3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: Judges, Pt. 3


Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asked an assistant to prepare an analysis on a special assignment. The assistant worked day and night. An hour after he gave it to Kissinger, he got it back. There was a note attached that said redo it.

The assistant stayed up all night redoing the report. Again he submitted the report but again Kissinger asked him to redo it.

After redoing the report three times, the exasperated assistant asked to see Kissinger. He pleaded his case to Kissinger, counted his attempts at revision, and said, “Besides, I’ve done the best I can do.” Kissinger replied, “In that case, I’ll read it now.” (Adapted, Speaker’s Library of Business, 110)

Samson was the most gifted, the most powerful and the most feared judge and warrior that Israel ever had, but he failed to claim his spiritual heritage and to give God his best, squandering much of what he had, only to redeem himself at the very last minute. The last war that took place during the era of the Judges was an ongoing war with the Philistines. Time and again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years (Judg 13:1), which was the longest duration of suffering in the land, before Samson appeared on the scene.

What does God expect His servants to do with all that He has given them - all the talents, gifts and opportunities? How do we make His gift and trust count?

Live Life with Dignity and Decency.

16:1 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. 2 The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.” 3 But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron. 4 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. (Judg 14:1-4)

1988 was a disaster waiting to happen for evangelical Christianity. Two of the biggest TV evangelists - Jimmy Baker and Jimmy Swaggart - had a very ugly, public fallout that reverberated for years. They were Christianity’s media darlings, biggest fundraisers and the most charismatic, powerful and visible stars at that time. First, Jim Bakker made a stunning announcement that he was stepping down as head of PTL and Heritage USA in anticipation of a newspaper’s revelation of a tryst Bakker had with a church secretary. America’s first televangelist paid some $265,000 to cover up the affair in vain. Later he was convicted of misspending millions of followers’ dollars. Rival preacher Jimmy Swaggart called the Bakker scandal a cancer.

Next to fall was Jimmy Swaggart, the Pentecostal preacher who preached to 7,000 weekly in his congregation. A short three months after Bakker’s fall, Swaggart was photographed entering and leaving a New Orleans motel where, it was later divulged that he had hired a prostitute to pose nude for him. The woman who later posed for Penthouse magazine said of Swaggart, “He was kind of perverted...I wouldn’t want him around my children.” Two years later Swaggart was stopped by the police in California, again with a prostitute in his car.

The Chinese have a saying, “A hero has difficulty overcoming a woman’s beauty.”

Samson had no problem resisting power, fame or money; sex, lust and temptation fell him. He lived a life of decadence, excess and indulgence. In private and public, he was promiscuous, vulgar and depraved. He was the master of men but the slave of women. Samson the judge was an undefeated challenger with Philistine men but a pussy cat with their women. He had robust physical strength but fatal moral weaknesses.

Samson’s steps took him to sleazy places, dirty beds and narrow, crooked and run-down streets, where a fast buck would buy him a cheap thrill and a night’s rest. Worse, he had no sense of decency, guilt or shame. He did not even wear a hat, a wig or a cloak to conceal his identity or cover his tracks. The leader of Israel did not know, wonder or care if others knew. Discretion, propriety and secrecy did not cross his mind and were not his concern. He was a man of low morals, bad taste and poor choices. Samson had an insatiable fondness for Philistine ladies. His dead wife was a Philistine. He visited a prostitute in the Philistine city of Gaza, and he fell in love with Delilah who was probably a Philistine.

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