Summary: The key to breaking the cycle of behavior in our life is turning to God in our crisis moment. When we break, He is the only one that can put us back together.
Break the Cycle: Turn Back Now!
Text: Judges 16:20
Bug Idea: Time and again, we find ourselves in the same state of brokenness. The ironic thing is that we are given opportunity after opportunity to turn back before we slide any further. The story of Samson shows us how ignoring red flags leads to trouble.
• Isn’t it funny that our lives are quite often defined not by the great things that we do, but by the dumb choices that we make?
• We’re at the end of our series on Judges, which has driven home the idea of humanity being stuck in cycles of behavior.
• Week after week, we’ve sat here and honestly looked at how we repeat self-destructive choices over and over again.
• I wish I could just tell all of us what the simple solution to this dilemma is, but I can’t.
• I just don’t have the words to describe what we need to do to break out of our destructive behavior.
• Fortunately, and incredibly wise man does. And this morning I want to focus on his truthful and simple teaching.
• And that man’s name is Bob Newhart.
• Let’s watch a video clip…
o Wouldn’t it be great if fixing our issues was that simple?
o For all of the flowery language we use to define and summarize our problems, the answer really is just that simple: STOP IT!
o Now, we could all just agree that this makes sense, pray and call it a day, but that doesn’t seem right, so let’s talk some more.
SAMSON: STRENGTH AND STUPIDITY
• There are certain characters that transcend their medium into popular culture.
• In the book of Judges, we are given one of the most charismatic and renowned people in the entire bible: Samson.
• Samson’s name goes far beyond the biblical narrative.
• He is a symbol of strength, on par with other characters such as Hercules.
• His name evokes images of power and might.
• While the average person may not know the details of his story, the probably know the highlights: he was a big guy with long hair, and on occasion he ripped apart lions and Philistines.
• Rather than gloss over the details, let’s look at a few of them from the Bible itself:
o Samson’s story begins like the rest of the Judges:
• 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. – Judges 13:1
o And there it is again.
o How many times will people do the same thing over and over again with the same stupid results?
o Isn’t that the definition of insanity? When the same people do the same thing but expect different results?
o So, Israel walks away from God yet again, and they find themselves in trouble. Shocking.
o So, God – ever faithful – gives them another savior: a warrior born to a barren woman.
• A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. 3 The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” – Judges 13:2-5
o If the Bible is anything, it is a book built on certain themes.
o Does this sound familiar? An angel appearing to a childless woman promising that she would miraculously give birth to a son who would play a part in God’s grand plan.
o The same story plays out several times in the Bible, with only the names changing: Samson, Samuel, John.
o Samson eventually fulfills his birthright:
• The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, (v. 24)
o How many of you remember that one guy in high school who walked down the halls and stood a foot taller than everyone else? I’m convinced that every school had that same guy, the loud, muscular dude who just owned the entire crowd around him. In my school, his name was Deke. In Philistine controlled Israel 3400 years ago, his name was Samson.
o We don’t know much about Samson during his developmental years, but we know that he eventually developed a sense of entitlement based on his stature.