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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 2/2/2013


Saturday, February 02, 2013

SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 2/2/2013

A BLESSED MORNING TO EVERYONE!

Judges 16:21-31
THE RESTORATION OF A FALLEN HERO, Lesson 24a

In our study of the life of Samson, we have encountered a man who was far less than he should have been. He came into this world born of a promise from God that he would be a Nazarite set apart for the glory of God, and that he would be the deliverer of the nation of Israel, (Jud. 13:1-14). There can be little doubt that the Lord used Samson in his life, but his service to the Lord was hampered by the sins that marred his life.

Samson was a man characterized by weakness in his flesh. He had a weakness for wicked women. That desire for illicit sexual relationships continually hindered his usefulness to the Lord and eventually it cost him his freedom, his ministry and his life.

In our last glimpse into the life of this man, we saw a man who had been deceived by an ungodly woman he had come to love, (Jud. 16:4). This woman’s name was Delilah and she tricked Samson into revealing the source of his strength to her. His strength was not his own; it came from the Lord. Samson’s power was related to his Nazarite vows. His hair symbolized that vow. When he allowed Delilah to cut his hair, Samson showed contempt for his vows to the Lord. As a result, the Lord removed His hand from Samson’s life and God allowed him to be captured by his enemies. The Philistines tied Samson, put out his eyes and took him to the prison, where he was forced to grind. The mighty judge of Israel was reduced to doing the work of a female slave.

Thankfully the story of Samson does not conclude with him bound by his enemies. This passage records The Restoration Of A Fallen Hero. These verses remind us that no matter how far we may fall, we too can be restored if we repent and turn back to the Lord.

That should be encouraging news to every child of God. We all fail, and sometimes like Samson we fail in a big way. We are like the fellow who said, “I do not what the Lord stays often, but when I do, it’s a beauty.” We all fail the Lord from time to time, and sometimes we fail in a spectacular fashion. Of course, we see this in the lives of all the heroes of faith mentioned in the Bible. “The Hall of the Faithful” in Hebrews 11 could also be labeled “The Hall Of The Failures”, because all the members of that illustrious organization failed God, and they failed Him big.

Abraham lacked the faith to believe God’s promises to take care of him and he went down to Egypt where he lied about his wife.

Sarah laughed at God and mocked His promises.

Isaac lied about his wife.

Moses committed murder and tried to cover it up.

Joshua was full of pride and failed to pray before he attacked Ai where the nation of Israel was defeated.

Rahab was a prostitute.

The successful Christian is not the person who never fails, but it is the person who when they fail, gets back up and goes on for the Lord. The successful Christian is the person who accepts God’s remedy for sin and reaches up to God for cleansing and forgiveness when he does fail.

That is what these verses are about. Let’s look into these verses and notice the lessons they have to teach us about “The Restoration Of A Fallen Hero”.

v. 22 IT WAS A TIME OF RESTORATION
The Power In The Restoration – “The hair of his head began to grow again.” After a time, Samson’s began to grow back. If you will remember, his hair was the symbol of his vows to God as a Nazarite. Samson’s power did not come from his hair, but it came from his relationship with the Lord. The regrowth of his hair was symbolic of the restoration of that special relationship Samson had enjoyed with the Lord.

The Picture In The Restoration – The regrowth of Samson’s hair was a picture of the truth that God was not through with Samson yet. The grace of God allowed Samson to live long enough for his hair to grow back and this lets us know that God has plans for Samson.

The Problem In The Restoration – Samson’s hair grew back, but it was a slow process. The average growth rate of human hair is about 1/8th inch per week. That translates to about 6 inches per year. To grow hair to the waist takes about 6 years. All that means is that Samson was in the process of restoration for a very long time. His return did not come over night.

There are a few observations that we need to notice concerning this restoration process.

If you have sinned and failed the Lord, especially in a very grievous and public way, restoration is possible, but it will be gradual. You cannot expect to be restored to service overnight.

You can be forgiven of sin in an instant, but restoration may take a lot of time. It takes time to earn back the trust of others. Sin takes a tremendous toll on all the people within its orbit. It takes time for the pain, distrust and effects of sin to ease.
Huge failures in our lives are not the result of a sudden fall into sin. They are the culmination of a long period of disobedience. It takes time to replace bad habits with good ones. It takes time to change the way the mind thinks, thus it takes time to change the way we live our lives. It takes time to earn back the trust of the people who have been wounded by our failures.

While sin might be forgiven and the sinner made right with God, forgiveness does not cancel out the consequences of our sins. Samson’s hair grew back, but he was still bound; he was still blind and he was still in the prison grinding grain. Sin leaves a terrible mark on the lives of the guilty. The scars of sin may be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. The scars sin leaves behind may never be fully healed. While relationships with God and others may be restored, the reminders of sin may haunt you for the rest of your life. Regret, guilt, and a loss of peace may stalk the guilty party until they leave this world. We must ever remember that sin brings consequences, and those consequences may follow us to the grave, Gal. 6:7; Pro. 13:15. We may be forced to live our lives ever asking, “What was I thinking? Why did I do that?”

While there was restoration, there was a limitation of Samson’s service. It is possible to commit sins that will disqualify us from holding certain positions in the church. It is not that we do not forgive, or that the Lord does not forgive; the issue is that people will not follow a leader in whom they no confidence.

This passage challenges us to avoid sin in our lives at all costs. Whatever steps are necessary to avoid committing sin must be utilized. God will help us to be the people He saved us to be. He will help us in the hour of temptation, 1 Cor. 10:13. He will help us protect our testimonies and our reputations so that He is glorified and we remain useful to Him.

This passage also reminds us that there is restoration for the fallen, 1 John 1:9; Pro. 28:13. There is forgiveness with the Lord, Jer. 33:8.

TODAY’S VERSE!
1 Corinthians 13:13 (New King James Version (NKJV)
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


TODAY’S HYMN!
“The Greatest Command” By: Traditional (1993)

Alto:
Love one another, for love is of God.
He who loves is born of God;
And knows God.
He who does not love, does not know God,
For God is love, God is love, God is love.

Bass:
Love bears all things,
Believes all things,
Love hopes all things,
Endures all things.

Tenor:
God is love, God is love, God is love.
God is love, God is love, God is love.
God is love, God is love, God is love,
God is love, God is love, God is love.

Soprano:
Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
With all thy soul, all thy strength,
All thy mind.
Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
For God is love, God is love, God is love.


TODAY’S PRAYER!
Holy Father, God of Opportunity, Obedience and Oneness! Your Word changes our hearts, enriches our souls, and makes us wise. Your commandments are true, right, pure, dependable, edifying, and life giving. Instruct us in Your Word that we may find Your Great Peace. Help us to hold fast to Your Word so that we may rejoice in Your glory and in the Works of Christ. We thank You for Your loving-kindness and Your truth which set us free. We thank You for magnifying Your Word which will stand the test of time and stand forever. We thank You for Jesus who is the Living Word. It is in His blessed name that we pray. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 2/2/2013 9:52PM

    Thank you for a great lesson, hymn and prayer. Samson was a real example of how our lives are when we sin. God will forgive us, and I am grateful to know that He will never leave us or forsake us. We really learned what Samson went through until the end and it is something we have to be careful of and try to walk down God's straight and narrow path. Praying daily for His guidance to do right for His glory. Thank you Vic for the goodie and note. God bless you and have a blessed Sunday.

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/2/2013 7:14PM

    Very good lesson. Even though we may repent over sin, I like how it is pointed out that the consequences may always be there. Why should I not resist sin from the very first promptings? Lord, help me recognize and shun sin by hiding your Word in my heart!

Comment edited on: 2/2/2013 7:16:14 PM

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TONYVAND1 2/2/2013 5:11PM

  Avoiding sin and resting in His faithfulness.

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MNABOY 2/2/2013 1:52PM

    Thanks for witnessing

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FALLENSHORT 2/2/2013 12:46PM

    Thank you MJRVIC; you have no idea what this lesson means to me! First of all I had no idea the story of Samson was so complicated, and second, I always thought once God forgave us the guilt would go away immediately. Your story proves that's not true!

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JOANIE69 2/2/2013 10:08AM

    What a great lesson..I can't even pick my favorite part in it...it is ALL emoticon

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LOOKINGUP2012 2/2/2013 10:04AM

    emoticon emoticon

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RSSSLHB 2/2/2013 9:19AM

    emoticon God bless

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