Summary: This message deals with the characteristics of Samson’s sad life, and the lessons to be learned from his mistakes.
Samson: Shortsighted And Short-Circuited
Text: Col.3: 1-6; Judges 16: 19, 20
Intro: Samson is one of the more colorful figures of the Bible. As a child in Sunday School, his physical exploits captured my youthful imagination, and filled me with wonder and admiration.
I tended to overlook, or perhaps simply ignore the flaws of this amazing biblical character. Being very thin, and somewhat insecure, the most important thing to me about Samson was that he was both special and strong. At the time, that seemed to be all that mattered to me. I think I probably excused Samson’s misdeeds by blaming them on that mean and wicked hussy, Delilah.
Fortunately, God doesn’t view men from a child’s perspective. God sees men as they really are, not as we would imagine them. As the Scriptures tell us, “…man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Sam.16: 7b). God views a person’s life from the vantage point of His holiness, seeing the evil, as well as the good. God’s piercing sight is unaffected by sentiment or superstar status.
Today, I want us to take a realistic look at the man Samson. Here was a man that was special, yet he was shortsighted and short-circuited, spiritually speaking. He was shortsighted in that he looked only as far as the next fleshly sensation. He was spiritually short-circuited by his sinful indulgence, which cut off the flow of God’s power in his life.
How sad that one so specially equipped for God’s service, had to be sidelined because of sin. However, this is precisely one of the lessons to be learned from Samson’s life. Sin can definitely sideline any servant of God. No amount of special talents and abilities can guarantee success in the Christian life. Only a surrendered and obedient relationship with Christ can do that.
Let’s be careful to heed the lessons found in Samson’s sad life.
Theme: As we examine Samson’s life, we notice:
I. SAMSON’S CONCEPTION
A. The Circumstances Surrounding Samson’s Conception.
1. Israel was backslidden and in bondage.
Judges 13: 1 “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.”
NOTE:  The words “Israel did evil again” seem to stick out in this verse. This was the story of Israel from the very beginning. Their history is replete with an “on again/off again” relationship with God.
 The problem at this point, as it was so many times before, was one of idolatry. In judgment, God had permitted the Philistines to oppress the nation of Israel. But such is the nature of sin in the life of the believer. Sin will always bring into bondage those who yield to it. Sin promises cheer, but delivers chains. Sin promises fulfillment, but delivers failure and fetters.
2. Manoah’s wife was barren.
Judges 13: 2 “And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.”
NOTE:  In these days, a woman’s barrenness was viewed as a sign of God’s disfavor.
 God, in His marvelous wisdom, has a subtle way of getting His point across. It is my belief that God permitted a deliverer to be born to a barren woman not only to show His power, but also to say to Israel, “Look! As a nation, that is your condition as well. You are spiritually barren. You are spiritually unproductive.” However, the Lord, through the birth of Samson, wanted to demonstrate the fact that He was willing to turn barrenness into blessing if Israel was willing to repent and turn back to the Lord.
B. The Courier Who Announced Samson’s Conception.
1. The announcement came via an angel.
Judges 13: 3a “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman…”
NOTE:  During Old Testament times, angels often were dispatched by God to announce the birth of some significant person. This was true of Isaac, John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ.
 It is needful that we take a closer look at the words, “the angel of the Lord.” Often in the Old Testament, these words tip us off to an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. However, in this verse that would be an erroneous assumption. This particular angel’s actions show that this was not the pre-incarnate Christ. Anytime the pre-incarnate Christ was offered worship, He received it. But according to Judges 13: 16, this angel bluntly refused to allow Manoah and his wife to offer a burnt offering unless it was offered to the Lord.
2. This angel made an important announcement.
Judges 13: 3b “…Behold now, thou art barren, and barest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.”