samson got real with God, and became broken before God.
Psalms 34:18 (NIV)
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalms 147:3 (NIV)
3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalms 51:17 (NIV)
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
And I believe that God heard the cry of a man who had wandered far away from God.
Scripture doesn?t spell it out, but can?t you feel Samson?s repentant heart as he worked in the grinding mill?
Numbers 6:12 tells us about what a Nazirite is supposed to do when he sins.
Number 6:12 (NIV)
12 He must dedicate himself to the LORD for the period of his separation and must bring a year-old male lamb as a guilt offering. The previous days do not count, because he became defiled during his separation.
Friends, that?s called repentance!
This verse means that after repentance ? Nazarites start all over and the old sins are gone…
That?s exactly what happened with Samson.
He found himself standing between the pillars that held up the Temple of Dagon.
Dagon was the god of the Philistines.
In Judges 16:28, Samson does something that Scripture hasn?t shown him do for a long time.
He begins to pray?
Judges 16:28 (NIV)
28 Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
Judges 16:30 (NIV)
30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
I believe that Samson?s final choice to come back to God was what qualified him as a hero of the faith.
It doesn?t matter how far you?ve run away, it only matters that you?re willing to come back.