Living Scary Or Living Hairy?
We have been talking about and examining the 4 chapter account of the The Strongman! An Old Testament Superman like individual who had great moments of strength and greater moments of weakness. Otherworldly strong and ironically real world weak.
In Week 1 we learned that:
• God used The Strongman but didn't change The Strongman. Samson settled for outward demonstration but resisted and failed to submit to inward transformation.
• The Strongman loved himself more than anyone else. He would constantly use his gift for his own good, benefit and pleasure although he was called to use his gift for the greater good.
In Week 2 we discussed "The Demands of Deliverance." We said:
• Too many of us are back at things that we should be walking away from.
• We may be overlooked by man but the least likely are the likely least because God chooses people that can't take the credit.
• Deliverance always comes with demands. It is our character that produces our clout. Our separation that generates our strength and our purity produces our power. We must live a delivered lifestyle if we want to produce deliverance.
Last week we talked about The Details of Destruction. We said:
• We are destroyed by the dittos of our life. The cycles that we refuse/fail to recognize are those that destroy us. Too many of us just keep reliving the same moments simply separated by years. Preferring the prohibited and allowing those things to constantly resurface until they produce destruction.
• We must understand that delayed destruction is still destruction. Just because it doesn't seem painful now. Just because we don't pay the price at this moment the end result is still the same!
Judges 16:16-21, 28-30
She kept at it day after day, nagging and tormenting him. Finally, he was fed up—he couldn’t take another minute of it. He spilled it. He told her, “A razor has never touched my head. I’ve been God’s Nazirite from conception. If I were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would be as helpless as any other mortal.” When Delilah realized that he had told her his secret, she sent for the Philistine tyrants, telling them, “Come quickly—this time he’s told me the truth.” They came, bringing the bribe money. When she got him to sleep, his head on her lap, she motioned to a man to cut off the seven braids of his hair. Immediately he began to grow weak. His strength drained from him. Then she said, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He woke up, thinking, “I’ll go out, like always, and shake free.” He didn’t realize that God had abandoned him. The Philistines grabbed him, gouged out his eyes, and took him down to Gaza. They shackled him in irons and put him to the work of grinding in the prison. But his hair, though cut off, began to grow again.
Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.
The account of The Strongman reveals that there are two ways to live life . . . scary or hairy! Let me see if I can explain.
a. The Strongman teaches us about Hell!
The Strongman teaches us that you can live life scary. This account contains one of the scariest statements contained in the entirety of Scripture. Scarier than floods, plagues, or even end time prophecies. That statement is . . . He woke up, thinking, “I’ll go out, like always, and shake free.” He didn’t realize that God had abandoned him.
What a terrifying thought. That you can be in tune, anointed by, accompanied by God one moment and then God can abandon you because of your own choices and you can continue to live and go through the motions of life as if nothing has changed!
See the ego in that statement. The full fruit of pride. I can live any way I want to, I can cross any line, I can adopt any lifestyle and when I need God He will be there. We overestimate our own ability and underestimate the depth of our own sin! So overestimating of your own abilities, power, and strength that you confuse God with you. The Strongman was playing God rather than relying on God. His rebellion was rampant . . . Delilah means "The Weakening or Debilitating One! He even ignored the warning of her name! He refused to respond to the Spirit's leading and then he failed to recognize the Spirit's leaving!
The scariest moment in Scripture. No sensitivity to Spirit. No awareness of the absence of God. In fact, I would declare to you that the absence of God is in fact the very literal definition of Hell. Samson was in Hell and didn't even know it until it was too late.
How many of us are going out, like always, thinking that we are living free, living delivered, living anointed and in fact, we are in the Hell of abandonment and the Hell of no God presence? And we don't even recognize it!
How many of us have turned our lives over to our business.? How many of us have become so ensnared with the activity of our children? How many of us become so captured by things? We never realize that we have in fact walked away from relationship with God, time with God, and we shake ourselves expecting the hand of God only to discover the back of God! In Samson's case it seems to have happened in one fatal haircut. However, the truth is that The Strongman, just like us, walks away daily, gradually, in a progression that leads him to this scary moment!
What a terrifying thought to wake up and find out God is gone! Your enemy still remains, your enemy is still on the attack, your enemy is breathing down your neck and no God. No shield. No fortress. No defense. Hell!
You had better check yourself before your wreck yourself! You can become the prize in the devil's parade!
Is God with you? Is God gone? Have you slowly walked away? Is His power operating through you, is the encounter of His presence, is the joy of your salvation just a distant memory?
b. The Strongman teaches us about Hope!
Although the account of The Strongman contains one of the scariest statements it also contains of the most hope filled statements. The hair began to grow back! What has been lost can be found again. What has been thrown away, sinned away, can come back again. That is the assignment of Jesus:
1. The enemy blinds and Jesus specializes in bringing sight back.
2. The enemy binds us. Jesus sets the captives free!
3. The enemy banishes - they take Samson on a 15 hour journey away from his home. Jesus brings you back home!
We shake our finger and our head at Samson's stupidity. His excess causes us to question his intelligence. He seemed to risk so much for so little. We take him off the pedestal because of his lust. And we should. However, at the same time this story is not just a story about Samson it is a story about God! It is a story of hope. It is a hairy story! The hair can and does grow back! Just because you have made mistakes doesn't mean your life has to end in destruction or defeat! Just because you have made huge, life altering, family effecting, future effecting mistakes doesn't mean that you can write God out of the equation. His hair began to grow back! And not only did Samson remember God (which is where it starts) but God remembers Samson.
Notice if you will Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11 is the "Hall of Heroes". Hebrews 11 is the list of "Faith's Favorites!" It is the "Who's Who" of greatness. Noah, Abraham, Moses the greatest of the great. The all time best. But keep reading!
Hebrews 11:1-2, 32-34
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.
What? How did a man like Samson get in the list? How did the one who lived so far below the vows he had been instructed to keep, lived so far below his potential, had squandered his gift with selfishness, get into such elite company? How does Samson get to rub shoulders with guys like David and Samuel?
How? He lived his last few days hairy! He experienced what we can experience. In spite of our own brokenness, flaws, failures, stupidity, sickness we too can see things turn things around. We too can see victory snatched out of the jaws of defeat. How? We live hairy. How do you live hairy . . . you can't do that on your own. Your own power, your own goodness, your own strength and will power will fall short every time. No, instead your must embrace Grace!! You must remember God so He will remember you. You must assume the posture that Samson assumed. God I have messed up. God I have made a fool of myself. God I have hurt those around me. God I have thrown away years. God I have injured my kids and my spouse. But God now . . . while I don't deserve it, can't earn it, and wouldn't blame you if you didn't could you please remember me?
There are many of us in this room that have had or need to have a "One more time" moment! I know you have fallen, but one more time. I know you walked out but one more time! I know you blew it, but one more time. I know you came up short in your eyes and in the eyes of others but one more time. I know you have messed everything up but one more time. Your hair can grow again! You can be used by God again. You can win victories again. You can be strong again. Take courage this morning. You can push again. You can topple the strongholds again.
Hear the promise of Psalms 89:30-34 let it seep into soul:
But if his descendants forsake my instructions and fail to obey my regulations, if they do not obey my decrees and fail to keep my commands, then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their disobedience with beating. But I will never stop loving him nor fail to keep my promise to him. No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said.
You can live hairy again. The lost promises restored. The forfeited future regained. The relationship repaired. The Strongman brings hope to those who are bald now . . . your hair can grow again!
Are you living scary?
Have you walked away from God and expect Him to show up? Is God with you?
Do you have hope?
In spite of what you have lost hear me, hear The Strongman . . . Your hair can grow back!