Judges 13-16; Judges 13:1-7
“Again, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. 2 Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. 5 For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.’
6 So the woman came and told her husband, saying, ‘A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name. 7 And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'”
Over the past few weeks, we have looked at the way that God brings us victory in the midst of the trials of this life. We began by exploring 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 wherein verse 14 Paul tells us this,
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
Paul tells us that God “always leads us in triumph.” This is the promise we have from the Lord. If He is leading and we follow, we will always be led into Triumph. The Triumph was a procession that was held for returning Generals that had conquered the enemies of Rome. They would be paraded down the center of the city on the way to the capital, where they would be celebrated. The people would be shouting as the General is brought in along with his soldiers and also the spoils of war. It was a spectacle that may only happen once in the life of a General. But Paul tells us that God always leads us in Triumph in Jesus. For us, this could happen over and over again as we follow and obey the Lord.
We looked at several scenarios over the past few weeks, like what if your family is your greatest enemy? We looked at the life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50, and we saw the hatred and jealousy that his brothers had for him; they plotted his murder and eventually sold him into slavery. Over the next 13 years, God brought about a great Triumph in Jesus. Joseph ended up being accused of attempted rape, ended up in prison, and from there went on to be, for all intents and purposes, the Pharaoh of Egypt. He saved his brothers, the very men who wanted him dead, and he provided for them and their children. He came to the conclusion in Genesis 50:20 that they meant what they did for evil, but God meant it for good. Joseph left a legacy for God that lasted 400 years until Exodus 1.
Last week we looked at Job; we explored how God can bring you into Triumph even when Satan is deliberately attacking you. Job, a godly man, one who loved God and shunned evil, was put in Satan’s hands by God to be tested. Satan took his wealth, killed his kids, and then took his health. Later, some friends came by to torture Job with their observations that ‘bad things only happen to bad people.’ They spent a long time beating Job up; they called him a sinner, a liar, full of pride, that his words were just ‘hot air,’ and on we can go. But in chapter 42, God provided an ‘after this’ (Job 42:16). God restored Job’s wealth and health, gave him back 10 kids, and stood up for him to his friends. God gave Job a great Triumph.
Today, we will look at Samson and explore how God brings great Triumph even when we are our own worst enemy; and Samson is a good example of that.
- Samson, a chosen child, Judges 13:1-7
Samson was a chosen child. We find often in the scriptures that a child was or is born with a specific purpose. Here in verse 5, we are told that Samson would begin to deliver the nation of Israel from the Philistines. In Jeremiah 1, we find that this prophet was called from the womb. In the New Testament, we see John the Baptist sent to introduce Jesus to the world, and then Jesus, who was born to take away our sins.
Before we go further, let us clear up an issue that is very prevalent here in Southern Ontario in many Baptist churches; that is the issue of predestination or Calvinism. These are heresies. One of the most important parts of being created in the image of God is that of ‘free will.’ God knew what Samson would do, but He did not make Samson do it. God knew that Jeremiah would be a great prophet, but He did not make Jeremiah do it. Even in Jesus’ case, He chose the cross for us of His own free will.
In John 10:18, Jesus says, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
Again, in Hebrews 12:2, we read this: “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus joyfully bore the cross for you and me. He did it because He wanted to, not because He had to. God does not owe us anything. God does not create some to go to Hell and others for Heaven. The Bible tells us that God is not willing that ‘any should perish.’ If He made some for Hell, then He is willing that many should perish. That is a lie. God knew what Samson would do, so He called him. He knew how Samson would fail, and He still made sure it got into the Cannon of Scriptures so we could learn and grow and trust Him even when we fail. It is always God who brings the Triumph.
- Samson has a problem with women, Judges 14:1-5, 16:1, 4
Samson had an issue with women; he liked a lot of them. More often than not, he liked the wrong kind of women; unsaved Gentile women. There are plenty of saved Gentile women in the Bible, Rahab and Ruth the most famous of them. But Samson had a weakness for women, and one of them, Delilah, was the source of his downfall.
Samson was not the only man of God with women problems. David had 7 or 8 wives, and we are all familiar with the story of Bathsheba. Solomon had 700 wives and many mistresses, and these wives turn him against God in his old age (1 Kings 11:4). Many of us cannot understand how God can call David a ‘man after his own heart.’ If David showed up to most of our churches with his 7 wives, we would not draw the conclusion that he loved God and was a faithful man, used to write a large part of the Psalms. We could not fathom that a man with 700 wives could be used by God to teach on wisdom and even about marriage and intimacy, like in The Song of Solomon.
Yet, God used these men, and their legacy is with us until this day; and the record of what God can do with fallen, broken, and sinful men is eternally written in the Holy Scriptures. It is God who gives the Triumph in all things. Now, I am not advocating that we start marrying multiple wives; what I am saying is that God is greater than our sinful weaknesses.
- Samson liked to live dangerously, Judges 14:4-6, 12-20
Samson liked to pose riddles to the men around him and see if they could figure it out, and this usually ended up in battles where a lot of Philistines died. But it was sport to him. He took that a bit too far with Delilah. He gave her riddle after riddle and eventually the truth. He took it too far and ended up losing big time. Samson forgot that it was the Lord who gave him the strength and not himself.
Sometimes, God allows you to fail to get you back into your right mind. He did not abandon you; He just let you hit the ground. He is there for you and helps you back up, but falling is not failure. Samson failed and paid a serious price for his failure; he was captured, was blinded, and then used as an animal to grind corn or wheat. Oh, how the mighty had fallen, from deliverer to blinded and made fun of.
- Samson’s God still loved him, Judges 16:22, 26-31
Samson was called by the people so they could celebrate the win by their god, Dagon. Little did they know that the true and living God was about to show up. Samson petitioned God one last time for strength. God allowed his hair to grow back, and the Philistines forgot to cut it.
We all know the story; Samson asked a young man to put his hands on the main pillars of the temple of Dagon, and in one last act, Samson killed 3,000 people of the leadership of the Philistines and died in the endeavor. His body was recovered and buried by the Jews, and he was remembered as a great Judge of Israel. But there is more. How did God see him? We are given a view of that in 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.”
God listed Samson among the Hall of Faith and listed him in the same verse as great men like Samuel. Samson was God’s faithful servant; this is the highest title we can receive in the kingdom. God did it; God took a sinful man and made him into a great servant. God did it. God is the one who gives us the Triumph in all things.
Maybe, just like Samson, you and I struggle with fleshly failures and sinfulness, and at times there is a great price to pay for our sinfulness. But God has not abandoned us, and in Him, we can have great victory. We are still talking about Samson thousands of years later, and there is an eternal record of what God did.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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