FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 1/23/2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 1/23/2013
SAMSON THE JILTED JUDGE, Lesson 20c
v. 14-17 SAMSON AND HIS ACCOMPLISHMENT
When Samson was delivered to the Philistines, they must have thought their troubles were over. When they saw him bound up, they “shouted against him”. This phrase probably means that they shouted in victory, and they launched their attack against him. These people intended to kill Samson. Of course, their excitement would be short lived.
v. 14b His Power – In spite of his failures, God continued to use Samson. The “spirit of God”, we are told, “came mightily upon him”. The new cords that bound him became as easy to break as burnt flax threads. The Bible says his bonds were “loosed”. This word means “to melt, or to dissolve”. Samson was free!
The path to liberty in this life is through the Spirit of God, (2 Cor. 3:17). We are often bound by our sins, our problems and our circumstances, but when we yield all to the Spirit of God, and walk in His power; the things that bind us lose their hold. We are set free to serve the Lord for His glory. The secret to liberty in the Christian life is to yield to the control of the Spirit of God every moment of every day, (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16-18).
v. 15 His Performance – Samson picks up the “new jawbone of an ass” and killed 1,000 men with it. When the Bible calls is “new”, it has the idea that is was strong and not likely to break. If it had been lying in the sun for a long period of time, it would have been brittle and unusable for the task Samson had in mind.
A “jawbone” is a dangerous weapon. I suppose more damage has been done in lives, families and churches by this weapon that with any other. “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell,” (James 3:6).
Washington Erving said, “A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.” In a short poem, William Norris said, “If your lips would keep from slips, Five things observe with care: To whom you speak; of whom you speak; And how, and when, and where.” The Greek philosopher Publius said, “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.” That’s something to think about.
v. 16-17 His Problem – After Samson’s victory, he composes a short poem about it. He even renames the place “Ramath-Lehi”, which means “The height or hill of the jawbone”. It refers to the pile of bodies Samson made with this weapon.
Samson is pleased with his victory, but he seems untroubled by the fact that in accomplishing this victory, he has once again defiled himself. The donkey was an unclean animal and the Law did not allow a Jew to touch its carcass, (Lev. 11:8). Add to that the fact that a Nazarite was not to have any contact with a dead body, and it is easy to see that Samson has once again sinned against the Lord and violated his vows of separation.
This is just another reminder that God will accomplish His purposes in spite of us. Often churches and church people use ungodly means to achieve their goals. God, in His sovereignty, is able to bless in spite of our failure to walk in His will. I am glad that my sin will not derail God’s plans! I am glad that the wicked tactics of my enemies will not derail God’s plan. God will do what He is going to do either with, or without, our cooperation. Our foolishness will not even slow Him down! He has a plan, and He is working that plan day by day. “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased,”( Psa 115:3). No matter how things may appear, God will have the last word!
Did you notice that Samson is fighting the Philistines all alone? There are 3,000 Jewish men standing there watching, and Samson has to fight the enemy all by himself. When the battle was over, no one came to congratulate him on his victory. When he needed water in verse 18, no one came to offer any assistance whatsoever. They simply abandoned Samson, turned their backs and walked away.
This is just a reminder of a sad truth: if you are going to serve the Lord, you have better be ready to stand alone. It’s not always that way, but there will be times when you will find that you have been abandoned by the very people you thought would have stood with you. Many people have stood alone against family. Many have stood alone against the world. Many have stood alone in a church filled with people who should have stood with them.
If you find yourself in that situation, remember that Jesus said He would always stand with you, (Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20). It may appear that you are alone, but you never really are. The One Who matters the most if always there, ( Psa. 121:1-8)!
Conc: Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in '71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn't call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a “genius mind” when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team. Staubach later said, “I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory.”
If this passage is about anything, it is about obedience. Samson failed in his obedience and tragedy followed. Judah failed in their obedience and compromise followed. When we walk in obedience, we too will find “harmony, fulfillment and victory”. When we do not, we will find chaos, emptiness and failure.
Where does this message find you?
Are you’re a clear stand for truth, for the Lord and for the things of God?
Or, have you compromised and cooperated with the enemy in his efforts to attack the Lord’s work and His people?
Maybe like Samson, you have allowed yourself to become defiled, and you need to get clean.
Maybe you are discouraged because it seems like you are all alone in the battles of life.
Maybe today is the day when you would like to stand up and take your place with the Lord Jesus Christ and tell Him that you will stand with Him and for Him against the attacks of the enemies.
If He has spoken to your heart on any level, the time to obey Him is now.
Isaiah 30:21 (New King James Version (NKJV)
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.
“Follow Me” By: Ira F. Stamphill (1953)
I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care,
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair,
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him so so tenderly,
"My feet were also weary upon the Calv'ry road,
The cross became so heavy I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim, the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me."
"I work so hard for Jesus" I often boast and say,
"I've sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune; I'm worth a lot to thee,"
And then I heard Him gently say to me,
"I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we'll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me."
Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday
'Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
"No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die,"
These are the words he gently spoke to me,
"If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand,"
But if by death to living they can thy glory see,
I'll take my cross and follow close to thee.
Holy Father, God of Heaven, Harvest and Healing! We thank You for the truth of Your Word that shows us how to live and not live. Help us to learn from it how to worship You in the way You have prescribed, how to reach out and help one another with the love with which You have loved us, and how to stand for Your Truth and Your Word. We praise You Father, not only for the Truth of the Word, but also for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which helps us with the knowledge, understanding, wisdom and insight to that Truth. Enable us then to enter Your gates with thanksgiving and into Your courts with praise, and the way of life we have in our Savior Jesus Christ. It is in His precious name that we pray. Amen!
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