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The High Cost of Low Living
Some are born to privilege, w/ many advantages, and can't seem to succeed, and then others are the opposite, born to nothing, and rise above it all to great success. Samson was an example of the former.
He was born at a special time in Israel's history. 7 times this nation had rebelled into apostasy. This time it is the Philistines which God used to punish and oppress Israel for 40 years. They were their worst enemy.
Samson means "sunshine." And in the darkest days of his nation's history, sunshine came into the world.
He was a Nazarite, which means different, separated, or set aside. He was to have no wine or fruit of the vine. He couldn't come near or touch a dead body, whether animal or human. And he couldn't cut his hair. Why?
1 Corinthians 11:14
It was an act of humility and self abasement to take this shame upon himself.
Well, Samson had been given great strength of the Lord. On one occasion he slew 1,000 Philistines w/ just the jawbone of a donkey. On another, he lifted the gates of the city up a hill on his shoulders. Then there was the time he was confronted by a wild lion, and destroyed it w/ his bare hands.
What did he look like? Like Schwarzenegger? No. Probably just average. How do we know? Because Delilah asked him the secret of his strength. It wasn't obvious...It was a supernatural strength.
14:5-6, 15:14-15 In each case the 'Spirit of the Lord came upon him'.
He was not only strong in body, but in mind and spirit. He was sharp witted. He loved riddles and had a great sense of humor. No wonder his name was sunshine...he was a bundle of potential. And yet this is not a happy story, it is a tragedy. He went from hero to zero, from victor to victim. Disobedience, defeat, disgrace, and destruction were his describers.
He was bold before men, but weak before women. He had the Spirit of God upon him, but lived for the appetites of the flesh. He was called upon to declare war upon the enemies of God, but many times we find him fraternizing w/ the enemies of God. He fought the Lord's battles by day, and broke the Lord's commandments by night.
Sunshine was his name, which speaks of light, yet he ended his life in darkness having had his eyes poked out. At times he soared to incredible heights, but also sunk to incredible depths.
If you had told Samson at the beginning of his life what he would do in the end, he would not have thought himself capable of going that far.
This reminds us that there are 3 people in your seat right now.
The person you are now, the one you could be for God, and the one you could be for the devil.
Was Samson saved. Yes! Heb. 11 mentions him as a hero of the faith. So, even Samson didn't lose his salvation. This is where opponents of eternal security say, "So, you are teaching that you can be saved and then do anything you want?" Pretty much, but you can't choose the consequences. Samson paid a high price for his low living.
1. Samson dishonored his parents.
14:1-3 The first step in his downward journey. He had godly parents who pleaded with him to do right and avoid the unequal yoke of 2 Cor. 6.
ill.--a 3 fold cord is not easily broken [husband/wife/God]. But when God isn't holding the other 2 together, it is very easy for them to come untwined.
Samson thumbed his nose at his parents, and died young!
2. Samson deserted his promise.
He took the Nazarite vow.
14:5 'Down' is a geographical term, but it has more meaning than that to me. When you run from God...you're goin' down! Read the story of Jonah...he went down over and over again until he went God's way.
'Vineyards' = he went to a place he wasn't supposed to be. You say, that's just a little thing...yes! It's the little foxes that spoil the vines. It is when we are just flirting w/ sin that the slippery slope takes over.
14:6-9 'Carcase' = more disobedience. He keeps violating his vows. He is losing his focus. He is sinning in high gear! And it's a downward spiral.
Samson reminds me of Lot in Genesis. In the end of the Lot story he is committing incest w/ his daughters, giving birth to wicked nations which still plague the earth today. And yet in the beginning Lot was a Christian who no one thought was capable of such things. How did it start for Lot? He lifted up his eyes toward Sodom. He just looked that direction! Then he headed that direction, pitching his tent so he could look out at it, and eventually he was right there in the gates.
The deeper you go into sin, the blinder you get! Samson was blind long before his eyes were gouged out!
3. Samson distorted his purpose.
14:10-14 This is the wedding, and all the guests are Philistines. He's w/ the wrong crowd.
The riddle he gave was based on his experience w/ the lion. There's no way they could figure it out w/out knowing of this happening. So they go to his wife to get her to entice him to give up the answer. They threaten her in vv. 15-16. That's when she turned on the tears, and in v. 17 she got her answer.
Samson could stand before an army, but not before a crying woman.
v. 18 Note to self: calling your wife a heifer is a big mistake.
More importantly, notice that Samson is playing games with the enemy. He is not fighting God's battles, but his own. He has distorted his purpose. And America is no longer fighting the real enemy, but fighting our own battles internally, playing games w/ the enemy.
God gives us good gifts and abilities...so we must not prostitute ourselves and use them for the wrong purposes, but only for God.
4. Samson defiled his purity.
It keeps getting worse. Sin takes you farther that you want to go, will keep you longer than you planned to stay, and will cost you far more than you planned to pay.
16:1-4 Oh how the plot thickens. He is looking for trashy women, and they aren't hard to find.
The devil never shows us the end of the story.
Sin has a blinding, desensitizing effect.
How unique are sexual sins! The consequences go on and on. Forgiveness is still possible, but the consequences continue.
5. Samson deluded his power.
Now he's sitting in Delilah's hair salon, and she tries to learn the secret of his strength. He toys with her, telling her lies [tie me with green withes / tie my hair in locks] Notice he's getting closer to the truth. The devil just tries to get us to take small steps his direction.
Finally, he caves in and tells her the truth. He breaks the final part of his Nazarite vow. Now it's too late, the point of no return. And here is the saddest verse...
16:20 He lost his power, and didn't even know it. Some here don't even know how cold they've grown, and how far away from God they have slowly become.
The great lesson of this book is that God would rather forgive than judge. Along the way Samson made mistakes, but could have made them right and been restored, but he went all the way w/ sin.
And sin binds, sin blinds, and then sin grinds, slowly, grinds away at you.
Even in the downfall of America which we seem to be witnessing already in progress, there's hope. God would rather forgive than judge. And if we insist on His judgment, there still could be a great victory in the tragedy, multitudes could be saved if we go thru a mighty judgment, and God can still get a great victory.
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