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Samson – Strong, Shallow, Self-willed (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 19, 2021 6:00 am

Samson – Strong, Shallow, Self-willed (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 19, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Book of Judges (Judges 14)

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And even under the Jewish dispensation of the law, it still was in place. And if we lose sight of this, one or two things I think are likely to happen at some point. One, you'll beat yourself up too hard and Satan will take advantage of you.

And he will make you feel so low and miserable you won't do anything for the king. The other is that if we don't want to become careless, we want to understand that it costs the Lord to bring this grace to us that we enjoy so much. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Rick is currently teaching through the book of Judges.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Today's message is called Samson Strong, Shallow, Self-willed. And Pastor Rick will be teaching in Judges chapter 14. Verse 4 now, But his father and mother did not know that it was of Yahweh, that he was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines, for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. That's a powerful, it's packed, this verse is packed with information. Mom and Dad did not know that Yahweh was going to make a move through this, not that he was sanctioning this, not at all.

God works with the resources he has. The sin of Samson was not of the Lord, the deliverance was of the Lord through Samson in spite of Samson. That is the message. And it is the Lord that's going to seek occasion because the Philistines had dominion over Israel. What's so powerful about that little phrase is it sounds like they're just, you know, well you pay taxes to us and that's that.

No, they were brutal. I mean they're going to threaten Samson's wife that he meets here in Timna, that he's his betrothed wife at least. They're going to say, if you don't tell us the riddle, we're going to burn you and your dad alive, your whole family. So that's the Bible saying, don't lose sight of who these people are.

They're not people who are just going to, you know, I'm not going to shop at your supermarket anymore. They're going to kill you in a horrific way if you don't give them their way. So God did not put the urge in Samson's heart for what was wrong, he simply used it. And throughout scripture, in its language, God has frequently said to do that which he permits. This is the whole thing with Pharaoh.

Pharaoh hardened Pharaoh's heart. God ratified that and used it, worked with it, to deliver his people. You will not be able to charge God with wrong. And you cannot say what we say is wrong for another person to do, you know, you can't say, well, it's despicable that you would lie to me. But it's okay for God to lie to me.

You can't do that. If it's despicable for someone to lie to you, then God's not going to lie to you. He doesn't, he's not afraid of us, and so he's God. The unbeliever does not know what that means. It's up for us to kind of lay that out for them. We understand how encompassing that one title is, God.

All-knowing, omniscient, self-existent, loving, merciful. He put blood on his love. Well, someone had to begin to serve the Philistines damage because if they continued at the pace evidently, if they continued at the pace of growth and dominance that they now had, they may have pushed the promise of the people of the promised land out of the promised land.

They may have pushed the Jews out. So God is beginning his work through Samson and looking back over the many dead Philistines over the 20 years of Samson's life and you get the sense that, you know, God did know what he was doing. Even though Samson did the wrong thing, God stayed the course and said, well, what was God supposed to do? Again, strike him dead and try to find another guy?

That would not do. Then what if that guy messed up? So God says, I'm going to keep Samson and I'm going to use him nonetheless. I should add, though he was reckless and careless, we have no evidence of him being an idolater.

That is very great relief. So at the time no one had a knowledge that this was going on. Judges 15 verse 20, and he judged Israel 20 years in the days of the Philistines. So he had a long reign.

We're not getting all of it in these four chapters, but we are getting the hard stuff. He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. Again, not an approval, but God adapting to, okay, if Samson's going to go this way, then I'm going to have to do this with him nonetheless. And he often does this. When God is not permitted to rule, he will overrule.

When he is determined to have what he wants accomplished. And God's will was that the judge move against the Philistines and not marry them. That would have ruined the work if Samson was allowed to consummate the marriage. And so God sees the occasion, accomplishes his objective, and Samson in his mind, well, you know, I can, he's going to get to a place where, you know, I can deal with the Philistines anytime I want to, but I want this woman now. And because of this event, Samson will go on to kill 30, I believe, troops of the Philistines. I'll bring that out when we get there. He'll burn up their crops.

That will inflict economic damage on them, you know, the whole foxtail thing. He slaughtered a great number of them, we're told in chapter 15. The number's not given. He's still a thousand men one day at one time in one battle with one jawbone of a donkey. And then on his way out at his death, he killed over a thousand more, he did so much damage at that last day, especially by taking out the leadership, that this one man who didn't need an army made such an impact on the Philistines that it did begin the processes of deliverance and bring relief to the people. And though he was wrong, God was with him. Psalm 19, who can understand his errors? Not God's, of course, he has none. Speaking of the individual, who can understand, can you understand your errors? Sometimes you say, God, I'm so messed up in my head, can you help me out? And the psalmist says, cleanse me from secret faults.

Well, secrets to who? God? No. Me? Maybe. Others? Often. Man, what if people could read your mind?

Some of you, you would just constantly be sending a single gummy bears, gummy bears, or some other treat. Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins. The church needs to learn that. Don't presume on God.

Well, he's got to be in this. What are you basing this conviction off of? Is it conviction or is it because you really want it? Let them not have dominion over me, then I shall be blameless and I shall be innocent of great transgressions. So he says, you know, who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from my secret faults. Keep me back from presumptuous sins and I'll be blameless. It's a beautiful prayer. Too bad Samson did not have it.

He says, get her for me, for she pleases me well. There's a spoiled part. Spoiled. It's a behavioral problem from being overindulged by parents is one definition from one dictionary.

A behavioral problem from being overindulged by parents. Or at that time, the Philistines had dominion over Israel for 40 years. We read that in Judges chapter 13 verse 1. Now verse 5, so Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother and came to the vineyards of Timnah.

Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. Well, mom and dad are going with him to the Philistine neighborhood to negotiate the marriage transaction. Marriages in those days in that part of the world were much like a business transaction. If you're familiar with Fiddler on the Roof, you know that Reteviah and Lasel Wolf were negotiating the marriage of his eldest daughter.

She knew nothing about this. And that they captured, that Fiddler on the Roof captured that part of their culture, which still is alive in certain parts of their culture. Anyway, Timnah geographically was at a lower elevation than Zorah where Samson is from, coming from, his hometown.

So the language becomes now symbolic. It says he went down. It's not without meaning. He's taking his parents down with him by looking to marry someone that God has forbidden. And made my comments about we as parents need to watch that.

And you children, when you become parents, go into it understanding that you don't want to be taken down by your own children. And came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now he parts with his parents at this point.

And that too has some symbolism in it. Because they parted in agreement. Why can't you get a nice Jewish girl? Why do you have to go find a Philistine woman?

And they were not in agreement. But why did he depart? Why did they go down to Timnah? Why does he say, you know what, I'm taking a shortcut. It's a rougher route.

You stay on the main road. I'm cutting through the vineyards. And it is grape season.

I think he's munching on grapes as he's popping through the vineyard. He's not supposed to. He's a separated one. Remember the difference between, Nazarite means a separated one. Nazareth means watchtower. Two different words, two different meanings.

I don't think he was flaunting his abstention. Watch me, I can go through the vineyard. I won't touch the fruit.

Yeah. We have no reason to believe that. The law of the flesh, it is this. It's weak.

It was just as much weak then as it is today. But love covers a multitude of sin. Not law. Law doesn't cover a multitude of sin. Law says you are guilty.

You are busted. Romans 3, for what the law could not do and that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin. He condemned sin in the flesh. God has to deal without sin, because we can't.

We can just make movement in that direction, desiring it. But in the end, we need divine intervention. The law is inadequate, but it is not imperfect. The law is perfect, converting the soul. Galatians 2 21, I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. If I can get to be righteous without Christ, who needs the death of Christ?

Well, I need it because I cannot do it. And so we need to keep sight of this, these laws, that even under the Jewish dispensation of the law, it still was in place. And if we lose sight of this, one or two things I think are likely to happen at some point. One, you'll beat yourself up too hard and Satan will take advantage of you.

And he will make you feel so low and miserable you won't do anything for the king. The other is that if we don't want to become careless, we want to understand that it costs the Lord to bring this grace to us that we enjoy so much. And so we strike the balance, which is what grace is.

You know, we talk about a ballerina moving so gracefully. But if he was tripping and stumbling all over the place, that's not grace. Samson was comfortable where he did not belong. We find a Jew in Timna, a Nazarite in the vineyard, and later we will find the Jew in Gaza, the Jewish Nazarite in Gaza. And you know, there's no penalty mentioned for the Nazarite breaking their vows in the Old Testament.

The penalty was supposed to be internal. I goofed. I made this vow and I blew it. And that would be incentive to not blow it. And God never said, listen, I don't want you to ever drink again water or anything ever again. It's not something you couldn't do.

The Nazarite's vow is very doable, abstained for a season. And the things that he abstained from, it wasn't like it was, you know, custard ice cream. If God had put that on him, that would have been a tough one. And if you like soft ice cream, if you don't like soft ice cream, the pastors will be up Sunday morning for prayer.

Anyway, it certainly breaks God's heart. It says a young lion roaring against him. Again, suggestive language. This was a warning. You don't belong in the vineyard. You don't belong apart from your parents.

And you don't belong on your way to Timna. Beware of the devil. We should read that.

First Peter, who was a friend of Timothy, 5, 8. Be sober. See, that's why I wanted to read it. I couldn't remember.

Why did I want to read it? Because Samson was not sober-minded. He was drunk with self. And yet Peter says, be sober, be diligent, because your adversary, that's Satan, the word Satan means adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. So he means business.

That's what he's saying. He's looking to devour you. He's not looking to, you know, play a game of Parcheesi with you or something.

He's looking to take you out. So did God send the lion as a warning to Samson as he walked the wrong way, on the wrong path, in the wrong place? I believe yes.

Absolutely. I mean, there's other reasons why the lion, you know, now it's going to be the first time we see his strength in action. And the Holy Spirit gave Samson the power to defeat this enemy, you could say. That is very much part of the story. Samson's strength was not his own, and which is going to be brought out when Delilah's done with him. And Samson remained, in spite of his goof-ups, his sin, his disobedience and silliness and shallowness and self-will, he still remained a consumer of God's blessings.

That is part of this moment. He doesn't belong in the vineyard. He's not supposed to be on the path to Timnah.

He should be with his parents. He's not doing any of those things, and yet God still gives him strength to beat down a lion. See, this makes us robust in the face of trouble in life. It's supposed to encourage us.

Or you could, I mean, for years I'd read this section and be terrified. But I've, you know, got now as, yes, God was with this man. I want to be an instrument for the Lord and not abuse that. I don't want to get away with half of what Samson got away with and stop it there before it gets really bad.

I want to always get it right. Verse 6, and the spirit of Yahweh came mightily 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 his mother what he had done. Well, from the bottom of the verse up, the fact that mom and dad did not know this was happening reinforces that he separated from them or else they would have been their witnesses of the whole thing. And the spirit of Yahweh came upon him mightily. There are only a few great feats of Samson listed for us, as I alluded to earlier.

There were more things that he had accomplished. I'll read that verse in a moment, but let's just review some of them. Well, he's killing a lion with his bare hands. Well, let's sit in.

Okay. So, and the part about as a man would tear a goat, I've never done that. I don't even eat goat, but maybe those of you who like goat know what that means.

Anyway, it says, and you know, if you're into animal, you know, I'm not into cruelty to anything except ticks. But, I mean, it's hard, you know, just to picture the whole thing. Josephus says he ripped his throat out, but Josephus is not writing scripture for us. Some commentators try to say, well, he struck a fatal blow, but it says he tore it apart.

Well, I don't know what it means. Whatever it is, it's bloody, it's gory. And, well, and back to what I was saying, he kills a lion with his bare hands. He slays sturdy Philistines in this chapter, we'll get to that. He catches 300 foxes or jackals, it could have been, and put torches connected to their tails, which is amazing. How much time did it take to catch 300 of them, to fingerprint them, to weigh them? No, I'm kidding.

He's not with the Wildlife Society. He broke the bonds that, you know, ooh, Samson, the Philistines are coming, which really gets a goofy story. He slays a thousand men with a jawbone over a donkey, carries the gates of Gaza up the hill. I can't wait to get to that one.

Talk about a practical joke, but he's serious. I mean, imagine taking someone picking, picking up someone's pickup truck and walking, you know, a mile up a hill and then flipping it over, it's amazing the strength this man had. And of course the end, he topples the building of the Philistines. But Judges 16 says, the destroyer of our land, the Philistines speaking about him, the destroyer of our land, and the one who multiplied our dead.

So there were likely very more battles than what we have recorded just in this, these four chapters. But by the time we get to chapter 16, Samson has fallen so far from God that we no longer read about the Spirit of God coming upon him. And that again is, there's another message. God is saying, yeah, my spirit is with him. He's struggling. Well, he's in the early stages of his, you know, shallowness.

I'm giving him space to get it together. And it just gets worse with Samson until finally God has to depart from him. It says, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, although nothing was in his hand. He had quite a heated argument with this lion and won. I don't know that there's, I will say this, not only had he been given strength, but you had to have had speed and timing to take out a lion.

I mean, what if he was strong, but he moved like a sloth? I mean, it would have been it. Lesson. It's not enough to have the gift.

There must be ancillary, you know, items that go with it. Say you have the gift of discernment. You can smell a rat.

Well, you have to know how to administer that because the people that don't have the discernment don't see what you're seeing. And you just start a fight. And everybody just turned against you. Paul, Paul said, I told you this was going to happen. We should have stayed in this harbor. But no, you the sailors, you all had to come in.

Look at us now. So part of the lesson is that, yes, he had all this strength, but he also had some timing and coordination. And he was able to exercise the gift as he did. Like so many of us, he had the hands to do the job.

What about the heart? He says, but he did not tell his mother or father. And again, apparently no one knew of his strength. And he comes out unscathed. It's not like he shows up at Timna and he's got all these scratch marks on his, he probably didn't even have a tear on his shirt. He just like didn't get touched. He knew how to keep a secret for a while because the parents, they didn't know about the lion.

They will eventually and so will everybody else. We know. The wife and the riddle, of course, he held a secret for a while. And Delilah, of course, he told her the secret too. So he held secrets only for a while.

Not a good way to be. Secrets need to go into a vault. And as the pastors know, you know, we don't tell. And a lot of folks get a little frustrated with that.

You don't want to get in that habit. Private information is private information. That's the end of it. Verse 7, then he went down and talked with the woman and she pleased Samson well. Well, we're going to bookmark this because he does not learn his lesson. As I mentioned, he heads to Gaza and there finds our harlot and then Delilah. He's not learning lessons because he's too self-impressed.

He thinks he's above these things. Verse 8, 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. Well, maybe you've had the privilege of shooting something and leaving it and coming back later and the buzzards had picked that thing clean.

And this, I think, it says after some time. My point, you're trying to get a visual on what this carcass looked like. Well, at least it's mummified. I mean, it's just dried up. But it's probably just the bones. You know, the rib cage and the beads have made a nice little place for themselves there. Sweet as honey.

Yeah, no, at my age I shouldn't be doing that. Anyway, but here's Samson. He says after some time he returned to get her and turned aside to see the carcass of the lion. Here he is again turning to the right or to the left but not going straight. Once again, he's going the wrong way. He's returning to the scene of pride. He wants to see, yep, I did that. Did he really have to?

I mean, what was he expecting to find? Well, we have to read it because it applies to it. If we were in 1 John 2.16, we'd be referencing Samson. But now we're in Samson, well, as judges we're going to reference 1 John. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, let me go down to Timnah, for she pleases me. The lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And so he wanted the wrong woman, the lust of the eyes when he saw her. He walked through the wrong field, the lust of the flesh as he's munching on those grapes. I mean, come on, if he came out of a vineyard as a Nazarite, you know, wiping the grape juice off his chin, and says, no, I didn't have any, who would believe him? Why didn't you go the other route?

Why the vineyard? And he went back to this warped victory, and it was a warped victory because he should not have been there, and that's the pride. I talked about the lion, and he says, behold, behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the carcass of the lion. Did he say to himself, this is approved by God because the honey is coming out, this is, you know, God's approval, is that an omen? I don't think he cared one way. I think he was just so self-minded that he just felt he was an exception to these things. Verse 9, he took some of it in his hands and went along eating. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them.

They also ate, but he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion. They want to emphasize that nobody knows the secret because it's going to be part of the story, but now he's a Nazarite. And all the commentators, well, he's violating the Nazarite. I shouldn't say all of them, and I shouldn't sound like I'm better than them because I don't agree with them. I don't agree with them.

I'm not better than them, but I don't agree with most of them. The Nazarite was not supposed to touch a dead human body. If it was food, he couldn't eat meat. And there's no prohibition on Samson eating meat or preparing a meal.

So he's not breaking any law, as far as I know, of the Jewish law for the Nazarite by scooping the honey, or if he's even making contact with whatever's left of the lion. But that's just, many of your study Bibles might have that, and you can submit them to my desk for correction. I'm kidding. It has to be said, those guys are great. Most study Bibles, they're just amazing. But none of them get it all right. For that, you've got to come here. It is hard.

It's so much information. Nobody, I just can't say it. Most people can't get it all right, okay? Nobody can get it all right. You're going to find that just, you know, hey, he missed that one. He's a really good guy, too, and he got that one wrong.

So, pride. But anyway, I think there's no problem him touching a dead animal. If the animal died of natural causes, and you touched it, and you weren't even a Nazarite, well, you were ceremonially unclean. You just couldn't go down to the temple and participate. So, you know, we're not, I learned my first time through Leviticus, you know what? I'm not under the law. I'm not trying to memorize Jewish law. It's too far removed to know everything.

We just have to remain with what's obvious. Thanks for tuning in to Cross-Reference Radio for this study in the book of Judges. Cross-Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. If you'd like more information about this ministry, we invite you to visit our website, You'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick available there, and we encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross-Reference Radio. You can search for Cross-Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app, or just follow the links at That's all the time we have for today. Join us next time to continue learning more from the book of Judges, right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-02 04:04:35 / 2024-01-02 04:15:24 / 11

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