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Summary: When God gives you a gift, be sure to use it for His course instead of selfishness

Some are born to privilege, w/ many advantages, and can’t seem to succeed, and then others are the opposite, born to nothing, and rise above it all to great success. Samson was an example of the former.

He was born at a special time in Israel’s history. 7 times this nation had rebelled into apostasy. This time it is the Philistines which God used to punish and oppress Israel for 40 years. They were their worst enemy.

Samson means "sunshine." And in the darkest days of his nation’s history, sunshine came into the world.

He was a Nazarite, which means different, separated, or set aside. He was to have no wine or fruit of the vine. He couldn’t come near or touch a dead body, whether animal or human. And he couldn’t cut his hair. Why?

1 Corinthians 11:14

14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

It was an act of humility and self abasement to take this shame upon himself.

Well, Samson had been given great strength of the Lord. On one occasion he slew 1,000 Philistines w/ just the jawbone of a donkey. On another, he lifted the gates of the city up a hill on his shoulders. Then there was the time he was confronted by a wild lion, and destroyed it w/ his bare hands.

What did he look like? Like Schwarzenegger? No. Probably just average. How do we know? Because Delilah asked him the secret of his strength. It wasn’t obvious...It was a supernatural strength.

14:5-6, 15:14-15 In each case the ’Spirit of the Lord came upon him’.

He was not only strong in body, but in mind and spirit. He was sharp witted. He loved riddles and had a great sense of humor. No wonder his name was sunshine...he was a bundle of potential. And yet this is not a happy story, it is a tragedy. He went from hero to zero, from victor to victim. Disobedience, defeat, disgrace, and destruction were his describers.

He was bold before men, but weak before women. He had the Spirit of God upon him, but lived for the appetites of the flesh. He was called upon to declare war upon the enemies of God, but many times we find him fraternizing w/ the enemies of God. He fought the Lord’s battles by day, and broke the Lord’s commandments by night.

Sunshine was his name, which speaks of light, yet he ended his life in darkness having had his eyes poked out. At times he soared to incredible heights, but also sunk to incredible depths.

If you had told Samson at the beginning of his life what he would do in the end, he would not have thought himself capable of going that far.

This reminds us that there are 3 people in your seat right now.

The person you are now, the one you could be for God, and the one you could be for the devil.

Was Samson saved. Yes! Heb. 11 mentions him as a hero of the faith. So, even Samson didn’t lose his salvation. This is where opponents of eternal security say, "So, you are teaching that you can be saved and then do anything you want?" Pretty much, but you can’t choose the consequences. Samson paid a high price for his low living.

1. Samson dishonored his parents.

14:1-3 The first step in his downward journey. He had godly parents who pleaded with him to do right and avoid the unequal yoke of 2 Cor. 6.

ill.--a 3 fold cord is not easily broken [husband/wife/God]. But when God isn’t holding the other 2 together, it is very easy for them to come untwined.

Exodus 20:12

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Samson thumbed his nose at his parents, and died young!

2. Samson deserted his promise.

He took the Nazarite vow.

14:5 ’Down’ is a geographical term, but it has more meaning than that to me. When you run from God...you’re goin’ down! Read the story of Jonah...he went down over and over again until he went God’s way.

’Vineyards’ = he went to a place he wasn’t supposed to be. You say, that’s just a little thing...yes! It’s the little foxes that spoil the vines. It is when we are just flirting w/ sin that the slippery slope takes over.

14:6-9 ’Carcase’ = more disobedience. He keeps violating his vows. He is losing his focus. He is sinning in high gear! And it’s a downward spiral.

Samson reminds me of Lot in Genesis. In the end of the Lot story he is committing incest w/ his daughters, giving birth to wicked nations which still plague the earth today. And yet in the beginning Lot was a Christian who no one thought was capable of such things. How did it start for Lot? He lifted up his eyes toward Sodom. He just looked that direction! Then he headed that direction, pitching his tent so he could look out at it, and eventually he was right there in the gates.

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