Jerry Locke
Series of 11 Short Studies
Despised The Gifts Of God

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FAMOUS FAILURES - Part 10 Samson — Despised The Gifts Of God

Judges 13

So now in the series on "Famous Failures" we have visited with . . .

· Adam—defied the command of God. God used a symbol to get his attention—an animal slain for his sin.

· Moses—disregarded the plan of God. God used to get his attention? A sight—the burning bush.

· Jonah—disobeyed the Word of God. God used a storm to get his attention.

· Peter—denied the Son of God. God used a sound to reclaim him—a crowing rooster.

· John Mark—deserted the work of God. God used a servant to reclaim him—Barnabas.

· David- defiled the purity of God. God used a sermon to reclaim him.

· John the Baptist—doubted the purpose of God. God used a scripture to set him right.

· Elijah—discouraged about the protection of God. God used a "a still small voice."

"Stronghold" principle:

If there is a single area of your life over which Jesus is not Lord (in control, Boss) and you refuse His Lordship in that area, then you will find yourself falling in areas where you previously had victory.

A Bible study series on failures would not be complete without a look at an Old Testament judge named Samson. He is one of the most curious and confusing characters in the Bible. He lived in a day of permissiveness and became its poster boy. We see this spirit spilled out in several place, almost as a theme song for the tragedy told in it. "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes," Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25. No one was in control. No one gave the orders. No one was responsible to anyone. The book of Judges is a study in the progressive disaster based on the unfolding panorama of permissiveness.

The nation of Israel fell into a cycle. They sinned. God chastened them. They repented. God raised up a leader to deliver them. This happened seven times in the book of Judges.

One of those leaders God raised up to deliver Israel from their oppressors was Samson.

1. The Plan for Samson's Life — Holiness.

Now, there's word that gets mixed reactions. It is strange the way we react to good, but misused word. I have come to believe if any other group does something, Baptists don't do it.

· Catholics confess, so Baptists don't.

· Episcopalians kneel, so Baptists don't.

· Charismatic raise their hands, so Baptist don't.

We react in the same way to the term "holiness." Holiness is dismissed by some, unscripturally exaggerated by others, nonetheless it is a most important Bible truth. Holiness is very much a scriptural idea.

· The word holy in various forms occurs more than 600 times in the Bible.

· Add associated words (sanctify, sanctification) and the total goes to 844.

· One entire book, Leviticus, is devoted to the subject. The idea of holiness is woven elsewhere throughout the fabric of Scripture. God specifically commands us to be holy, Leviticus 11:44.

Those who mock or misrepresent holiness are just not in touch with the message of their Bible. The Bible refers to holy prophets and holy apostles; the holy child Jesus, the Holy Father, and the Holy Ghost; holy kisses and holy brethren and holy women; holy priesthood and holy nation; holy word and holy faith; holy city and holy mountains; holy ground and holy garments; holy name and holy house; holy days and holy promises; holy angels and holy vessels; holy oil and holy hands. When the angels praise God they cry, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts," Isaiah 6:3. The only attribute of God that is compounded to the third degree (a Hebrew way for emphasis) is His holiness.

God's plan for Samson was holiness. Even before he was born, he was "separated unto God."

Three things marked Samson's life.

First, Samson had a unique birth, Judges 13:2-5a. An angel announced his birth. Now that's pretty special! You pretty special, too, if you are saved. Our new birth experience is God's initial act of setting us apart unto Himself and it is announced by angels, Luke 15:10.

Second, Samson had a unique blessing,. A special benediction was given to the Nazarites in Numbers 6:22-27. "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon the, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them." Samson was blessed. Look at Judges 13:24-25. "And the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him…"

Third, Samson had a unique burden, Judges 13:5. "And he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." He was born to deliver. We are called to be winners of the souls of men. We, also, are to have a burden.

Samson took three vows that were outward signs of his inward holiness. Those vows are in Numbers 6:3-7.

· The Drink vow, v. 3; Judges 13:4a.

· The Dead body vow, vs. 6-7; Judges 13:4b.

· The Dome vow, v. 5; Judges 13:5.

Every believer had made these three vows.

· My joy is to be in Jesus, not in strong drink. Wine represents the false and temporary joy of the world. We have vowed to not find our joy in the world, only in Jesus.

· The old man is dead, leave it alone! Our self man died with jesus. We have been crucified with Christ, Galatians 2:20. The old man was terminated.

· Long hair? Wait. Long hair in the Bible is a sign of weakness, femininity. Samson's long hair was a symbol that he had no strength in himself. He vowed to live in God's strength only. We are all Nazarites, spiritually. Without Jesus we can do nothing, John 15:5.

2. The Pattern of Samson's Life — Carelessness.

Samson was careless in one area.

Look again at the "Stronghold" principle: If there is a single area of your life over which Jesus is not Lord (in control, Boss) and you refuse His Lordship in that area, then you will find yourself falling in areas where you previously had victory.

Samson did all kinds of unbelievable feats. He whacked his share of Philistines. But there was one area where God was not allowed to control. Samson took God's marriage gift of sex and despised it. Of the few things said of him, he is said that he had three different women in his life. We all know about Delilah, but she was the last in his young life.

Samson started messing with the wrong "philly", a Philistine girl, Judges 14:1-5a. Samson wanted to marry the girl and it didn't matter what his parents thought or what God thought.

God did not want Samson to marry that girl. Any time you marry a child of the devil you are going to have trouble with your father-in-law! Verses 4 must mean that this was of the Lord in the sense that afterwards God overruled it, because God had already told them not to marry any heathen. Let's not confuse what God allows with what God desires.

· God told them not to marry outside their nation. The nation had to remain pure for the Messiah.

· Samson's did said this was not right. God leads children through their parents.

· Samson didn't love this girl anyway, because later he disregarded her and allowed his best man to have sex with her, Judges 14:20.

Judges 14:5 says, "Then went Samson down," both geographically and spiritually. Samson was saying to God, "I'll serve you all my life, but don't tell me what to do or who to do it with."

Samson violated his three vows.

· He went through a vineyard, Judges 14:5. He broke the drink vow.

· He met a lion, killed it and later contacted it, Judges 14:6, 8. The lion defeated Samson, and he didn't know it.

· He cut his hair, Judges 16:4-19. Some people have the entirely wrong idea of what Samson looked like. He didn't look like Dusty Butler — he looked like me! Quit laughing. He was not a tall man with large muscles. Verse 5 indicates they could not understand where he got his strength. If he was this big dude with bulging muscles they would have credited Samson's strength to his physique. Samson had one area over which God was not Lord, for here he is again sleeping with another woman, Delilah, by name. Samson didn't cut off his hair; he merely elected to spend his time in the wrong company and they did it for (or to) him.

It is a very dangerous thing for the pattern of a Christian's life to be marked by carelessness! God's plan is holiness, but their pattern is carelessness. They become careless about their church life; careless about their prayer life; careless about the way they talk; careless about they way they dress.

3. The Penalty for Samson's Life — Uselessness.

The last part of Judges 16:20 is a sad testimony. "And he wist (knew) not that the Lord had departed from him." The truth is that it is possible to have once lived a life of consecration to God and then by deliberate sin or by simple neglect get completely out of touch with God. It is very possible for our past experience with Christ to be much brighter than our present enjoyment. God was gone! God was gone!

What was Samson's failure? He despised the gifts of God. God had been so good to Samson. God have given so much to Samson. God had given Samson…

· Good parents...what a gift to have parents who know and love God.

· Great purpose….what a gift to know what God wants you to do in life.

· Gigantic powers...what a gift to be used by God in the defeat of spirit bondage.

But look at what had become of Samson in Judges 16:21.

· He was sign of dedication.

· He was spiritual vision.

· He was freedom.

· He was joy. He was going in circles. The excitement was gone.

There was nothing funny about this, yet people were laughing — laughing at Samson. The name of Samson had struck terror in the heart of his enemies. But he had lost his spiritual power. He became a wicked weakling, a feeble fool. The man that was to be the Judge is now the Joker to the Philistines, Judges 16:25.

Samson's failure was that he despised the gifts of God.

God used the area of Samson's stronghold to reach his heart. God brought Samson to repentance and be began to pray again, Judges 16:28. Deliverance came through her own personal death. Samson did not live to be an old man with a large, happy family. Samson died in his late 30's or early 40's, alone and lonely!

The only positive thing that is said of Samson, if it is positive, is that "the dead which he slew at his death were more than they where he slew in his life," Judges 16:30b.

A solemn reminder is given to us in the last line of his story, Judges 16:31. He was buried at the same place in which the Spirit of God began to move him in the beginning, Judges 13:25. In other words, he went a lot of places and did a lot of things, but he never made any real progress.

The job for which Samson was born went unaccomplished. He was born that he might "begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines." But Judges 15:20 says, "He judged Israel in the days of the Philistines." He never delivered Israel from the hand of the enemy. He fell victim because he refused Lordship in every area of his life.

Lordship involves every action, aspiration, association, activity, attitude, area of life.

Lordship involves God's control over self, possessions, money, career, time, music, education, friends, marriage, children, church, and future.

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