FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 1/27/2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 1/27/2013
A BLESSED MORNING TO EVERYONE!
SAMSON AND THE SHADY LADY, Lesson 22a
The last glimpse we had of Samson was of a man who seemed to have gotten his act together. As the previous chapter closed, we saw Samson calling on the Lord in humility. He prayed to the Lord and God delivered him from death through a great miracle. That story ends with Samson judging Israel for 20 years.
After a period of peace and steadfast service, Samson falls once again into his old ways. His old passions rise to the surface and Samson once again finds himself entangled in a web of sin. Samson may have been a powerful man physically, but he was a moral weakling. He may have demonstrated his power time and again over the enemies of the Lord, but he was helpless against the power of his flesh.
Samson reminds me of Achilles. In Greek Mythology, Achilles was the son of a human king named Peleus and a sea goddess named Thetis. Achilles was the greatest, bravest, strongest and most handsome soldier in his father’s army. The legend goes that Thetis held her infant son by the heel and dipped him in the waters of the River Styx. The magical powers of the river rendered Achilles invulnerable in every part of his body, except his heel, which had not been dipped in the river. That small, little part of his flesh was vulnerable to attack. Later, in the heat of battle, Achilles was struck in the heel by an arrow and was killed. That myth has become a proverb by which each of us live our lives.
We all have our Achilles’ Heel. We all possess those areas of life in which we are vulnerable to attack. We all possess that area of our walk with God in which we are prone to fail. The writer of Hebrews calls it “the sin which doth so easily beset us”,( Heb. 12:1). That sin varies from person to person, but whatever that sin is in your life, it is your Achilles’ Heel.
For Samson, his Achilles’ Heel was women and illicit sexual relationships. For others it might be the quest for money, fame, popularity, position, ambition, or power. For some it might be pride, lust, selfishness, gossip, anger, malice, or a host of other sins. Whatever that “besetting sin” might be for you, if you are not able to conquer it through the power of the Holy Spirit, it will be your downfall.
Oscar Wilde, a British writer known for his decadent lifestyle and taste for the ungodly wrote, “I can resist anything but temptation. The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” That seems to be the motto that Samson embraced in his life, and I am sad to say, it seems to be the motto embraced by many in the modern church.
This passage is a reminder of the great power sin holds over us. It is a reminder that we never really defeat sin. It is always there, in the depths of our fallen natures, waiting like a cobra to strike us and fill us with its deadly venom. This is a reminder that we must be ever vigilant and aware of sin’s presence and power in our lives. This is a reminder that one moment of weakness can cause us to fall back into old, sinful habits we thought were long dead, (1 Pet. 5:8). This passage is sad, because it is a terrible way for Samson to conclude 20 years of successful ministry. But, it is a reminder that we are never beyond the allure and pull of our sinful affections. Satan only needs an inch in order to become your ruler, (Eph. 4:27).
I want to teach about “Samson And The Shady Lady”. I want you to notice some lessons that present themselves to us in this text. These lessons will help us when we face our battles with our own “besetting sins”.
v. 1 SAMSON AND HIS DEFILEMEN
The reasons for Samson’s fall back into sin are given to us in this first verse. Several elements are involved in his fall.
Involved The Wrong Address – The Bible says, “Then Samson went to Gaza.” Gaza was a Philistine city located near the Mediterranean Sea. It was situated on the main road that allowed travel between Egypt, Babylon and Assyria. It was a commercial and military crossroads. The name “Gaza” means “strength” and it was a Philistine stronghold. It was a place known for its wickedness and idolatry. It was no place for a man of God.
It does matter where you spend your time. If you consistently find yourself in places where you are surrounded by sin, or even in a place where you can be tempted, you are setting yourself up for a fall. The Bible warns us to avoid places where we might be tempted to sin. Proverbs 4:14-15 says, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”
Some people will question your refusal to go where they go and do what they do, but you have a duty to the God Who saved you. You have a responsibility to your own soul to protect it from temptation. It is better to bear the scorn of sinners than it is to be scarred by sin!
If you are an alcoholic, you should avoid the beer and liquor stores. If you are a drug addict, you should avoid the places where such things are available. Falling into this type of sin does not always require a change of physical address. For instance, if you have problems with lust, be careful where you go on the Internet and what you watch on TV. If you have problems with gossip, be careful to whom you talk on the phone.
The lesson we learn from Lot’s example is priceless! 2 Pet. 2:8 says, “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”. Lot placed himself and his family directly in the crosshairs of sin by moving them to Sodom. He paid a terribly high price for his sins!
Involved The Wrong Attractions – We are told that in Gaza, Samson “saw there an harlot”. Samson has always had “eye trouble” and it seems that he still does. He casts his gaze on the wrong things and it led him into sin.
If we do not guard the “eye gate” we will allow things into our minds that will cause us to be tempted. It is possible to be defiled by the things we see, (Matt. 5:28). In the Bible, men like Samson, Judah, David and Solomon were all led off into sin by the things they looked at with their eyes. We must take steps to guard our eyes from the things that would defile us, (1 John 2:16)!
As you might expect, the Bible offers some very good advice in this important area:
“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way,”( Psa. 119:37). We should seek the Lord’s help in guarding ourselves in this vital area.
“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”( Job 31:1).
“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil,” (Pro. 4:25-27).
When the wrong images are allowed in through the eyes, it will not be long until they find their way to the heart. It will not be long from there until you find yourself tempted and falling into sin. That is why we must guard our eyes at all times!
Involved The Wrong Alliances – We are told that Samson “went in unto her”. Samson’s sin was not an accident. He was not merely a man overtaken by some snare of the devil. Samson was in the wrong place, looking at the wrong things. In this instance, he was his own worst enemy. He contributed to his own fall.
When we play around with sin and tempt ourselves, we become the reason for our own failures. It isn’t God’s fault that we fail. We can’t even blame Satan for all our failures. We sin because we give in to our own lusts. We sin because we allow ourselves to go to the wrong places and look at the wrong things. That is what the Bible teaches, (James 1:13-15).
Samson got into trouble because he was overconfident. He thought he could handle the pull of his flesh. He learned the hard way that he was helpless against his flesh and the lusts that lived there. When we get to the place where we think we have arrived, we too are headed for a fall, (Pro. 16:18; 1 Cor. 10:12)!
Let’s not overlook the fact that Samson sinned because he allowed himself to be with the wrong people. He would have never committed this sin had he been around the people of God at the house of God. Because he was in the wrong place, looking at the wrong things with the wrong people he fell into sin! The same will happen to us, if we are not careful! You cannot keep company with defiled people without defiling yourself! The people you surround yourself with will influence your thinking and your actions. That is why the Bible warns us about being friendly with the wicked.
Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” Also, 1 Cor. 15:33 says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”
We can blame no one but ourselves when we set ourselves up to sin. The fact is, some people get so far away from the Lord that they do not need to be tempted; all they really need is an opportunity. That is why we must ever guard ourselves. Where we go, what we do and whom we congregate with had a lot to do with how our lives will turn out!
John 14:1 (New King James Version (NKJV)
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” By: Helen H. Lemmel (1922)
1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
2. Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!
3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Heavenly Father, God of Kindness, Kingdom and Knowledge! Help us to separate ourselves from all sin. Lead us away from sin so we can always stay focus on Your Word and in the Way. Grant us a strong conviction in our soul to do that which is right according to Your Word. Keep us from being around those things which may even appear to be sinful. Enable us to crucify any unholy desires we may have. Let there be no wall of separation between us and the God that loves us. May there never be an attitude in us of disregard for Your Will and Your Ways. May our hearts be filled with joy always and our lips sing praises to our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. This we ask and pray in His blessed name. Amen!
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