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When the Weak Become Strong, Part 3

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
June 27, 2022 9:00 am

When the Weak Become Strong, Part 3

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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June 27, 2022 9:00 am

Pastor J.D. reveals that your own heart is usually your worst enemy. This message is the third part of a four-part message on the life of Samson.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Sin always starts fun and anybody that tells you otherwise is not telling you the truth, right? It starts fun. It just never ends that way.

It ends with somebody blinded and in darkness and captivity and the monotony of grinding day after day after day and it's showing you where that leads. Maybe you shouldn't let your heart decide. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer of the Summit Church in Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. Have you ever been told to follow your heart? This philosophy is pushed on us from a young age in kids movies and pop music and, of course, social media. But today, Pastor J.D. reveals that your own heart is quite often your worst enemy, getting you into all kinds of trouble. Today's teaching represents the third part of a four-part message on the life of Samson.

If you missed the previous messages, visit to catch up. But for now, grab your Bible, take some notes, and let's join Pastor J.D. If you have a Bible, I'd love for you to take it out right now and open it to the book of Judges, chapter 14. Toward the end now of a series called Broken Saviors, and we are looking at Samson, who has to be one of undoubtedly the most colorful characters in the Bible. The story of Samson, I explained to you the first week we were in this, is a tale about the weak becoming strong and the strong becoming weak. This will not come as a surprise to many of you, but Samson has always reminded me a lot of myself, but not for the reasons that you probably think.

Samson's greatest enemy is himself. I had a friend at MIT, about the same age as I am, when he was putting the final edits on his senior thesis there at MIT, he said it was just dotting a few i's and crossing a few proverbial t's, and he said, I watched to my horror as at the top of my screen the text of my senior thesis began to change line by line into gobbledygook, just, you know, wingdings or some kind of font. He said, just destroyed my paper. Some nerd at MIT had written a computer virus that destroyed everything that he had worked on. I feel like computers have gotten a lot better and they keep that kind of stuff from happening now, but some of you that are my age or around, you can remember, I mean, just the horror that was that kind of experience, right?

Has that ever happened to you? I do think there is a special place in hell reserved for people that come up with computer viruses since there's no redeeming purpose for them at all, but Samson has a virus and that virus is going to destroy him. His problem is not that he doesn't have the physical strength to deliver Israel. The problem is that he is internally weak.

He's his own worst enemy. That's why I feel like Samson. Any of you ever look at your life and you look back on certain things and you just say, look at what I messed up. Why could I not just have controlled myself? Why could I not just have held my tongue? Why did I have to say that? Why did I have to go there? What if I had just said no?

What if I just not ever returned the phone call or not chosen that group of friends or not chosen to be with that person on that night? I want to show you that every morning when you wake up and you look in the mirror, you are looking at the greatest enemy of both yourself and what God wants to do through you and your family. The problem is not that God's power is not abundant and available to you. The problem is that you and I are our own worst enemy. Specifically, today I want to direct some of this towards you men. Honestly, there may be nothing more important than many of you ever here because God has given you a lot of opportunity and a lot of strength. I want to show you how some of you are sabotaging yourselves the way that Samson did.

Girls, don't feel like this is going to leave you out. The Old Testament scholars point out that Samson was supposed to represent all of Israel. There are a number of clues in his story that anybody that was familiar with Jewish history immediately upon reading this would have said he's describing Israel. For example, both Samson and Israel came into the world through a miraculous birth. Remember the whole story of Manoah and his unnamed wife who are both older and there's a miraculous birth?

That's like Abraham and Sarah who in their old age give birth miraculously to Isaac who becomes the descendant to whom the nation of Israel comes. For both Samson and Israel, God takes something weak and makes it incredibly strong. Both Samson and Israel were given a special law code that was supposed to separate them from the nations around them. For Samson, remember it was the Nazarite vow which had three components. Component number one, don't cut your hair. Component number two, don't touch anything alcoholic.

Component number three, never touch anything dead. That wasn't rules for all of Israelites. It was just rules for Samson.

It set him apart. Well, in the same way, Israel as a nation had been given a special law code that distinguished them from the nations around them. It's called the book of Leviticus. Samson was drawn to foreign women just like Israel was drawn to foreign gods. Anybody reading this picks up that Samson and Israel's stories are kind of one. So Samson is Israel's story and if you listen, what I'm going to tell you is it's probably your story also. The first week we looked at Samson's birth.

This week we're going to look at his life and his death. So if you haven't done so already, take out your Bible, turn it on, scroll down to Judges 14. The first story of Samson's adult life opens up with him informing his mom and dad that he wants to marry this hot Philistine girl that he's seen in town. Verse three, but his father and mother say to him, is there not a woman from our people? Is not, can't you be attracted to one of our girls? That you got to go take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines.

This is not racial prejudice by the way. It's just that they want him to marry somebody who shares his faith. But Samson said back to his father, and this is key, get her for me for she pleases me well. If I had to boil down all of Samson's weaknesses into one statement, that would be it. Samson's primary driver in life is he does what pleases him and he is not going to let anybody, he's not going to let any wisdom, he's not going to let his mom and dad or even God get in the way of what he wants. He's always going to follow his heart and he's always going to be true to himself.

This is like a Disney movie in reverse. Samson rejects his parents wisdom and lets his heart decide. Except this story shows you where that line of thinking usually leads. Verse four is a little phrase that is a very important phrase to give you the bigger picture of what's happening. His father and mother did not know however that it was from the Lord for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. Now what does it mean it was from the Lord? Well it doesn't mean that it was a wise decision because it was clearly a simple and unrighteous decision.

It just means that his choice to marry this woman was something that God was going to use. See let me step back for a minute and help you see the bigger picture of what is happening in Israel at this point. Israel at this point has grown really comfortable in their captivity. They are not as I showed you a couple weeks ago, they're not crying out for deliverance from the Philistines. They don't even want deliverance from the Philistines. They like the Philistines.

They are comfortable in their captivity and they admire the Philistines. This is the greatest threat that Israel has ever faced. It is elimination not by extermination, it is elimination by assimilation. This is always the greatest threat to the people of God. You see when the enemy comes after the people of God and to exterminate us we usually rally ourselves to put faith in God and he acts on our behalf. But when the enemy comes to make us comfortable in the world and begins to entice our heart away from God and help us to assimilate into the world that we are a part of so that we are attracted to all of the power structures that are here that's when he really destroys and eliminates us.

That's exactly where Israel is. But God had not saved his people just to keep them alive. He'd saved his people for himself. He wanted them to be a special people for him and they're about to lose that because they're so comfortable in the Philistine world. So what God needs to do is he needs to stir up a little conflict. Enter Samson, a hot-blooded testosterone-ridden impulsive meathead on roid rage. Now before I move on from this do you see how God sometimes does this in your life?

Your heart starts getting way too knit to this world to entice by popularity or comfort or money. And so what God does is he starts to stir up some trouble. This is what God has always done with his people because he is doing it in mercy to try to keep you from being so comfortable in the land of the Philistines. People many times ask me how I feel about the Supreme Court decision to mandate gay marriage.

I think there's no question it was a wrong decision but I recognize that God can be in that like he was in this decision Samson made purifying and strengthening the church. You see I would say the believers we believers have grown entirely to at home in this country. Many churches, churches we probably grew up in do God and country Sundays and I'm all for patriotism. But when I say God and country the first country you ought to think about is your heavenly one. And when I say be thankful for freedom the first freedom you ought to fall to your knees and celebrate is your freedom in Christ. And so God sends stuff like this along just to remind us who we belong to and where our real country is that our main help doesn't come from Washington our main help comes from the Lord. And that our real home is not in North Carolina our real home is with the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven.

Church you can be assured from statements like the one you just read in verse four that just as it was with Samson there is not one stray molecule in all the universe that God is not using for the completion of his purposes for the church. Hollywood does not dictate where this world is going. Washington does not dictate where it's going. Wall Street doesn't dictate it.

The New York Times doesn't dictate it. I don't know if you realize this but all of history is being performed for you because God is preparing for himself a people and God takes the nations and everything and he has a purpose for it in preparing the church. Aren't you thankful God is in charge? You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. You know life is full of difficult questions and the reality is is that we all need to be able to give sufficient reasons for the hope we have in Jesus to those who are searching. By tackling some of these difficult questions in our newest resource we hope to equip you with quick answers that make sense and aren't overly complicated. In honest questions quick answers we'll answer what is an idol and is it okay to ask God for success? We'll send it as our thanks for your gift to the ministry right now so give us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at

Now let's get back to our teaching. Here's Pastor J.D. Samson throws this beer keg party to celebrate his engagement. A few days before the party a lion attacks him and we have that great little lion I pointed out to you Judges 14 6 and he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. Now I spent the last couple weeks doing extensive Hebrew word study on that phrase and I will still tell you that after my extensive Hebrew study I still have no idea what that phrase means like one tears a young goat. Evidently goat tearing was common in those days. It was just it was what you did on game night in ancient Israel but what did you do for the fourth?

The usual played some cornhole set off some fireworks tore a few goats just you know what you do. Well he tears the lion that's what he does a few days later he's passing by the same spot he sees the carcass of the lion that he's killed and he notices a beehive that is in the abdomen which sparks an idea for a riddle. So he goes to this party and he gets there's 30 Philistine guys there and he says I got a riddle for you and let's make it interesting you can guess the riddle seven days before this party's over then I'll give each of you a suit of clothes but if you can't guess it you got to give me a suit of clothes and they say okay we're smarter than you because we're Philistines and you're a Dimeser light so what is it? And he says all right here's the riddle out of the eater came something to eat out of the strong came something sweet. Now clearly he's talking about the honey that came out of the abdomen of the lion but they get together and they put their heads together they can't figure it out. So they go to his bride to be who is a Philistine remember and they're like hey you're one of us you better tell us what this riddle is and if you don't we're going to kill you and your father. So she goes to him and says Samson what's the riddle and he won't tell her so she pulls the oldest trick in the book she begins to cry and she says you don't really love me we are starting our marriage with secrets I'm going to go on to a talk show. And so eventually he caves and he reveals the riddle to her and she then tells the Philistines and they solve the riddle Samson ever the helpless hopeless romantic says that great little line verse 18 if you had not plowed with my heifer you would not have found out my riddle.

What a way with words that guy has. Verse 19 verse 19 and the spirit of the Lord rushed upon him and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down 30 men of the town and took their garments and gave them to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father's house. In other words he went and killed 30 Philistine guys and took their clothes and that's how he paid his bet. Hey here's my question for you why would Samson do something petty and vindictive? Well because God's got a bigger purpose and that purpose is creating division between the Philistines and the Elisraelites so even though Samson is being sinful God is using it for his purposes he's creating division. Chapter 15 after some days Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat all right there you have it b-y-o-g it's bring your own goat just what you do for date night and he said I will take my goat and we will tear it and then I will go into my wife in the chamber and her father said I thought you hated her so I gave her to your buddy is by the way she's got a younger sister who's you know better looking than she is so why don't you take her and Samson's like what verse three and Samson said to them this time this time I will be innocent in regard to the Philistines when I do them a harm all right so in other words he knew the first time he was being petty and vindictive but this time he feels justified. Verse four so Samson went and caught 300 foxes how did he do that and he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each of their tails and then he set fire to the torches and he sent the foxes out into the grain fields of the Philistines and set fire to the grain fields in the olive orchards now as far as practical jokes go that one is awesome he ties foxes together and lights their rear ends on fire and has them burn like Samson was here into the cornfields well the Philistines retaliate by killing this girl and her father verse six and Samson said I swear I will be avenged on you and after that I'll quit verse eight and he struck them hip and thigh with a great below hip and thigh is a Hebrew way of saying he opened up a can of whoop trash on them that's sort of like just a euphemism for that and he went down and stayed after that in the cleft of the rock of Edom which was a small Israelite outpost well the Philistines come down to Edom and they say verse 10 we've come to take Samson to do to him what he did to us so 3 000 Israelites men of Judah go down to where Samson's staying and they say don't you know the Philistines are rulers over us what have you done see they don't want deliverance they want peace they don't want to stir up any trouble they're comfortable verse 12 Samson said to them just promise me you won't attack me yourselves and they said no no we will we will just bind you and give you into their hands so they took two new ropes and they brought him up from the rock verse 14 then the spirit of the lord rushed upon him and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that has caught fire and the bonds just melted off his hands and he looked around and he found the fresh jawbone of a donkey and with it he struck a thousand men he did the whole hip and thigh routine on them this is all pretty cool except of course he's not supposed to be touching anything dead the jawbone of a donkey verse 16 and Samson sang my favorite part of the story and Samson sang with the jawbone of a donkey heaps upon heaps with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men and as soon as he had finished speaking verse 17 he threw away the jawbone out of his hand how cool is that with the jawbone of the donkey still in his hand he composes a song and I know it doesn't rhyme in English but it would have rhymed in Hebrew and I think you got to hear it more like an m&m kind of rap with the jawbone of an ass I have piled them in a mass it took the jawbone of an ass and I had a blast or something like that and then he drops the jawbone like he's dropping the mic and just sort of walks off I'm telling you storytelling doesn't get any better than that chapter 16 then Samson went to Gaza Gaza and there he saw a prostitute and he went into her whoa now he's not just with a Philistine girl he's with a Philistine prostitute and Gaza by the way is the capital of Philistia so in other words he is getting more and more brazen you see that getting more and more brazen in his sin well the Philistines find out what he's doing verse two they surrounded the place and sent an ambush for him they kept quiet all night saying we'll wait until morning then we'll kill him verse three but Samson lay until midnight and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts and pulled them up bar and all and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron now what lesson is there in that for us nothing that's just an awesome story I mean the dude rips the city gate up and carries it a half mile you just got to write that down verse four after this he loved a woman whose name was everybody Delilah that's right in Hebrew Delilah sounds like the phrase night time if you go back and read the first two or three verses of this chapter you'll see that the word night keeps recurring night in Hebrew literature represents darkness so now Samson is operating in the darkness and now he is falling in love with Delilah the night time the darkness and now he is sharing a bed with the darkness you see what's happening this is the end verse five and the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her seduce him tell us where his great strength lies how we can overpower him we each will give you 1100 pieces of silver verse six so Delilah says to Samson tell me where your strength lies how you might be bound so that one might subdue you verse seven Samson said to her okay I love you so here it is if they take seven fresh bow strings then I'll become weak and be like any other man so he lets her tie him up with those bow strings verse nine she had these men Philistine men lying in ambush in an inner chamber and she said to him the Philistines the Philistines are here Samson but he jumps up and he snaps the bow strings as the thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire in other words like he had toilet paper wrapped around him he just flew it off verse 10 then Delilah said to Samson behold you have mocked me and told me lies tell me really how you might be bound so he said okay it wasn't new bow strings it was new ropes so she ties him up and then she said Samson the Philistines are upon you verse 12 but he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread same deal she's like you gotta you you're mocking me tell me lies verse 13 he said to her okay okay if you weave the seven locks of my head into the web or the loom and fasten it tight with the pin then I'll become weak and be like any other man whoa now he's talking about the hair see how close he's getting well she does it she weaves his hair into a loom and then she wakes him up and she's like Samson the Philistines are on you and he wakes up with a start and says he whips the loom out of a wall and starts swinging around the room attached to his hair where where where the Philistines verse 15 she said to him how can you say I love you when your heart is not with me you have not me these three times and you've not told me where your great strength lies and she pressed him hard with her words day after day and urged him and his soul was vexed to death hasn't Samson been in the same situation before why on earth would he tell her guys are stupid write it down right he doesn't have the strength to withstand her displeasure every man wants harmony in his home and that's usually a good thing but there are a lot of men who in pursuit of that harmony will cave where they should not cave verse 17 and so he told her all of his heart and said to her a razor does never touch my head I've been a Nazarite to God for my mother's womb if my head were shaved my strength would leave me and I shall become weak and be like any other man verse 18 and Delilah saw and recognized that he had told her all of his heart and she sent and called for the Philistines and said he's told me all of his heart come again verse 19 and she made him sleep on her knees by the way do you see how over confident he has become he just told her his true secret and he's so comfortable that he goes to sleep on her knees he is so confident that his strength will never leave him God's about to wake him up she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks off his head verse 20 and she said the Philistines aren't you Samson and he awoke from his sleep and he said I will go out just like other times and I will shape myself free but he did not know that the Lord had left him see he's like Israel he doesn't even know he needs deliverance he doesn't know he's out of fellowship with God verse 21 the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes they actually would have burned them with a metal prong and then dug out whatever remained and they brought him down to Gaza and they bound him with bronze shackles and he ground at the meal in the prison Samson here gives you a picture of the trajectory of sin sin always starts fun and anybody that tells you otherwise is not telling you the truth I've told you about the country preacher who's like if they tell you sin ain't fun then you ain't doing it right right it starts fun it just never ends that way it ends in situations like this one verse 22 but the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved what a great verse verse 23 now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their God and to rejoice saying our God gave us Samson our enemy into our hand so they throw this big party and when the people saw Samson they began to worship their God verse 25 when their hearts were merry they said bring out Samson so he can entertain us so they bring him out and they start mocking him and making him do tricks and Samson is standing there and all this mockery and he says to the young man who was leading him by the hand he said let me feel the pillars on which the house rests that I may lean against them and Samson calls out to God and he says God I know that I've sinned I know that I got myself in the situation but one more time one more time give me that strength and let me be avenged against the Philistines and Samson grasped the two middle pillars in which the house rested and he leaned his weight against them his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other and then he bowed with all this strength and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it and him as well so the dead whom he killed through his death were more than those who he killed during his life you're listening to summit life the teaching ministry of pastor jd greer to thank you for your support and to help you grow in your faith this month we have created a new book that helps you tackle some pretty huge questions jd how can you provide answers and just a few pages for each question yeah good question you know our goal is not to give the overly deep comprehensive answer but a quick answer right the kind of answer you would give to somebody if you were sitting down for a cup of coffee sometimes we even need coached on the posture we take like what's the right thing to say here how do i perceive what the person is really asking and so i feel like a big part of my own ministry is answering questions i look at it like removing objections that people have to belief like clearing the path for belief i think um this resource that i'm excited to share with you can help you do that with other people as well if you'll just go to there's a volume two that we're offering now and i think there's some copies left of volume one if you didn't get that one again just head on over to and you'll see instructions for how you can get one or both of these of these these volumes we want to invite you to partner with us financially as our way of saying thanks we'll send you this newest book by pastor jd call us right now the number is 866-335-5220 you can also give online and request your copy at i'm molly vidovitch we are so glad that you joined us today and please come back tomorrow when jd greer continues looking back at the broken savior samson and looking forward to the perfect savior jesus join us tuesday on summit life today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-29 09:28:53 / 2023-03-29 09:39:49 / 11

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