Summary: Last message (17) in our Judges Series. This message focuses on the life of Samson.
Judges Series #18 - Samson
God Empowers the Rebellious
Today we conclude our journey through Judges with the final judge and cycle. Three common principles repeat throughout the book. Sin and failure to serve God alone brings bondage and discipline. God restores / delivers the repentant. God uses the seemingly improbable to bring about the impossible. Or God uses the most unlikely to deliver the unworthy.
Today we interact with the account of Samson; one born with every heavenly advantage but pursued every earthly vice. Not only does Israel’s story illustrate our five elements but the very life of Samson graphically illustrates also them.
God called and blessed Israel.
God called and blessed Samson.
Israel rebelled against God’s rule and engaged in fleshly pursuits.
Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, so that the LORD gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. Judges 13:1 (NASB)
Samson rebelled against God’s rule and engaged in fleshly pursuits.
God sold Israel into bondage.
God sold Samson into bondage.
Israel cried out for deliverance (except in this case Israel does not cry out for deliverance).
Samson cried for God’s help.
God granted Israel deliverance.
God granted Samson deliverance in an unexpected way.
There is not period of rest or service mentioned.
The events of Samson’s life can be organized into three periods.
A supernatural beginning
A self-indulgent life
A sorrowful premature end
The account of Samson’s life covers a significant amount of territory so I will mostly summarize the events and urge you to go back and actually read the whole account.
I. A Supernatural Beginning
A. The Angel of the Lord appeared to a childless woman in Dan
There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. 13:2
Not sure why only Samson’s father is mentioned. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife.
Then the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines." Judges 13:3-5 (NASB)
Interesting prophecy -- “begin to deliver”. In reality the Philistines troubled Israel right up to King David’s rule. Is also interesting how many leaders were born to barren women.
Sarah, Hannah, Rachael, Elizabeth, Mary.
The Nazirite vow (Found in Number 6) consisted of three basic elements.
1. Never touch a dead body.
2. Abstain from anything associated with the grape.
3. Throw away your razor
The vow could include time limits. Samson’s vow was to be for a life time.
B. Manoah’s wife related the experience with Manoah
C. Manoah asked the Lord for an audience with the Angel.
D. The Angel of the Lord reappeared
E. The Angel confirmed His true identity
This incident reinforced the true identity of the one who had been speaking with them.
This was no ordinary angel and they too perceive they had been in God’s presence.
Now the angel of the LORD did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. Judges 13:21 (NASB)
So Manoah said to his wife, "We will surely die, for we have seen God." But his wife said to him, "If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time." Judges 13:22-23 (NASB)
F. Samson was born
God blessed Samson early on and His Spirit came on him early on. The sin and subsequent slavery cycle actually was a carryover from Jephthah’s time. Israel never really found deliverance. Jephthah dealt a blow to the Ammonites but the Philistine control carried over to Samson’s day. Rather than crying out to God for deliverance, Israel compromised and adapted to their servitude. God, out of mercy, arranged for relief not because the Israelites repented but because He intended to judge the Philistines. The chosen instrument of judgment stumbled right out of the starting gates. Samson is the poster child for the double minded man unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8, 4:8) He tried to serve both God and self. He attempted to do God’s work and satisfy himself at the same time. The reality seems more that he concerned himself with his own things rather than God. Breaking the Philistine oppression was only a side benefit of pursuing his own agenda.