Friday, February 01, 2013
SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 2/1/2013
THE STORIES OF SAMSON AND DELILAH, Lesson 23c
v. 15-21 THEIRS IS A STORY OF LOSS
Verse 17-20a – Delilah wore Samson down and he told her the truth. He told her about his hair being a symbol of his Nazarite vow before God. Apparently, Samson trusted Delilah and believed that his secret was safe with her. How foolish! No sooner is he asleep that she has a man cut off his hair. She began to “afflict him”. This phrase means that she “humiliated him, or she began to mistreat him.” The former strong man has become weak in the hands of this woman. He cannot even defend himself against her because “his strength went from him.” Let’s examine the losses incurred on both sides of this relationship.
Delilah’s Losses Were Considerable – In the end, Delilah really lost everything. She was a sinner before this event and she remained one after this event. The real tragedy is that Samson was supposed to be a man of God. As a Jew he was supposed to take the light of God’s law and the grace of God’s love and share it with the lost Gentiles so that they might come to know the God he was supposed to have been serving. Because he allowed his passions to govern his life, he destroyed his testimony in front of Delilah.
The aftermath of this story is easy to reconstruct. Delilah enjoyed the fruits of her deception. She instantly became a very wealthy woman. Financially, she was set for life. However, in the end, she lost everything. Eventually she dies, and when she did, she died in her sins and went to Hell. She gained nothing of lasting value while losing the things that’s valued the most, her own soul. In the end, she lost everything!
Mark 8:36-37, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Delilah stands as an example for all those who would put sin ahead of a relationship with God. You might enjoy the pleasures of this world for a while, but in the end, there is nothing in front of you but the judgment of God and an eternity in Hell. If you are not saved, I challenge you to come to Jesus Christ today for the only hope of salvation that can deliver you from the wrath of God!
Samson’s Losses Were Complete – While Delilah lost little in her day-to-day life because of their encounter, Samson lost everything of value, and he lost it immediately. Consider the high price Samson paid for indulging his sin.
He Lost Much Physically – Samson paid a high physical price for his sin with Delilah.
v. 21 He Lost His Freedom – The Bible says that the Philistines “took him” and “bound him”. No more could Samson go out and do as he pleased. His sin had robbed him of his freedom and he was the prisoner of his enemies!
v. 21 He Lost His Vision – The Philistines “put out his eyes”. They took away from him the faculty of sight. They blinded him to make him easier to control.
v. 21 He Lost His Dignity – The first time Samson came to Gaza it was for the purpose of finding pleasure, (v. 1). This time he returns as the prisoner of the Philistines.
They take him to their prison and they force him to “grind”. Grinding was the work of women or of the lowest slaves. This shows the disdain the Philistines had for Samson. They humiliated the mighty Judge of Israel by forcing him to labor as a slave.
All these things are pictures of sin’s power in our lives. Those who allow themselves to be taken in the trap of sin will find that sin has the power to bind, blind and grind. Sin binds men by enslaving them in habits that are hard to break. Sin blinds them into believing that there is nothing wrong with their lives or with the sins they are committing. Sin grinds them into powder and uses up their lives until they are just a shell of what they used to be. The truth is, sin will bind you, blind you and grind you. It will wear you out and waste your life. A life that could have been productive and useful to the Lord will become a proverb on the dangers of sin. You may not believe a word I am saying to you today, but sin will ruin your life.
He Lost More Spiritually –
This is the most expensive haircut in history! Did you know that the average woman spends over $50,000.00 on her hair in her lifetime? Did you know that the average woman spends two years of her life washing, styling and setting her hair? Did you know that the average woman spends 41 minutes per day working on her hair? Did you know that a recent survey found that during the last month, 54% of the women surveyed, got madder at their hair than they did at their husbands? Did you know that Americans spend over 7 billion dollars per year on hair care products? That figure does not include the billions spent by Americans every year having their hair cut, colored, permed, set, and styled. It seems to me that our hair is important to us.
If our hair is that important to us, think of how important it should have been to Samson. His hair had never been cut. He was a Nazarite, and part of the vow he was required to take stipulated that Samson could not cut his hair, (Num. 6:5). Samson’s hair was the external symbol of his commitment to God. It identified him as a man set apart for God’s glory and God’s use. As long as Samson’s hair was left to grow, it set him apart as a man of God. When his hair was cut, he lost God’s power in his life.
As long as Samson allowed the Lord to control his hair he was fine, but when he allowed Delilah to take control of his hair, he lost his power with God. This passage describes what is easily the most expensive haircut in the history of the world. When Samson demoted God in his heart, he lost the only thing that set him apart: He lost the power of God! Notice what this haircut cost Samson.
He Lost His Fellowship With God – “the Lord was departed from him” – When Samson allowed his hair to be cut, he lost his strength. Now, there was no power in Samson’s hair. His hair was the visible symbol of his commitment to God. Samson was a Nazarite, and one part of the Nazarite Vow was that the Nazarite was never to cut his hair, (Num. 6:1-4).
All through his life, Samson had treated his vows as a Nazarite with disregard. He had played fast and loose with his vows. He had touched a dead body, (Jud. 14:9), which was forbidden. He attended “wine feasts”,( Jud. 14:10), and he spent time in vineyards, (Jud. 14:5); all of these put him in danger of breaking his vows to God.
When Samson allowed his hair to be cut, he crossed the final line with God. In that moment, Samson was declaring that he loved Delilah more than he loved God. He was saying that he loved his life of sin more than he loved his life as a servant of God.
Samson’s power did not derive from his hair. It derived from his relationship with God. His hair was symbolic of that relationship. When his hair was cut, his fellowship with God was broken and he paid a terrible price.
God left him, and when He did, God took Samson’s power away as well. He paid a high price for his sin!
So will we! If we want power with God in prayer and in our daily lives, we must live clean and close. We must address our sins and put God first in our lives. There can be no room for sin in the lives of those who want power with God. In Jesus Christ, our relationship is secure, (John 10:28), but our fellowship is fragile. When we want our sins more than we want Him, it will cause Him to withdraw His power from our lives. As a result, our prayer lives will be hindered. Our worship will be hindered. Our walk with God will be hindered. Sin drives a wedge between the saint of God and God. We cannot have both! (Eph. 4:21-32).
He Lost His Spiritual Discernment – The saddest statement in these verses might be the words “wist not” in verse 20. When Samson awake from sleep, he did not even know that God had left him. Sin’s grip on his life was so great that he did not know the power of God had been removed from his life. He assumed that God would be on him like He always had been. This time he was wrong. Sin had robbed Samson of all his spiritual discernment. Samson had gotten so used to living life under his own strength that he did not realize that God had removed His strength from him. He had taken God for granted for so long that he wasn’t even aware when God left him. That was an expensive haircut!
There is nothing sadder than someone who claims to know the Lord, thinking they are living in the will God, when God is nowhere around them. That is a tragedy, but such is the result of sin. There is nothing sadder than the husk of a Christian! How tragic it is when people allow sin to strip of them of all the things that matter. When they do, they are merely going through the motions of serving God. Without His presence and His power, anything we do is in vain!
My question is, how could Samson not know? Sin has a way of blinding us to the truth of our condition. Sin will make you think you are right and that everyone else, including God is wrong. Sin will cause you to believe that you are always right, regardless of what you do, or whom you hurt. Sin is a deceiver!
Sin will rob you of spiritual discernment. Because of sin, most church members have little or no discernment. They cannot recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in a service. Thus, they do not know how to respond appropriately when He does show up. Because of sin, most people don’t know if a sermon is good or bad, sound or unsound, true or false, filled with biblical truth or hot air. Sin is killing us in these days because it destroys our ability to recognize God, His presence and His power.
Even Isaac, as he traveled with his father to Mt. Moriah, had enough wisdom and discernment to know that something was missing, (Gen. 22:7). We need to repent of our sins, ask the Lord to forgive us and cleanse us, so that we might have His power and be wise enough to know when He is on us or when He isn’t.
He Lost His Ministry – Because of his sin, the Lord put Samson on the shelf. He was removed as the Judge over Israel. He was no longer a vessel fit for God’s use. His ministry was over.
That same can happen to us. It was Paul’s fear, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway,” (1 Cor. 9:27). The word “castaway” refers to that which is “unfit, reprobate, not standing the test”. It was used of coins that were tested and not found to be struck from real gold. In other words, they were worthless. Paul’s fear was that he would become worthless to the Lord. So, Paul took the necessary steps to overcome his flesh. The phrase “keep under” means to “beat black and blue”. The word “subjection” means, “to enslave.” Paul took the initiative. He mastered his flesh instead of allowing the flesh to master him.
Paul’s fear should be our fear as well. I don’t want to lose my usefulness to the Lord! But, it could happen in any of our lives, if we do not take the necessary steps to defeat our sin and control our passions. Samson lost his ministry, and we could lose ours, if we are not careful.
He Lost His Testimony – Samson, the strong man, the mighty Judge, was taken to a Philistine prison and made to do the work of a woman. He was made to do the work of the lowest kind of slave. In other words, he was humiliated in the eyes of the enemy. Did you ever stop to consider that God was humiliated right along with Samson? When they laughed at Samson, (v. 23-24), they were mocking his God as well. A victory over Samson was considered to be a victory over God.
My friends, when we fail in the flesh; when the traps of the devil ensnare us; when we fall into sin, we bring reproach on the name of the Lord. When a child of God sins it always harms the cause of Christ. God is so closely identified with His people that our shame in the eyes of the world and the devil translates into His shame as well.
2 Sam. 12:14, “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”
1 Pet. 4:14-15, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.”
Titus 2:5, “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
1Tim. 6:1, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.”
1Tim. 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
The lesson from this ought to be crystal clear. What we do matters. What we do reflects back on God. Let us resolve that we will do nothing that will be an evil reflection against the glory of God. He deserves our best; let’s give it to Him! There is nothing more shameful and harmful to the cause of Christ than a damaged testimony. When we allow sin to rule in these bodies, it will always tarnish our testimonies and bring dishonor to the name of our God. May it never be!
Conc: What are we to do with this sad, tragic story? We are to take it to heart! We must come before the Lord and deal with our sins and our temptations. We must get honest about weaknesses and realize that God alone is our strength.
If we are to stand against sin in this world, we must have His help. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing,” (John 15:5).
If we have already committed sin, He will forgive us and restore us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).
If we are struggling against sin, He will help us achieve the victory. (1 Cor. 10:13), “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
How will your story be written? The time to change the ending is now. The time to deal with sin is now. The time to come to Jesus is now. The time to make a break with your Delilah is now.
TODAY’S VERSE! (New King James Version (NKJV)
14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
“Throw Out The Life-Line” By: Edward S. Ufford (1886)
1. Throw out the lifeline across the dark wave;
There is a brother whom someone should save;
Somebody’s brother! Oh, who then will dare
To throw out the lifeline, his peril to share?
Throw out the lifeline! Throw out the lifeline!
Someone is drifting away;
Throw out the lifeline! Throw out the lifeline!
Someone is sinking today.
2. Throw out the lifeline with hand quick and strong:
Why do you tarry, why linger so long?
See! he is sinking; oh, hasten today
And out with the life boat! Away, then, away!
3. Throw out the lifeline to danger-fraught men,
Sinking in anguish where you’ve never been;
Winds of temptation and billows of woe
Will soon hurl them out where the dark waters flow.
4. Soon will the season of rescue be o’er,
Soon will they drift to eternity’s shore;
Haste, then, my brother, no time for delay,
But throw out the lifeline and save them today.
5. This is the lifeline, oh, tempest-tossed men,
Baffled by waves of temptation and sin;
Wild winds of passion, your strength cannot brave,
But Jesus is mighty, and Jesus can save.
6. Jesus is able! To you who are driv’n
Farther and farther from God and from Heav’n,
Helpless and hopeless, o’erwhelmed by the wave,
We throw out the lifeline—’tis, “Jesus can save.”
7. This is the lifeline, oh, grasp it today!
See, you are recklessly drifting away;
Voices in warning, shout over the wave,
Oh, grasp the strong lifeline, for Jesus can save.
Divine Father, Needful and Noble God of Newness of Life! We worship You, praise You, adore You and thank You for giving the Holy Spirit to us. We thank You, Jesus, for sending the Comforter and Helper to teach and guide us every day. We praise You Spirit, for the wisdom, revelation, and knowledge You impart to us daily. We love You and appreciate the joy You bring into our lives. Thank You for being the seal to the promise of our inheritance. We cannot understand the things of God in our flesh, but we can discern them in our spirit because of You dwelling in us. Enable us to turn all control of our lives over into Your capable hands that we may be the light we ought to be to those in darkness. These things we ask and pray in the name of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!
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Thursday, January 31, 2013
SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Thu, 1/31/2013
THE STORIES OF SAMSON AND DELILAH, Lesson 23b
v. 6-14 THEIRS IS A STORY OF LIES
Neither Samson nor Delilah was honest in their relationship with the other. The only way any relationship can survive and thrive is for it to be built upon truth and honesty. Let’s notice their lies.
Samson’s Lies Were Senseless – When Delilah begins to ask Samson about the source of his strength, he plays with her thinking that he is far smarter than she will ever be. After all, he is the strong Judge of Israel, and she is just a weak woman. By the way, the name “Delilah” means, “feeble, or the pining one.” He thinks it will be fun to toy with her, to have her try and trap him. He is confident in the notion that he is stronger than anything and anyone. He believes there is no way that she can harm him. Notice how he tries to deceive her.
v. 7-10 – “Bind me with seven green withs” – This refers to animal intestines that have not been dried. These strips of animal intestines, when dried, were used to make bowstrings. When they were dried, they were incredibly strong. When they were green, they were very weak, and easily broken. This lie shows the contempt Samson had for the Philistines. So, Delilah binds him and tells him the Philistines are there. He breaks the “withs” as if they were a thread touched to fire. In verse 10, Delilah confronts Samson with his lies and begs him to tell her the truth.
v. 11-13a – “Bind me fast with new ropes” – Green ropes are very strong. An ordinary man could not break them. But, again, Samson shows his disregard for his enemies. They had already seen what he could do with ropes. In Jud. 15:12-15, his own people had bound him with ropes and delivered him to the Philistines. Samson had broken the ropes then as if they were nothing and using the jawbone of a donkey, he had killed 1,000 men. He is toying with Delilah and with the Philistines. Delilah binds him with the ropes, and he breaks them as a man would break a piece of thread. Again, Delilah confronts Samson and demands that he tell her the truth.
v. 13b-14 – “Weavest the seven locks of my head with the web” – Samson tells Delilah to take a loom and to weave his hair into it. If she does, he will lose his strength. Notice that he is getting closer to revealing the real secret of his power. Samson is playing a dangerous game and he is about to get burned! Delilah does as he says and Samson simply gets up and walks away as if he was carrying nothing at all.
What we should note from this passage is the fact that Samson was guilty of playing with sin. He knew the source of his strength, and he entered into a deadly game with Delilah. By the time he gets to the third deception, he is getting dangerously close to the truth. This is the problem with sin. People play with it. They go as far as they can without actually crossing the line into the forbidden. At least, that is what they think they are doing. Jesus made is very clear that sin in the heart is sin already, even it is never carried out in the flesh, (Matt. 12:34-35; Matt. 5:28).
Most people think they can control their sin. In truth, but for the grace of God, sin controls us, and it will be our master if we allow it a foothold in our lives. Rom. 6:11-14 says, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Notice what the Bible says about this matter.
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death,”( James 1:14-15).
The words “drawn away” mean, “to lure like game is lured from its hiding place.” The word “enticed” means, “to lure by bait.” Each of us has natural lusts and cravings for sin. There is a fleshly appetite within each of us that will control us if we allow it to. Satan focuses on these sinful desires. He will entice us to sin by dangling his bait in front of us. When we bite, he springs the trap and we find ourselves ensnared in his web.
The Bible teaches us that within our hearts dwells the root of all our sinfulness, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man,”( Mark 7:21-23).
Radio personality Paul Harvey tells the story of how an Eskimo kills a wolf. The account is grisly, yet it offers fresh insight into the consuming, self-destructive nature of sin. “First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder the wolf licks the blade in the arctic night.
So great becomes his craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue, nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his OWN warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more--until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!”
It is a fearful thing that people can be “consumed by their own lusts.” Only God's grace keeps us from the wolf's fate.
Instead of playing with sin, we should be like Joseph and put as much distance as we can between our temptation and ourselves, (Gen. 39:7-12). Too often we play around with sin, thinking we can control it, the reality is, it will control us if we give in to its deception.
Consider Eve in the Garden of Eden, (Gen. 3:1-6). She listened to the serpent and fell into his trap. Adam followed Eve and the world fell into sin. When we play with sin, we are always headed to a fall.
Delilah’s Lies Were Sinister – While Samson was toying with Delilah, she was playing him like a cheap fiddle. She was setting him up for a fall. Samson lied to her because he thought he was smarter than she was. She lied to him because she was far smarter than he was. Delilah played her part well and she lured Samson unto her trap just as surely as a spider lures a fly into its web.
Delilah uses the same tactic used by the woman in Timnath, (Jud. 4:16-17). She played the “if you loved me you would” card. The Bible implies that she begged, pleaded, whined and cried day after day, all day long. After a short while, her persistence wore Samson down.
Again, this is a picture of how sin works in us. If we allow ourselves to be placed under the constant pressure of temptation, we too will be worn down. Like Delilah, sin is relentless, aggressive and persistent. It will hammer away at our resistance until we give in to its advances. When we do, like Samson, we always lose. The best advice is to put as much distance as you can between yourself and the sources of sin and temptation in your life. Ask the girl who lost her purity to the boy who said, “If you love me you will.” Ask the man who traded his family for a woman who said, “If you love me you will.”
Playing with sin is like playing with fire; you will eventually be burned! “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?”( Pro. 6:27-28). The answer is no! You play with sin and you will always pay a price! You might not face the same thing Samson did, but you will pay a price for indulging sin in your life, (Gal. 6:7). You will sacrifice your intimacy with God. You will sacrifice His power. You will endanger the relationships that matter most in your life. Sin always costs, and that cost is never cheap!
Friends, Satan will not stop until he has ruined your life. He will not back down until sin has taken everything of value from you. He will not stop until you are broken, your life wasted and you are of no use to God! Like Delilah, the lies of Satan and sin are sinister and destructive.
Not long after a wealthy contractor had finished building the Tombs prison in New York, he was found guilty of forgery and sentenced to several years in the prison he had built! As he was escorted into a cell of his own making, the contractor said, “I never dreamed when I built this prison that I would be an inmate one day.” That’s the trouble with sin; we never stop to think about the consequences of our actions. One day, we will have to answer for the things we do, (Num. 32:23).
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (New King James Version (NKJV)
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
“Beneath The Cross of Jesus” By: Elizabeth Clephane (1872)
1.Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.
2.Upon that cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.
3.I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.
Most Loving Father, Most High God! Lead us away from anything that presents even the most removed possibility of getting us off the path You have for us and for which our Savior Jesus Christ died. Help us to have the mind of Christ so we may be protected from the things we see, watch, read, spend time with and find ourselves preoccupied by that are not holy and righteous. If these are not Your best for us; these we do not want them in our lives. Keep us from trusting in our own hearts for that is foolishness, but teach us to walk wisely so we may be delivered from all evil and danger. We choose this day to trust in You from now on and not ourselves. Enable us to stay separated from all things that tempts us away from the high mark and calling of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Lead us far from all temptations, O Lord. These things we pray and ask in Jesus’ Gracious name. Amen!
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 1/30/2013
Gooooooooooooood Morning Everyone!
THE STORIES OF SAMSON AND DELILAH, Lesson 23a
This passage presents us with a whole host of characters. Of course, there is Samson and Delilah; they are the stars of the show. The supporting characters include the “lords of the Philistines,” (v. 5), of which there were five, (Judges 3:3), and the men who hid in Delilah’s home waiting to capture Samson, (vv. 9, 12, 19-20). So, quite a few people figure into this sordid little tale.
The stars of this story, as I said, are Samson and Delilah. Their story is one of love, lies and loss. It is a tale for the ages. It is a story that should be read, studied and taken to heart. I want to spend some time here today because their story has much to teach us. Their story does not teach us lessons about genuine love and romance, but about the dangers of getting too close to the enemy. Their story is a story of deception, greed, lust and destruction.
Their story stands as a constant warning to those who would trifle with sin. Their story is a reminder to us all that sin is deceptive and that it is deadly. There may be “pleasure in sin for a season,” but the end of sin is never worth the pleasure it provides. Let’s take another dip in the cesspool of Samson’s life and consider “The Stories Of Samson And Delilah”.
v. 4-5 THEIRS IS A STORY OF LOVE
Samson Loved a Woman – We are told that Samson “loved a woman.” Over the course of his life, this is the third woman we have a record of Samson being with. First, there was the “woman of Timnath,” (Judges 14:1-2); then there was the “harlot” in Gaza, (Judges 16:1); now there is “Delilah”. There may have been others, but these are the ones the Bible mentions.
From the texts that mention these women, it seems that all three of them were Philistines. It appears that Samson has an attraction to women who should have been off limits to him as a man of God. It also appears that he had a problem with lust, which as a man of God, he should have fought against. It seems that Samson’s life was characterized by a series of illicit sexual relationships. There can be no doubt that this was a sin and a snare in his life, and that it hindered his ministry as a judge in Israel.
By the way, the same is true for people in our day. The Lord gave us our sexual desires, and they are good when they are exercised in the proper context. That is, within the framework of marriage. However, when we step outside the boundary of marriage and engage in any sexual expression, it crosses the line into sin. God wants His people to be sexually pure.
1 Cor. 6:18 – “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
Matt. 5:27-28 – “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Heb. 13:4, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
1 Thes. 4:3-8, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”
In this text, we are told that Samson “loved” Delilah. This was not said about the woman he took as his wife, nor was it said about the harlot from Gaza. In this case Delilah seems to have touched the heart of Samson and it appears that he truly loved her, and as the text suggests in verse 17, he trusted her with his most valuable secrets.
The fact that Samson loved Delilah does not excuse him in his sin. Samson sinned because he was guilty of fornication. Sadly, there is a lack of morality in our world, even among those who call themselves Christians. The rate of fornication and adultery in the church is at about the same level as it is in the world. That should not be! Those who know the Lord should be careful to keep themselves clean and unpolluted by this immoral, godless world. Young people, you can wait until you are married to become sexually active. Single adults, you can keep your bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Married couples, you can be faithful to your spouse both mentally and physically. May God help us to strive for that goal. If you have failed in this area, there is forgiveness and restoration. If you haven’t failed in this area, there is strength in the Lord to help you stay pure for the glory of God.
Delilah Loved Wealth – While Samson loved Delilah, she apparently did not love him. The “lords of the Philistines” come to Delilah and offer her 1,100 pieces of silver each to discover and tell them the secret to Samson’s power, (v. 5). They want her to “entice” him. The word “entice,” means “to be simple, or to be gullible.” It has the idea of “acting like an innocent person in order to deceive someone else.” These men want her to play dumb and do everything she can to extract from Samson the secret of his power.
The ancient Philistines were a very superstitious people. They probably assumed that Samson possessed some kind of amulet, or good luck charm, that gave him his power. They want to exploit his weakness for women to their advantage. They want to use her to find his secret.
Delilah is willing to go along with their plan because their offer of “1,100 pieces of silver each,” would make her a very wealthy woman. In today’s money it would be in the neighborhood of $750,000.00. She didn’t care about Samson; she only used him to get rich. He was her lottery ticket; her golden goose. All she had to do was play her part well and she would walk away with her reward.
What a picture of the ways of sin this woman turns out to be. She represents exactly how Satan works in our lives.
The Lord doesn’t want us falling into the traps laid by modern Delilah’s and by the devil. He will enable us to escape the devil’s traps, if we look to Him for deliverance. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry,” (1 Cor. 10:13-14).
Isaiah 54:14 (New King James Version (NKJV)
14 In righteousness you shall be established;
You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
“Gracious Spirit, Dwell With Me” By: Thomas T. Lynch (1855)
Gracious Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would gracious be;
And with words that help and heal
Would Thy life in mine reveal;
And with actions bold and meek
Would for Christ my Savior speak.
Truthful Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would truthful be;
And with wisdom kind and clear
Let Thy life in mine appear;
And with actions brotherly
Speak my Lord’s sincerity.
Tender Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would tender be;
Shut my heart up like a flower
In temptation’s darksome hour,
Open it when shines the sun,
And his love by fragrance own.
Mighty Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would mighty be;
Mighty so as to prevail,
Where unaided man must fail;
Ever, by a mighty hope,
Pressing on and bearing up.
Holy Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would holy be;
Separate from sin, I would
Choose and cherish all things good,
And whatever I can be
Give to Him Who gave me Thee!
Mighty Father, God of Majesty, Mercy and Meekness! Help us to always recognize the ploys and tactics of the enemies of our soul so that we will not aid and abet him in his ways. Thank You that You are well able to deliver us from every evil work and keep us safe. Because he is under Your feet, wherever he tries to erect any strong hold in our life, You can reveal that to us so that we may separate ourselves far from his plans. Enable us from believing any lies of his. Fill us with Thy truth so we may stand on the truth of Your Word and be wise to our enemy’s tactics. Merge us fully in Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord. These things we ask in His name. Amen!
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 1/29/2013
SAMSON AND THE SHADY LADY, Lesson 22c
v. 3 SAMSON AND HIS DELIVERANCE
The Philistines have laid their trap for Samson. They are determined to capture him and kill him. If it were not for the intervention of the Lord, he would have been killed that night. Notice how the Lord delivered him from his enemies.
The Power Of His Deliverance – When Samson awoke, he got up, went out and took the gates of the city and carried them away to “the top of the hill that is before Hebron.” That is an astounding feat of strength.
Other men have turned in some amazing feats of strength over the years.
In 1798 William Carr carried a 1,120 lb. anchor one half mile.
In 1895 Joseph Blatt lifted 3,564 lbs.
In 1900 William Pagel carried a 1,000 lb. horse up a set of 12’ ladders.
In 1902 Lionel Strongfort became a human bridge supporting a 3,200 lb. carload of people on a platform.
In 1920 Frank Richards had a 104 lb. cannon ball fired into his chest from a 12’ cannon at close range.
In 1957 Paul Anderson lifted a table of lead loaded with auto parts that weighed 6,270 lbs.
Those feats of strength pale in comparison to what Samson did here. Samson ripped up the gates, the posts and the whole gate assembly out of the ground and carried them 38 miles to Hebron, a journey that was mostly uphill! The weight of all this would have been in the thousands of pounds. Yet, Samson carried it away as if it weighed nothing at all! While his amazing display of strength is impressive, it does not make up for the weakness of his morals.
Regardless of how we appear on the outside, it is the content of our heart that matters. Samson did not sin because he was physically strong. He sinned because he was morally weak. He sinned because sin was in his heart. He cherished it and allowed it to dominate his life. The same thing can happen to us. Remember, even the best among us are still sinners. Remember that even the best among us are still capable of the vilest sins imaginable. Our hearts can become fountains of evil that will poison the whole of our lives, (Matt. 12:34-35; Matt. 15:17-20).
The Pardon Of His Deliverance – Samson’s deliverance was the grace of God in action in Samson’s life. Samson deserved to be caught by his enemies. He deserved the judgment and chastisement that was coming his way for his actions. It was the grace of God that allowed him to become aware of their plot, to escape before they could spring their trap and allowed him to carry off the gates of the city. It was the grace of God that allowed him to get away from that sinful situation alive and in one piece.
This wasn’t the first time God had spared the strong man in a time of wickedness. God is merciful and allows the opportunity us to repent and to turn from our sins.
Often, He will give us chance after chance to turn back to Him for forgiveness and restoration. Thank God for His enduring mercy, His patient grace and for the turning away of His wrath! However, with Samson, as is also often true of us, the grace of God was not seen as a warning to turn away from sin once for all, but the grace of God was seen as an encouragement for future sin. Having been spared so often in the past, Samson may have come to believe that he could live as he pleased, and that there would be no consequences for his actions. He was guilty of what Jude 4 calls “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness.”
God is merciful to us. He allows us to turn back to Him time and time again, but there will be a limit to His leniency with His children. Samson is about to find out that God will not always rescue him from the consequences of his sin. He is about to find out that chastisement will come and will bring with it cruel suffering and hardship.
When we treat God like a doormat; when we live like we please, thinking that He will never judge us, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. When we come to the place where we say, “Well, I’ve done it before and God let me repent and nothing happened. So, why can’t I do it again?” we are headed for trouble! When we start to think that we are getting away with sin with no consequences, we had better look out because chastisement is not far behind! We must not think that just because the hammer did not fall today, it will never fall. There will come a day when God’s patience will be exhausted and the full force of your choices will fall on your own head. There are always consequences attached sin, and do not for a minute think that God will not allow those consequences to be brought to pass in your life! (Heb. 12:6-11; Rev. 3:19).
Conc: If Samson teaches us anything, he teaches us the truth that we must guard our hearts. We must shield our lives from all the evil influences that would lead us away from God. Watch the places you go. Watch the things you give you attention to. Watch the people you associate with. If sin is allowed to sink its fangs in your life, it will coil itself around you until it has choked the life right out of you. It will not stop until it has destroyed you and everything you love. The time to kill the serpent of sin is right now. If the Lord has touched you about the way you have been living your life, or if you just need to come and pray for help and protection, the time to mind Him is now.
Romans 1:17 (New King James Version (NKJV)
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
“Living By Faith” By: James Wells (1918)
1. I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.
2. Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—
The Master looks on at the strife.
3. I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.
4. Our Lord will return for His loved ones some day,
Our troubles will then all be o’er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.
Abba Father, God and Creator of everything in this universe, both that which is visible and that which is not visible; that which has been revealed and that which is secret. We pray that we may not fall into sin but rather be strengthened to avoid it by the power of Your Word, our Savior and Your Spirit. Father we pray for lost souls, especially for those who are seeking You and calling on the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Save and bless them according to Your will and their need. Father, we pray for all the sick, whether it be, physical, mental, spiritual, social or financial. Heal and bless each one according to Your will and their need. Father, we pray for those who are bereaved. Comfort and bless them with Your peace according to Your will and their need. Father, we pray for those that are suffering with life’s issues and life’s storms. Deliver and bless them from their suffering according to Your will and their need. Father, since we all sin and fall short of the glory of our God, forgive us for those sins of commission and omission, and bless us also. Help us to walk the straight and narrow way by faith in our Lord. It is in His precious name that we pray. Amen!
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Monday, January 28, 2013
SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 1/28/2013
SAMSON AND THE SHADY LADY, Lesson 22b
v. 2 SAMSON AND HIS DISCOVERY
While Samson is in the company of the harlot, his enemies discover that he is in town. They set a trap to capture him. Samson thought he would turn aside for a few moments of pleasure in illicit sexual relationship. He thought he would have his fun and just leave town. He never thought he would get caught.
Then again, neither do we! The truth is, Satan uses our sins to set us up for a fall. This passage demonstrates the way sin works in our lives to attack us and bring us down.
Something About Sin’s Surrounding Work – The Philistines “compassed him in”. That means that his enemies surrounded him. They laid a trap for his capture.
That is the way sin works as well. Some people criticize Christianity and say that it is too restrictive. They complain that the way of God is no fun; that it leaves no freedom; that it allows no wiggle room. What the critics fail to see is that the way of God, that is, a life lived according to the Word, is a life of true freedom, while sin is a life of captivity.
Sin is like a boa constrictor. It encircles the lives of its victims and slowly squeezes the life right out of them. The freedom of the sinner is stolen away by the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual toll of sin. Diseases, addictions, trauma, financial losses, ruined relationships, destroyed families, shattered trust, depression, and for some, incarceration, limit the freedom of living and bring destruction and pain. The life of sin is not a life of freedom and reckless abandon; it is a life of profound bondage and dark slavery, (Eph. 2:2-3).
Something About Sin’s Steady Work – The Philistines also “laid wait for him all night”. They were patient as they waited for him to leave the harlot’s house. They were in no hurry because time was on their side.
Sin is also patient in the way it works. It will play its cards close to the vest until the sinner is hopelessly entangled in its web. The sinner doesn’t always feel the trap closing around them when they are living out their life of pleasure, but sin is patient, and when the time is right, it will spring the trap and destroy the life of its victim.
Most of the time, by the time the results of sin are known, it is too late to escape the trap. Ask the chronic alcoholic if there is a sting in the liquor bottle. Ask the AIDS victim if he feels the sting associated with his lifestyle. Ask the promiscuous girl who will never know the joy of motherhood if she feels pain of her sin because she has been rendered sterile by a venereal disease. Ask the criminal sitting behind bars if there is a price to pay for sin. All these people would have laughed in your face if you had tried to warn them on the dangers they faced when they were in the grip of their pleasure! Now, it may be too late, but they all know the truth!
It may take a while, but eventually, sin will play its hand, spring its trap and the sinner will pay terrible price for falling into sin’s trap, (Gal. 6:7). The time to repent is now. The time to escape sin’s bondage is now while there still may be time to escape the worst horrors of sin in your life. You will always bear some scars in your body, your mind or your spirit, but you might just escape with your life and your soul intact. Get out now while there is time!
Something About Sin’s Silent Work – The Bible says the Philistines “were quiet all the night”. They did not let Samson know they were there and lying in wait to capture him.
Such is the subtle nature of sin. It does not tell the truth. It leads the sinner to believe that there can be pleasure with no consequences. Advertisers tell us that alcohol use is tremendous fun. Birth control commercials tell us how to commit fornication without the nasty side effects of an unwanted pregnancy. The lottery, and other forms of gambling, is exalted as a way to get rich quick. The facts are somewhat different. Sin never tells the truth!
Sin never tells you about the ruined health, the empty wallet, the destroyed lives, the ruined marriages, the broken homes, the shattered dreams, and the wasted years it leaves in its wake. Sin is deceitful and we must take whatever steps are necessary to avoid it. If the sinner knew what was waiting on them at the end of a life of sin, they would never take the first step of that journey! ( Pro. 16:25; Matt. 7:13-14).
Something About Sin’s Slaying Work – The Philistines said “when it is day, we shall kill him”. Death was the plan for Samson. The Philistines laid their trap and they planned to capture and kill Samson.
Death is the end of sin, (Rom. 6:23; James 1:15). Sin is destructive! If the sinner does not escape, he will experience death in Hell, separated from God. Even if he does escape by the grace of God, he will discover that many things around him will have already died. Sin kills joy, peace, relationships, marriages, hope, churches, and even the human spirit. Sin is a killer! It kills everything it touches. No one escapes unscathed!
I praise God there is victory in Jesus, (1 Cor. 15:55-57). I am glad that He can deliver us from a life of sin and give a new life in Him. I am thankful that He will forgive all those who turn to Him, (1 John 1:9). Instead, of clinging to the hope that God will forgive, you should seek His power to avoid sin altogether. I will tell you again, if we would live out ( Rom. 6:11-14), we would not need (1 John 1:9) as much as we do.
Proverbs 8:33-35 (New King James Version (NKJV)
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
“At Calvary” By Wm. R. Newell (1895)
1.Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
2.By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
3.Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
4.Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
Loving Father, God of Love, Light and Life! Help us to be separated from the world and yet still be an effective way to do your will. Show us how to live in this world and be Your light extended without being drawn into or influenced by all the darkness and danger. Strengthen us to reject all peer pressure to be anything other than who You want us to be. Show us our weakness where we have given in to practices that are not pleasing to Thee. Enable us to shut off or shut down anything that will pollute our hearts and our minds. Open our eyes to Your Love and light so we can become accustomed to living life Your way. Receive us so we may glorify the Lord of Lords, and the King of kings. It is in His name that we pray. Amen!
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