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A Superhero Loses His Cape - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
October 5, 2023 6:00 am

A Superhero Loses His Cape - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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October 5, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Skip shares about a real-life superhero who lost his powers, and how God imposed His sovereign will to deliver His people.

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God wanted to use Samson as a mighty deliverer of the people in a different manner, in a long-standing effective manner, but he wouldn't let that happen. Samson wouldn't, so God overruled him.

When God cannot rule over you, he will overrule you. Today on Connect with Skip Hytech, Pastor Skip shares about a real-life superhero who lost his powers and how God imposed his sovereign will to deliver his people. Vision for the future is not a blind leap of faith. This is Pastor Skip reminding you that present vision needs to be informed by God's past faithfulness, his actions in the present, and his promises for the future. That's why we have prepared a special vision package.

Here's more information on this resource. Listen to what the message version of the Bible says about the necessity of a clear vision for the future. If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves, but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.

Vision for your life. That's the theme of our resource package that features five excellent full-length messages by Skip, including six things that will surprise you about heaven and God's purpose for people. Now, here's a comment from Skip Hytech on the topic of purpose.

God has a desire. God has a purpose for you, and one of his purposes for you is that you know him, that he walked with you, that you do life together with him. Do you walk with God?

Is that a concern of yours? Is that a stated goal in your head, in your heart? I want to walk with God. I want to live to please God.

I want to know God. Clear vision for your life. That's the theme of our vision resource package that features five excellent full-length messages by Skip, including six things that will surprise you about heaven and God's purpose for people. You'll want to order our vision resource package for this month, which also features a full-color magazine about the vision that drives Skip's ministry. You'll also receive an audio copy of Skip clearly outlining his philosophy of ministry in the past, present, and future. Receive your vision package when you make a donation of $50 or more to Connect with Skip. Give your gift by calling 1-800-922-1888 or online at connectwithskip.com. That's 1-800-922-1888 or connectwithskip.com.

Let's get started. We're in Judges 14. As Skip begins his message, a superhero loses his cape. So Batman and Robin went camping, and after they cooked their meal and set up their tent, they fell asleep. And in the middle of the night, Batman woke Robin up and he said, Robin, what do you see? And Robin said, well, holy jeepers, Batman. I see lots and lots of stars. And Batman said, and what does that tell you, Robin? Robin said, well, astronomically, it tells me that there are probably millions, if not billions, of stars and potentially billions of other galaxies. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.

Chronologically, I can deduce that it's approximately 3 15 in the morning. Theologically, it shows me that God is very big and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I can deduce that we're going to have a beautiful day tomorrow. And then he said, and what does that tell you, Batman? Batman said, dummy, somebody has stolen our tent.

You know, you can be a superhero and not be super smart. And we're studying in the book of Judges, chapter 14, the superhero of the Old Testament, somebody everyone has heard of. If you've been to Sunday school, everybody knows stories about Samson. His story is found in the four chapters of the book of Judges, chapters 13, 14, 15, and 16.

A full one-fifth of the book is devoted to this judge known as Samson. And Samson really was a complicated person. He was sort of a puzzle, a walking enigma. He was empowered by the Spirit of God, we are told, but he yielded to the appetites of the flesh. He was strong before men. He was strong before men. He was weak before women.

He could conquer the enemies around him, but he could not conquer the biggest enemy inside of him. He's a guy who fought the Lord's battles by day, but disobeyed the Lord's commandments by night. Samson was, what James said, is a double minded man, unstable in all of his ways. Interestingly, the name Samson means sunny, like S-U-N-N-Y, sunny, brightness, or bright one.

I'm sure he brought lots of joy and laughter into his parents' home, and they, here comes Sonny. But what's ironic about that is he dies unable to see anything. He is blinded by the enemy in his camp as he takes his life, along with that of the Philistines, a blind slave. Something else you should know about him before we can even get into the text, he is found in Hebrews 11.

You know the Hall of Faith, that chapter of faith in Hebrews 11? He is named in a sentence among a host of others as being a person of faith from the Old Testament. But I want to say, though he was a man of faith, he was not a faithful man. He was not faithful to his parents, he was not faithful to his vows, he was not faithful to his God. Yet God did use him in a strange kind of a way.

You'll see part of it. We don't have time to look at all of these chapters, but we're going to look at chapter 14, so I want to give you the setting. The setting is that the Philistines have occupied the land. Now I know that you've heard of the Philistines, let me just tell you who they were. Philistines were people from Greece, the Aegean Sea region, who in 1200 BC decided to leave where they were and migrate to the southern Mediterranean climate. So they attacked Egypt in 1200 BC, that didn't go very well. So they were forced northward and they settled along the coast of Israel. So they became for hundreds of years perpetual enemies to the children of Israel, and they occupied five cities principally.

Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Gath, and Ekron were all stronghold cities of the Philistines, so God will raise up judges, that's what the book of Judges is about, to push them away and to take them out. And one of the principal ones is a guy by the name of Samson. Now Samson is unsuccessful.

He makes a little dent in the problem, but does not fix the problem, or he doesn't reach the potential that God had for him as a deliverer. And I want you to see why that is. Let's see how he crashed and burned. Samson took five steps downward, and I want you to look at them with me in chapter 14. But let me say before we jump in, that some of you may be taking one or more of these steps.

Any one of them is bad, all of them together will, I can guarantee you, cause failure. So let's look at the first downward step that he took. He disrespected his parents. Verse 1, Judges 14. Now Samson went down to Timnah, and he saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. So he went up and told his father and mother, saying, I've seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines, now therefore get her for me as a wife. And his father and mother said to him, is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said to his father, get her for me, for she pleases me well. Now you need to know that Samson did have a godly heritage. It was by divine revelation to his parents that he would be born, and when he was born, he was raised to honor God. His parents dedicated him to God with a special vow called the vow of a Nazarite. That might ring a bell to some of you if you know the Old Testament in the book of Numbers chapter 6. There was a special vow of holiness or vow of dedication consecration called the vow of a Nazarite. As soon as Samson was born, the last verse of chapter 13 of Judges says, the Lord blessed him.

I always like to read that. The Lord blessed him, and the spirit of the Lord began to move upon him. But as soon as we get to the very next chapter, which is the initial stages of his public life, his first public act is to go to the wrong place and look for the wrong person. He goes down to Timna, about four miles from where he was from. Timna is in Philistine country, and he went down there, and of course he's speaking geographically, topographically he went down, but I also see this as a spiritual reference point. As soon as he's out of the shoot, his life goes south.

He goes down to Timna, and of course when you hang out in the wrong places, you usually hook up with the wrong people. And so it says that he saw a woman of the Philistines, and he looked at that beautiful Philistine chick, and he thought, man, love at first sight. I gotta have her as my wife. Hadn't even spoken to her yet. According to the custom of those days, he went to his father and said, I like her.

Get her for me as a wife. So what this really was, was not love at first sight. This was lust at first sight. He is living through his eyeballs. He is going completely by his senses, which by the way, in our culture we have taught men the same thing. Whether it's by the beautiful models in magazines that display a product, or it's by mannequins in a store.

Who on earth could fit into the clothes a mannequin wears? Amen, she said. We are teaching young men to look for women that do not exist, or that have a special meal need if they do exist. I mean, these are values that we instill in young men so that I speak to guys all the time about what they want in a wife.

And it's like, well, I don't want much. She just has to have the IQ of Albert Einstein. She has to be a supermodel and an Olympic athlete, that's all. And my first question is, why on earth would she ever be interested in you? But his parents thought, you know what? Don't marry that girl.

Marry one of your own girl, a good Jewish girl. Now, why would dad say that? Why would mom and dad? Are they just stupid? Are they just so narrow-minded? They don't understand this is real love.

They don't get it. Probably those thoughts were going through Samson's mind. But the reason they said this is because they knew their Bibles. They knew Deuteronomy 7. They knew Exodus chapter 34, where God said, when you go into the land that you are going into, that I'm bringing you into, do not intermarry the people of that land. Don't give your daughters to their sons. Don't take their daughters for your sons, because God said, those daughters will turn the hearts of your sons away from me. Don't marry an unbeliever. The unbeliever will steer you away from God. But can you hear the impudence in his voice?

She pleases me well, get her for me. I mean, that's just sassy. If I spoke like that, my mom would have washed my mouth out with soap, and she did that a few times, literally. He is just rude in his response to his father. It says in Proverbs chapter 30, verse 11, there is a generation that curses their fathers and does not bless their mothers. Samson was of that generation. I was impressed the first time I went to the South, and I saw how they are taught manners in the South.

It was a whole new level. I'm a Californian, so the best you get when you come into a room to a Californian is like, hey, sup? You know, it's like, yeah, I acknowledge that you live, but that's about it.

Not in the South. They stand up when a woman enters the room. They say, yes, sir, no, sir, yes, ma'am, no, ma'am. It was culture shock to me. I was impressed.

It was culture shock to me, and I thought, boy, I like that. It's a whole nice and new level of respect. Well, Samson didn't know those kind of manners. But notice something in verse four.

There's a footnote. It says, but his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, that he was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines, for at that time, the Philistines had dominion over Israel. Now, I have to explain what that means. That doesn't mean you can live any way you want, make any choice you want, and God will cover you. It does mean that when you don't allow God to rule over you, God may have to overrule you.

That's what it means. So God wanted to use Samson as a mighty deliverer of the people in a different manner, in a longstanding, effective manner, but He wouldn't let that happen. Samson wouldn't. So God overruled him. When God cannot rule over you, He will overrule you.

As Warren Wiersbe put it, God will accomplish His purposes either with us or in spite of us. And it was the latter that God did with him. So he disrespects his parents.

That's the first step downward. The second is he disregarded his God, verse five. So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother.

They're going to make the marriage plans now. And they came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him, and a spirit of the Lord came mildly upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman.

First record that he's even talking to this gal he's in love with. And she pleased Samson well. After some time, when he returned to get her, he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the carcass of the lion. He took some of it in his hands, and he went along eating. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they also ate. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion. So he's traveling down to Timnah with mom and dad, and evidently he leaves the main road and goes through a vineyard without them. A lion attacks them, and you know the story.

Here's the question. What's a Nazarite doing in a vineyard? Now I want to refresh your memory.

A Nazarite vow, which Samson took, involved three things. Number one, you don't cut your hair. You let it grow. So they were like the original hippies. But with a purpose. The idea of the long hair was a sign of humiliation.

That's number one. Number two, a Nazarite wasn't allowed to touch a corpse because they would become defiled. So even if a relative died, they couldn't be around a corpse, which means they wouldn't have participation in the funeral of even a parent.

So it was quite a vow to take, quite a sacrifice to make. Third, a Nazarite could drink no intoxicating drink at all. No wine, no intoxicating drink, could eat no grapes, could eat no raisins at all.

Nothing from the fruit of the vine. It's just interesting to note that he is walking through a vineyard. It's dangerous for Nazarites to even walk through the vineyard because you're just kind of placing yourself in a temptable position to break your vow and eat some grapes. Maybe not a big deal, but to a Nazarite it is.

Now the principle I find is one that I see. Some Christians will ask questions like, hey can I do that and still be a Christian? Is it okay if I get involved in this and still be a Christian? It's like, wrong line of questioning. It's not like how far up to the edge can I get.

It's not like how far up to the edge can I get. But some believers will sail their ships so close to the lake of fire that their sails get singed. You don't want to live that way. Samson is living that way. According to verse 9, on his way back, he takes honey from a lion's corpse. Now again, I remind you of the vow that he's taken. He is a Nazarite and one of the things Nazarites can do is touch a corpse. So reaching in and grabbing honey from a corpse of a lion is something that will break his vow. He's becoming defiled. Now he's ceremonially defiled. He's already relationally defiled, disrespecting his parents. He's already morally defiled because all he's thinking about is what he can see with his eyes and looking at a Philistine chick because she's pretty.

Now he's ceremonially unclean. All of that to say, here's a Nazarite who is not taking his vows very seriously and there's a good reason for that. It's because they're not important to him. They're just not that important to him.

Maybe at one time they were, but they're not now. I meet people all the time who will say, oh, I used to go to your church. In fact, you dedicated me when I was a baby and I always ask, did it work?

What do you mean did it work? I mean, are you still dedicated to the Lord? Are you following? Well, you know, I've had a few setbacks. I go to church twice a year, Easter and Christmas.

I'm there, count on me. And you see, whatever past experience you've had, whatever past expression of faith you have made, it's all invalid unless it's translated into the present experience. Jesus said, many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? Have we not cast out demons in your name? Have we not done wonderful things in your name?

And I will declare to them, I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness. The problem that Samson had with women was really a problem Samson had with God. God wasn't first in his life. God wasn't supreme in his life. The Bible has a word for that. It's called idolatry.

Anything or anyone that replaces supreme devotion to God is an idol. So I know that God is your God by creation. You're here.

You're alive. He created you. I know that for many of you, God is your God by redemption.

He saved you. My question is, is God your God by devotion? Are you devoted to him? Well, I've been dedicated to God.

Great. Are you devoted to him now? Samson was not. He disregarded his God. Let's look at the third step he takes.

He's going downhill with every step. He distanced his friends. He distanced his friends. In verse 10, now we're going to look at two verses and as we read them, I want you to notice what is there and what's not there. Verse 10, so his father went down to the woman and Samson gave a feast there for young men used to do so. And it happened when they saw him that they brought 30 companions to be with him.

Now notice what's there. First of all, there's a feast. And the word for feast, the Hebrew word in the text for feast is a drinking feast.

Okay, so once again, he's taken the vow of a, a vow of a Nazarite. Nazarites don't drink intoxicating drink. This dude's having a beer bash. It's a bachelor party. Yes, young men used to do so, but not Nazarite young men.

Not this young man. So this Nazarite has a drinking party and intoxicating beverages would certainly be a part of that. And notice his dad is with him. Now I don't know why his dad is with him, but I notice it is, it is in the text so I deal with it. One commentator says perhaps his father was there to reach out to his son in one sort of last attempt to stop a marriage that he couldn't sanction. This is just a way to say, please son, don't, don't do this. So that's what's there.

What I want you to see is what's not there. There are 30 Philistine men in the groom's party that he doesn't even know. They give him 30 dudes off the street to be part of the wedding party. If he doesn't know her, he certainly doesn't know them, but they just bring them in.

Here's my question. Where are his friends? Where are Samson's friends? Why didn't he bring his own?

Now listen carefully. In Jewish weddings there was a group of men called the friends of the bridegroom. Jesus even mentions it in Matthew 9, the friends of the bridegroom. Where are the friends of this bridegroom? It suggests to me that Samson didn't bring any of his friends.

They had to round up 30 Philistines to be his new best friends for his own wedding. That's Skip Heitig with a message from his series Crash and Burn. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now here's Skip with an invitation for you to join he and Lenya Heitig on a Holy Land tour next year. Hey, our 2024 Israel tour is coming up.

This is Pastor Skip and we still have space on this trip that Lenya and I are hosting. We will be touring Israel from May 1st through May 12th. I hope that you'll join us firsthand to see some incredible sites like the Sea of Galilee.

I'm sure you've always wanted to see that. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Garden Tomb, the place many people believe is where Jesus rose from the dead. The final deadline for registration is December 31st so there's still time to take action and join Lenya and I for the trip of a lifetime. Find full Israel information at connectwithskip.com. We'd love to partner with you to help share God's life-changing truth with more people around the world through Connect with Skip Heitig. You can play a vital role in this work today with a gift to support this life-changing ministry.

This year Pastor Skip wants to expand the reach of the ministry into all major U.S. cities. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give generously and share God's love with others. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for changing lives. Join us again tomorrow for the conclusion to Skip's message and to discover how true friends can help keep you in check. Connect with Skip Heitig is a presentation of Connection Communications connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-05 07:18:14 / 2023-10-05 07:27:51 / 10

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