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Samson – The Blinded Champion (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 28, 2021 6:00 am

Samson – The Blinded Champion (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 28, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Book of Judges (Judges 16:21-31)

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Blinded, grinding, and bound, there in the prison house of the Philistines. It's what sin does to us. Sin binds us, it blinds us, and it grinds us.

It's not original, I don't know where it came from, but it's yours now. And it is a portrait of the results of carefree sin. Another lesson from the book of Judges in the life of Samson. 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. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Judges chapter 16, as he begins a brand new message called Samson the Blinded Champion. Judges chapter 16, this evening we finish up the 16th chapter and the life of Samson. And as we stopped in the middle of the chapter where Samson was betrayed by Delilah and arrested, we now continue this section and of course he's going to be blinded. That's the next thing we'll read and before we get to that, you ask yourself knowing the story, did he ever consider the consequence of telling the unrighteous where his weakness was?

I mean, it's just foolish on every level. And that's one of the large things about the story of Samson or one of the large messages out of the story of Samson is the folly that we must avoid as best we can. He's so busy enjoying God's blessings without ever taking the blessings seriously.

I mean, they were just like he was gifted with a nice hot rod and that's how he went through life and failing to ever connect the gifts with God's will. For Samson, the Philistines were the enemies of God's people and therefore God's enemy and it really didn't go much further than that to his death. And he's still a champion of the faith. In fact, this evening's consideration, I've entitled it, Samson the Blinded Champion, because he did do damage to the interest of Satan and that is the part of the story that we like.

I would like to be a man who had or has Samson's physical strength in spiritual form and that is why he is a hero of the faith because of what God did in his life and the messages that come from his life to this day. So we look now at verse 20, having, he's not arrested yet, he's going to be arrested now, a little review, verse 20, and he said, this is Delilah, and she said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson. So he awoke from his sleep and said, I will go out as before at other times and shake myself free, but he did not know that Yahweh had departed from him. Now, again, we're reviewing where we left off and so she says, Your enemies are attacking you now, Samson.

Let's see what you can do. He did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Strength was gone because the Lord had departed from his side. We would say the Lord withdrew. Psalm 118, verse 6, Yahweh is on my side.

I will not fear. What can man do to me? Well, if he's not by your side, if Yahweh is not by your side, then whatever man does to you really is not going to count much with God and that's where Samson has landed himself. It was one of those unnoticed losses in life that he should have noticed. It should not have happened. A gradual and unconscious that he was losing ground with God and that his strength would be devoured by aliens, no less.

These are shameful things. His love-hate relationship with the Philistines. He hated the men. He loved the women.

He's laying his head in the lap of pleasure and self-indulgence. That's all Delilah, incidentally, had to offer. Psalm 51, verse 11, David, after he had sinned, penned this Psalm after he had sinned large, do not cast me away from your presence and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. And God did not. God did not take his Spirit from David or else he never would have been able to write the 51st Psalm, which is one of the most beautiful of the Psalms.

And so there had been a time when every effort he put into a victory turned out to be a victory, but not so this time. The horror that he found himself weak as other men and that thrice repeated in the story for emphasis because he did not know the Lord had departed from him. Now we continue in verse 21, then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza, brought him with bronze fetters and he became a grinder in the prison. Well, a dead Samson wasn't good enough for the Philistines. He had to be abused and he had to be paraded, a trophy to their God. True spiritual war. The world loves a defeated Christian champion.

To this day they love it. And his eyes being put out now, they're what got him into trouble. You saw a woman in Timna in Philistine territory. You saw Harlot in Gaza and he just kept seeing the wrong things because he was in the wrong place. His vision for God never developed.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Samson doesn't appear to ever have looked up. Now we've mentioned last time, this is not the whole story of his life, just the highlights are taken out. If there were times when he did look up, they're not recorded.

I think of, and I know some folks don't seem to like this when I say it over the years, it's not a big one, but some can make it a mountain out of a molehill. Methuselah lived 600 and 969 years, but we don't hear anything about him loving the Lord, serving the Lord. That omission of all that time is disconcerting. That doesn't mean he was bad, but I would not choose to have my name in the scripture as the longest man who lived and no comment about my faith.

That would be a tough pill to swallow. It says here about this great champion of Israel on the battlefield who was careless about God because he was carefree about sin, basic lesson, says and brought him to Gaza. Now this is the city where he had taken the city gates. Now every time I go on the internet and I look up anything concerning Christians, I get depressed. I just don't do it anymore, not too much. And today I went to look and see if I could find some, you know, engineering references on the structure of this temple for Dagon that we're going to get to.

I didn't really come up with any satisfied, I like mine better. But anyhow, so of course there's 500 movie clips of Samson, which I disagree with all of them. So again, I'm human, so I say okay, I'm going to click play and watch one or two of them, just because I wanted to get my dander up. And the one I watched at the, pulling the gates of Gaza up, with all of this straining and suffering, all this drama, didn't they read the story? The Spirit of God came upon him, and he picked up the gates and he took them up the hill facing Hebron.

For all we know he could have taken them all the way to Hebron. This was, the miracles of Samson are of the same cut of cloth as the miracles of Elijah, and the miracles of Daniel. What miracle did Daniel do?

He did quite a few of them. He interpreted the handwriting, no one else could do it. He interpreted dreams. He didn't only tell the king what the dream meant, he told him what he dreamt.

That's a miracle. Daniel, of course, true champion of the faith. I wonder what Daniel thought.

Wouldn't you love to go to a Bible study by someone like Daniel? Well, anyway, coming back to this city of Gaza where he had picked up the gates and walked out with them, which was just an incredible feat of strength, this was also one of two Philistine cities that highly honored Dagon, this particular Philistine god, Gaza and Ashdod, those two cities, they bound him with bronze fetters. Well, why specify bronze? Well, in the scripture, bronze is emblematic of judgment. It's something you put into the heat. It's a metal that takes heat better than other metals.

A settling torch tip is a blend of brass and bronze, things like that. But this is an emblem of judgment for us to remember Samson, that he toyed with the locks, the hair, that emblem that spoke of his vow to God. He poked fun at that which was holy.

What is the secret of your strength? Instead of saying, my relationship with my God, and ending a whole thing like that, he decided that he was going to poke fun at the holy things, things that were supposed to be pure and revered, not trivialized, as the world would do, and he became a grinder in the prison. So they gouged out his eyes, they bring him to Gaza, they bind him with bronze fetters, and they make him grind in the prison. Now this particular mill that he was grinding on was not one that required the brute strength of an ox. This was considered by many in the ancient world to be women's work, and here he is doing it. His strength is not there.

That's why I point out there are some mills where you do need an animal, and this was not one of them because he's not strong as an ox anymore. Blinded, grinding, and bound there in the prison house of the Philistines. It's what sin does to us. Sin binds us, it blinds us, and it grinds us.

That's not original, I don't know where it came from, but it's yours now. And it is a portrait of the results of carefree sin. Another lesson from the book of Judges in the life of Samson. It makes you say, where are the young men to sit through a study like this? Where are our 18, 19, 20 year olds to sit and listen to the consequences of taking faith lightly? Verse 22, oh, let me pause there. Where are the older men to pray for the younger men? Well, you can't get away without getting stung by the word of God because that's what we need. But where are the older men praying for the younger men? We'll get that in Ruth.

Where are the Naomi's praying for the Ruth's? Verse 22, however, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven. This is one of the great howevers of the Bible.

It is a disjunctive. Yep, he has been captured, he has been blinded, paraded, he has been reduced to a grinder, but is a ray of hope. And it's a simple letter in the Hebrew, just a stroke. However, and this is how we find his name amongst the heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11. It is that, however, what would have happened if they made him grind until he dropped dead?

That would have been a tragedy on every level. It's a tragic story to begin with, but they're great achievements for God's people because of this one man. So when it says, however, his hair began to grow, well, I'm told it takes time for hair to grow.

I'm still waiting. Well, it grows in the wrong places very quickly. But this is a time stamp for us. It says that he's had time for his eyes to heal from the injury, for his locks to return, but perhaps most importantly for him to ponder his faith. I mean, once you hear this verse from Haggai the prophet, you know what was happening in his day is the Jews had stopped rebuilding their temple. There was a little pressure put on their lives. They just quit. But their lives kept going. They kept lining their pockets.

They were still doing pretty well. They just, their place of worship was just a vacant lot. And the work that they had started, the foundation on the temple, just became overgrown with whatever was growing. And so God raised up the prophet Haggai, Zechariah, and this is part of the message that he said to those people about this behavior. He said, thus says Yahweh of hosts, consider your ways. Something Samson never did, never seems to have done. Yet, he's doing it now. He's considering himself now, but it's too much ground to make up.

A lifetime of carelessness when you were called to such a special blessing. He's not going to make up all the ground. He's still going to be a little misguided in the end, but he's going to be better off than he was. Well, this also tells us that his power was not in his hair, but that it was a symbol of the power, of the relationship that he had with God, which any power he had in his life was because of that relationship, and the hair was supposed to announce that wherever he went, when you saw Samson, there he is, a Nazarite from birth. You can tell because his hair is uncut.

The locks of, you know, this was part of it. But that his hair is growing back, and he's still weak, because when he gets to the temple, he can't push the pillars down without God. That's why he makes this prayer. When he does, right before he pushes them down, he says just this once to God, that my strength may return to me just this once. I don't want one filling of the Holy Spirit.

I want multiple, countless experiences in the faith. They were sure his blindness prevented him from being a threat. We gouged out his eyes. He's no longer a problem. We put him in bronze fetters.

He can't break them. His life is a picture and a parable, again, that doesn't need much explanation. You can just look at the life of Samson from the eyes of a born-again believer and you get it. It's not a comfortable story. I don't think any Christian should read the life of Samson with glee or a sense of self-righteousness.

That would have happened to him, but it wouldn't have happened to me. That would be falling into the same folly that Samson fell into. In verse 23, the Philistines, unaware of what's happening with his consideration and the symbolism of his hair coming back, because if they felt he was a threat with his eyes out, they would have cut his hair again. Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon, their god, and to rejoice. And they said, Our God has delivered into our hands Samson, our enemy. Well, this took time for the five warlords of the Philistines to plan such a gala there in Gaza.

So again, some time since his betrayal with Delilah. To Dagon, their god. This is his temple, and we'll get that in verse 28.

That's where they're going to meet. Now this temple was sort of an arena. It was large enough to hold probably 7,000 people. So 6 or 7,000 people. We know that because 3,000 of them were on the roof.

That leaves those down below on the first floor. This name, Dagon, is a disputed name by theological linguist, linguistic experts. The Hebrew root is fish, but the Arabic is grain. So is he the god of the sea?

Because the Philistines were people of the sea. Or were they worshipping him as a god who provided grain, which is in line with most other peoples of the world that worship idols. They worship the creature that gives them the life. Worship of the sun. You know, the Mayans and the Incas. The same, you know, worshipping those things that produced for them.

The mountains, the hills, from where the rains would come. I think it is the god of grain. I think it's symbolic also in the story because Samson set fire to their grain fields.

Perhaps mocking their god. Either way, they would have connected it that they got him now, the one who stole their grain. Hit their economy very hard.

As well as their military. If this guy didn't get stopped, the Philistines would have been reduced to a marginal people and eventually gone. Which did happen to them, just not in Samson's lifetime. So Dagon, their god, is his temple that they're going to. And it says here, and to rejoice. Of course, over the conquest of Samson. The Jews would later rejoice over the conquest of Haman.

Just saying. And they said, our god has delivered into our hands Samson, our enemy. There's never a shortage of fake gods. There's never a shortage of wrong views about the true god. There's never a shortage of blasphemers against Christ. Pray to God there's never a shortage of Christians to meet these things head on. Satan, of course, he is the author of the fake gods, but men are the publishers.

They're the ones that are, they're like the newsies. They're out there getting the word out on street corners, making these false opinions about God available. Satan's goal, and he's achieved it, has been to flood the earth with lies about the true God.

This, of course, gives some people an excuse in the same way you can with who can tell? Who can tell who is God and who is not? All these junk gods out there. You know, I can't believe there's only one God.

You probably may have heard that line. I can't believe there's only one way to God. Who's to say that another person's god is false and another one is real?

They all can't be false, things like that. Dave Hunt responds to this, especially the, you know, who's to say that one is false and another is not? Why can't they all be gods? Dave Hunt says, if there is more than one god, then who is in charge? It's typical Dave Hunt style. Again, wouldn't it be God that he would raise up a Dave Hunt or an A. W. Tozier before the final call?

He continues Dave Hunt. He says, if one god is stronger or has more authority than the others, then none of the rest of the gods can really be God. That's what the Greeks and the Romans got wrong. If he's a god, by definition, he's omnipotent. Or else he's not a god.

He's a bench warmer or something. He's a created being, but he's not God. The definition, and this is where we come in when someone says, oh my god, well, what is your god? Tell me about your god.

Because I perceive he's a doofus. And then I'll tell you about my god. And we're supposed to say to them, listen, by definition, a god is omnipotent and not to be messed with. And to use his name for every stupid thing that comes in your sight is not honoring any kind of omnipotent, all-powerful, self-existent, holy and righteous being. And so these little things count to the Christian church. That's why we are students of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. It's God's word to us.

It's interesting how, well, did I finish the Dave Clint? No, it's one other thing. He says, so if one god is stronger or has more authority than the others, then none of the rest of the gods can really be God, so we are back to monotheism, end quote. It comes right back to, it's only one god. The Trinity is not three gods. This is some of the difficulties the apostles had to face in writing the New Testament, is presenting a trinity without sending this message to a polytheistic world that we Christians have three gods. And so it is veiled, but it is there nonetheless. And when you were born again, the veil comes up enough, not all the way, because we're not capable of fully understanding everything there is to understand about God and even that much is too much.

But we can understand enough. Those of the world who have fake gods, they do not approach other truths this way. Only when it comes to the only true God do they kind of become very careless.

For instance, their pay stubs or their refunds, they make sure those line up with the facts as best they can. But the facts concerning God, his truth, it doesn't matter to them. And so Paul says about Satan, his work on the people who think this way, of which I was once, he says, whose mind the God of this age is blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. Can you imagine that being said about any angel that Michael is the image of God? It would be blasphemy. You see, that's that veil trinity, that veil, the deity of Christ. I mean, there's none higher than God. We know the Holy Spirit is part of the trinity because Jesus said, you know, you can go ahead and make mistakes in your speech about the Father and the Son, but if you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, you can't say that about Michael or Gabriel or Moses or Paul or yourself or anyone else except God. These truths are woven into the scripture, and the Jehovah's Witnesses don't want to see it, the Mormons do not want to see it, and they will be held accountable for this. Even, you know, Roman Catholicism has their doctrine that really hell is empty, and this contradicts other doctrines they have, surprise, but they want to try to draw out the love of God, which reduces the commandments to God to, really, it makes God a liar, in that view, because he's promised judgment to those who reject him.

And to suggest that ultimately everybody ends up in heaven, the universal God of everyone, Father of everyone, is to make a mockery, to say, well, Jesus did all the dying for everybody. He loves to forgive and I love to sin. Voltaire's words, I think it was Voltaire, I don't know, the older I get, the less I read those things and I just go from memory and I mess them all up.

But I get close enough to hit the bullseye in some weird way. Sunday I'm told I made a few mis-words, but that's okay, keep you on your toes. Psalm 86 verse 10, the Psalms are this, life squeezing faith out of people, that's what the Psalms are.

Some of them you catch on a good day, some of them you catch on a bad day. All of them are before the throne of God. Even Psalm 88, which does not have a happy ending, the only one, still they're before the throne of God, voicing or expressing themselves before God's throne. 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, crossreferenceradio.com. 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 crossreferenceradio.com. 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 / 2023-12-30 11:40:29 / 2023-12-30 11:50:10 / 10

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