• SLIDE #1
• Today we are going to take a journey through the life of one of the most interesting Judges of the nation of Israel.
• A judge was someone sent by and commissioned by God to more or less clean up Dodge (Israel) after the nation were deteriorate into a cycle of sin.
• As we take a look at the life of Samson, we will make some observations along the way that we can use in our life to keep from falling into the Samson Syndrome.
• The outline today will serve as benchmarks in the life of Samson.
• Today our message comes from the book of Judges chapters 13-16. You will want to turn there to follow along.
• Let us first begin by a brief examination of the nation of Israel just before the birth of Samson. WHAT WE SEE IS…
• SLIDE #2
I. A nation in trouble.
• The first verse of chapter 13 gives us a sad commentary concerning the nation of Israel.
• SLIDE #3
• Judges 13:1(ESV) 1And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
• Throughout the history of the nation of Israel, they repeated a continual cycle as a nation.
o Sin, Servitude, Sorrow, Salvation
• The salvation would come in the form of a Judge like Samson, one who would deliver the nation from the slavery but after a period of time, the nation would repeat the cycle over and over again.
• It was the time in the cycle where the nation needed another deliverer and this time it was going to be Samson.
• SLIDE #4
II. An ordinary family.
• Samson came from humble origins.
• SLIDE #5
• Judges 13:2(ESV) 2There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children.
• Manoah was the father. Mother unnamed.
• His mother was barren, this was one of the worst things that could happen to a woman in that day.
• Also having sons was more important than daughters because a son could carry on the family name which was important, they could provide valuable “FREE” labor, and since a dowry was not required from a son at marriage, they were cheaper to get rid of one day.
• Well, one day an angel of the Lord comes to Samson’s mother and tells her she is going to have a son and that her son was going to save Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
• Angel tells her that she is not to drink or eat of the fruit of the vine, eat anything unclean, or cut his hair.
• She is told that her son was to a Nazirite. (Numbers 6:2-21 Nazirite vow) WHAT WAS A NAZIRITE?
• Member of a class of individuals especially devoted to God. The Hebrew term means consecration, devotion, and separation.
• Two traditional forms of the Nazirite are found. One was based on a vow by the individual for a specific period; the other was a lifelong devotion following the revelatory experience of a parent which announced the impending birth of a child. SAMSON’S CASE.
o A Nazirite was not to eat or drink from the fruit of the vine. No grape products.
o A Nazirite could not touch anything that would be unclean such as a dead body.
o A Nazirite was to not cut his hair.
• WE know that Samson’s family KNEW what God wanted from them and from Samson, it is stated on three occasions in the short narrative concerning Samson.
• CONCLUSION OF FAMILY.
• SLIDE #6
• Judges 13:24-25(ESV) 24And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Muh’ huh nehh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. (ESH TAIL)
• This is all we know about Samson’s life until we get to one of his weaknesses.
• SLIDE #7
III. The women in Samson’s life.
• Women were one of Samson’s weaknesses, especially foreign women, he had an unhealthy desire for Philistine women, women outside of the nation of Israel.
• The firs women we are introduced to is..
• SLIDE #8
A. The “wife” from Timnah.
• The interesting thing about this first woman in Samson’s life is that God was going to use this relationship to start a fight with the Philistines!
• God was able to use a weakness that Samson had for the benefit of His plan.
• Samson wants this girl and the family objects, they plead with him to find a woman from his own people, but Samson wins out.
• SLIDE #9
• Judges 14:3(ESV) 3But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”
• Something tells me Samson was not a deep thinker when it came to women.
• Goes into Timnah 4 times
• Second trip he kills a lion
• On the return he violates his Nazirite vow by reaching into the dead carcass of the lion to get some honey to eat. He gives some to his parents. He knew that it was wrong because he did not tell them about where and how he got it. Judges 14:8-9.
• Now we have the wedding feast, probably drinking going on, this would violate Samson’s vow again.
• Samson proposed a riddle to some of the Philistines. If hey could figure it out before the end of the seven day wedding feast, Samson would give them 30 linen wraps and 30 changes of clothing. If they could not do it, they would give Samson the same in return. The riddle to the 30 Philistines.
• Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.
• After three days these guys could not figure it out so they resorted to threatening his wife to be on the fourth.
• In verses 15-17 the men went to Samson’s wife to be and told her to get the answer for the riddle from Samson and tell them or they would burn her father’s house down.
• She starts in on Samson and finally on the seventh day Samson tells her the answer and she tells the 30 men.
• SLIDE #10
• Judges 14:18(ESV) 18And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” And he said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle.”
• I do not picture a romantic honeymoon is going to happen! HEIFER!
• Samson fulfills his part of the wager and leaves town before consummating the marriage and the father gives the bride to Samson’s best man.
• Samson later returns only to find that his father-in-law gave his wife to best man. He offers Samson his younger, prettier daughter. This will not do! The war was on!
• Samson catches 300 foxes and ties a torch to their tails and turns them loose in the fields to burn them down.
• The Philistines in turn burn down his wife’s father’s house with his wife and father-in-law in it, kind of ironic way to die.
• Samson ends up killing a thousand Philistines with a jawbone of a donkey.
• Up next…
• SLIDE #11
B. The harlot from Gaza.
• We find this in chapter 16, there is not a lot given about her, BUT she is a harlot. The Philistines catch wind of Samson being there are determine to ambush him there in the morning, but Samson leaves at midnight and pulls the city gates up and plants them on the top of the hill.
• Then we come to the final woman in Samson’s life.
• SLIDE #12
C. The life-changer.
• Samson is about to meet his match, woman #3! Delilah! He falls in love with her.
• The Philistines learn about this new found love and they approach Delilah.
• SLIDE #13
• Judges 16:5(ESV) 5And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”
• She starts in on him, he teases her a couple of times.
• First he says 7 fresh cords will make him weak, then new ropes will make him weak, each time he boldly busts out of the binding when Delilah yells out that the Philistines are coming.
• Then when pressed again, he gets VERY close to the real answer when he tells her to weave the 7 locks of his hair in a web and pin it, but once again, Delilah is not told the truth.
• She presses him harder! Finally the real answer.
• SLIDE #14
• Judges 16:16-17(ESV) 16And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”
• Samson is not too bright!
• SLIDE #15
IV. The demise of Samson.
• Well, you guessed it, Delilah got Samson to fall asleep on her lap, she got a person to come over and cut off his hair.
• She then called out that the Philistines are coming, and Samson was not worried, he surmised that he could take care of business, but not his time.
• The captured Samson, pocked his eyes out and put him on the grinding wheel.
• One day the Philistines were going to have a big party to celebrate their God Dagon, and Samson was brought out to entertain the folks.
• He called out to God one last time. Samson wanted vengeance against the Philistines for the loss of his eyes. God grants the request, Samson asks God to let him die with the Philistines. Samson causes the building to collapse on all who were there, his strength was returning because his hair was growing back.
• The bible tells us that Samson killed more people that day than during the rest of his lifetime, so there we have the end of the 20 year reign of Israel’s final judge Samson.
• SLIDE #16
V. Life-lessons we glean from Samson’s life.
• So what is the Samson Syndrome?
• Samson was given so much by God, he was blessed in so many ways by God, but Samson took God for granted.
• I contend that the Samson Syndrome is when we start to take God for granted. We think that God will get us out of everything no matter how faithlessly we act toward Him.
• I want to read a passage from Judges 16 that exemplifies what I am saying.
• Samson was teasing Delilah, he was getting closer to the truth, and Samson was used to God taking care of him, but listen to what verse 20 says.
• SLIDE #17
• Judges 16:20(ESV) 20And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
• Samson had no CLUE that God had left him! Samson did not take his relationship with god seriously and one day God had enough.
• It was not just about the hair because Samson violated his Nazirite vows on several occasions and God did not leave him.
• Samson ignored the counsel of his family because part of the Samson Syndrome is arrogance. Samson forgot who the REAL source of his strength was.
• Samson life had a tragic tone to it because he forgot who his God was and he took it for granted that God would be there for him no matter how flippantly he took his commitment to God.
• Do not treat your faith with the same lack of awe that Samson did!