Read Judges 13-16 as background for the message.
The children of Israel constantly repeated their cycle of doing well then doing evil. They did not learn from past experiences of judgement. We’re not a lot different today. How quickly we forget about the goodness of God. Israel spent 40 years in bondage to Philistines. God raised up Samuel as the judge. He had a lot of things going for him. He was handsome. He was a strong man, probably more so than any other person. He killed a lion with his bare hands and 1,000 Philistines. When the Spirit of God came upon him he was able to accomplish these things. He came from a good home as the son of a supernatural birth. He was under a Nazarite vow which meant he could have no wine or strong drink, no unclean foods, and could never cut his hair. God had a plan for him. God has a plan for each of us. While he had a lot going for him, he had some problems. One was parental. By the Law and the culture he should marry a woman of Israel chosen by his parents. Yet he married a Philistine woman. He also had a weak moral character. So I want us to look at some truths to learn from Samson.
Constant exposure to temptation naturally leads to sin. Samson was constantly around the Philistines. We rarely see him around Israelites. It’s better to be around church people and not a worldly crowd. Peter followed Jesus afar off after his arrest. When you follow from afar, you’re headed for trouble. He got close to the wrong fire, with the wrong crowd around him. He swore, cursed and denied knowing the Lord. We can all be as close to the Lord as we want to be. We’ll be influenced when we run with the evil crowd.
The Lord’s work should be done in the power of the Lord. Several passages in Judges say of Samson And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him. He performed great physical acts when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. We might try many different approaches, music, and programs. They are not all bad. But the greatest need in our churches today is the power of God.
Severe chastisement always follows great sin. Samson’s chastisement was severe. But note these things about the chastisement of God. He doesn’t punish when he’s angry. His chastisement is always just and it’s always done in love. The Bible tells us that chastisement reveals our sonship by stating without it we are not children of God. Hebrews 12:11 tells us that it’s for our good even when it’s hard. It gets us where we need to be. It’s for our cleansing and can be gentle or severe. When there’s the gentle nudge to repent and you do, it’s gone, forgotten. That’s gentle. In Samson’s case, his eyes were put out. He was paraded for sport. This is severe. Extreme chastisement is to remove us to be dealt with at the judgement.
God is patient, but it can and will eventually run out. It did on Samson and it can on us. Don’t make God go to extreme measures. Respond to him today.