Summary: Feelings can be deceiving to the Christian. We have a guide to be sure we know how to do things and we must follow the guide to be certain.
1. Read song "My Favorite Things"
2. Some thins that make me feel good
a. A warm Spring Evening
b. A big dead buck in the field
c. A kiss from my little girls
3. So often that philosophy makes its way into religion and we answer questions with, "I don't think God would…" or "religion for me is better felt than told"
4. Is God little more than a warm spring evening or whiskers on a kitten?
5. In consideration of this question we will consider some Bible characters and the feelings they had in relation to God
6. What is our path to religion? A feeling or a track laid out by our Savior?
TRANSITION: The first character and his feelings is:
A. He did many spectacular things
1. Judges 14:5-9 he killed a lion with his bear hands
a. He was walking to meet a Philistine girl he intended to marry
b. On his way down the hill a young lion came upon him
c. He kills it with nothing in his hands, tears it open like a goat
2. Judges 14:19-20 he kills 30 men all by himself
a. Some men cheated by making his wife tell the answer to his riddle to them
b. He got mad and killed 30 Philistines and took their clothes to pay the bet
3. He caught 300 foxes, tied torches to them and burned Philistine crops
4. He killed 1,000 Philistines who arrested him with a donkey's jawbone
5. Each time he did a spectacular feat "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him"
B. He relied on the Lord's Spirit
1. Delilah asked him three times for the secret of his strength
a. He said if bound by seven fresh un-dried cords he would lose strength
b. He said if bound with brand new ropes and he would be like any man
c. If she would weave seven locks of hair into one he would lose his might
d. Of course he was lying and none of these worked
2. Finally he told her that cutting his hair would cost him his strength
a. She did and the Philistines lay in wait again for him
b. When he awoke he expected to shake free of them again as he had done the previous three times
c. He could not, his strength was gone and they gouged his eyes out
3. Judges 16:20, "But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him"
a. He did not know that the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him
b. His experience was not based on a feeling or he would have known that the Spirit of the Lord departed from him
C. Samson was not operating under the delusion that his relationship with God was better felt than told
TRANSITION: Next look to:
A. In Joshua 5 the attack against Jericho is imminent
1. Joshua was told three times to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid because the Lord was going with him (Joshua 1:1-10)
2. He should have felt the strength of God and the confidence to overcome any obstacle and defeat any foe that may stand against him
3. With the strength of God on his side he could prepare Israel for battle
B. In 5:13 he sees an angel standing between him and Jericho
1. He asks the angel, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?"
2. He did not have a feeling that overwhelmed him with confidence or gave him an indication of what God intended to do
3. As with any human, Joshua had feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty
TRANSITION: Next consider with me:
A. Samuel was dedicated to the Lord as birth as was Samson
1. Hannah prayed with her lips moving making Eli think she was drunk
a. He scolded her for being drunk in the presence of the Lord
b. She showed him that it was not alcohol but her devotion to the Lord in prayer that was behind her actions
c. He sent her on her way offering his blessing to her
2. She did have a son named Samuel
a. She dropped him off at the temple as soon as he was old enough, just weaned
b. He grew up in the temple and did actually receive a special call from God to be a prophet and eventually became a judge and the first good one in a long time (1 Samuel 3)
B. He is a man who would know God in a way many other men would not know God
1. In 1 Samuel 16 Jesse's sons are lined up so that he next king, successor of Saul, could be anointed