Pastor Don has asked me to teach this Friday’s Bible study at church. So, poor Moses will have to bask in the glory of the burning bush for a bit longer, worshipping that I AM THAT I AM.
When I first started reading the Bible I used to marvel at how many mistakes the Israelites made in their walk with God. I always figured that if they saw the Red Sea part, manna in the wilderness, and all of God’s interventions on their behalf, why did they turn to idols? I used to think that the miracles would have some effect in their lives, but it seemed as if after awhile the miracles ceased to motivate worship of God. Pastor Don pointed out to me that the Bible covers 4000 years of history and that God picked carefully the incidents he wanted emphasized. That God wanted to help us to learn what not to do by example in the Bible instead of in our own school of hard knocks. The people in the Bible made thousands and thousands of right choices, but sometimes, for our benefit God pointed out the wrong choices hoping that we would learn by their example what not to do. We are going to look at the life of Samson, and be a bit nit-picky about the mistakes that he made, but I think it is important to first look at the Faith Chapter: Hebrews 11:32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets.
What surprises me about this passage is that Samson and David (the man after God’s own heart) get the same one name mention in this great chapter. So, for all of Samson’s mistakes, his repentance and obedience to God gave him a place in this wonderful chapter of heroes of faith. It gives me confidence to know that God will record our moments of faith, and that is what He will look at in this hall of faith.
So far, God has led the people out of Egypt into the promised land. Joshua has led the people well and under his leadership many of the “ites” have been destroyed and the people have claimed a good portion of the land that God has given them. There were still pockets of land that the Israelites had not conquered. Joshua died, and without his strong leadership, the people reverted to idol worship. Judges 2:10-11 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals.
This would kindle the anger of God against Israel, and God would remove His hand of protection from over the people, allowing them to be plundered and despoiled at the hands of their enemies. Isn’t that so like us, we stray from God for a time and life starts impacting us. We turn and call out to God, and in His great love for us, He responds. For the Israelites God gave them judges.
Judges 2:16-23 Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do so. And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed the and harassed them. And it came to pass,w hen the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.
Isn’t that just like us. It is so easy to revert to our old behavior and stubborn ways once the crisis is over.
Well, let’s look at Samson who was a Danite (from the tribe of Dan) and a judge of Israel for 20 years.
The Angel of the Lord – that is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus – comes to a certain man and a certain woman. God carefully chose who would be the parents of Samson.
Samson is to be a Nazirite – to see what that entails lets take a peek at Numbers 6:1-9
1. separate him/herself from wine or similar drink -no grape juice, no grapes or raisins, nothing to do with the grapevine from seed to skin.
I think it is also important to know that God had instructed the Hebrews not to intermarry – that they needed to be a people set apart. If they married pagan brides, then that influence of idol worshippers would come into the tribe of Israel. God wanted to protect them from that.
Back to Judges 13 Manoah means Rest in Hebrew. Samson’s mother informs her husband about what she was told by the Man of God. I find it interesting that her husband wants to hear the message himself and God honors that. Judges 13:8-9 and Manoah asks the Man verse 12 Manoah said, “Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy’s rule of life and his work?” I find it touching that Manoah wants to know what needs to be done to make this come to pass – so that he can obey God in the raising of his son. Proverbs 22:6 – train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Manoah wants to detain the angel of the LORD and prepare a goat (sounds like Abraham’s entertainment of the angels), but the Angel of the LORD states that He would not eat with Manoah, but Manoah could offer a sacrifice to the LORD. The angel refused to give Manoah his name, but hints in verse 18 “My name, seeing it is wonderful?” Isaiah 9:6 – His name shall be wonderful, counselor…
When Manoah made the sacrifice the angel of the Lord (verse 20) ascended toward heaven in the flame of the altar. And seeing that Manoah and his wife fell on their faces to the ground.
Judges 13:24-25 So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon him at Mahaneh Dan (Camp of Dan) between Zorah and Eshtaol. (Zorah (hornet) and Eshtaol (entreaty))
Judges 14:1-2 Samson goes down to Timnah – Timnah is on the boundary between the land of the Israelites and the Philistines. So many of the men of God got in trouble by being too near the boundary – it is as if they are not fully committed. Samson sees a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines and comes home to tell his father and mother that he wants her for a wife.
Remember God’s desire was for his people not to intermarry, but Samson becomes adamant about marrying her. This is a bit of a chink in Samson’s armor – see, when we disobey God it leaves us open for trouble. It is like going into a spiritual battle without the full armor of God. And Samson here is not honoring his parents.
Now, this is interesting to me, Verse 4 But his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD – that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
Here is a perfect example of how God can use our weaknesses to His purposes, to effect exactly what He wants to have happen. If Samson had not had this interest in the Philistine girl, I am certain God would have found another way to move against the Philistines. But God knows us and our weaknesses.
Verse 5-6 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.
Samson walked through a vineyard, killed a lion (corpse and unclean animal). We know that satan is a roaring lion. And he kept this from his father and mother. The Spirit of God worked through Samson to do this deed with a lion. Remember that David also killed a lion when he was a shepherd. I am certain that Samson and David both used this experience to begin to build their faith in how God would work through them. It is also important to realize that if the Spirit of the Lord had not come mightily upon Samson, he could not have overpowered the enemy. It is the Spirit of the LORD that does the work, not us in our own strength, or in our own works.
Samson keeps visiting this girl and then comes back through the vineyard and sees a swarm of bees in the lions carcass v. 8 and he eats it, again not telling his parents verse 9 that he ate honey from the carcass of the lion.
Notice – carcass – is a dead body and he is eating the honey. The bees were in the vineyard making honey from what is around their hive – namely grapes.
Now Samson is starting to step over that line drawn in the sand of sanctification – he will still have his strength, even though he has violated one of the vows of the Nazirites. This can lead to very dangerous thinking – he could think that it did not matter to God, for if it mattered to God he would not have his strength. Also, it is dangerous to think that God works through us BECAUSE of what we do or don’t do.Sanctification does not produce power, what it does is put us in the proper position to have God’s power work through us.
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