FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 2//1/2013
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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