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The Man Who Had it Made

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 10, 2022 12:00 am

The Man Who Had it Made

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 10, 2022 12:00 am

In this message Stephen takes us through the journey of Samson's life to warn us that spiritual potential doesn't always lead to spiritual success. It's not what you have that defines you . . . it's what you do with what you have.

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Samson's own life, though, mirrored the failure of Israel as a nation.

You see, this is, I think, what God was doing behind the scenes. Samson refused the authority of God's command. So did Israel. They were idolatrists. They were intermarrying with the Philistines. Samson, secondly, refused the parameters of the Nazarite vows.

We'll see. And so did Israel reject its covenant parameters. And thirdly, Samson refused the counsel of godly parents.

And so the Jews refused the counsel of their spiritual authority. Have you ever seen someone who seemed to have it made? Everything about their life appeared great. But the more you learned, the more you discovered a person with problems and faults and difficulties. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Steven begins looking at the life of Samson. Samson certainly had a lot going for him. But his life is a warning that spiritual potential doesn't always lead to spiritual success. It's not what you have that defines you.

It's what you do with what you have. This lesson from our Vintage Wisdom series in Judges is called The Man Who Had It Made. Betty Green was probably one of the most well-known misers.

In fact, maybe the best miser who had ever walked the face of American soil. She died in 1915, leaving an estate valued at over $1 million, which today would be at least $10 million. The interesting thing about this lady is though she was such a miser, she ate most of the time cold oatmeal.

Oatmeal because it was cheap, cold because she said it cost too much to heat it. The tragedy is that her own son, however, would lose his leg to an amputation because Hetty took so long in trying to find a free clinic that he was not seen early enough by doctors. When you read the story of Hetty Green, you come to the conclusion that this woman had so much, but yet she lived as if she had absolutely nothing. There is a story in the Bible as we continue through the book of Judges that you and I know. It's the story of Samson and we finally get to the judge we know a little bit about. The more I studied this man, the more it became clear that this man was like that miser. He had so much, but he lived as if he had absolutely nothing. When you think of Samson, you think of a man who never cut his hair.

That's right. He was a Nazarite. You think of a man who was brawny and strong. He was the Hercules of the Old Testament.

You think of a man who was finally knocked flat by that featherweight named Delilah. That's what we know about Samson. But the more I studied this man's story, it was clear to me that this was a judge God first of all gave more time in the book of Judges to than any other judge. And also, this is the only judge where God gives an entire chapter to tell us about his mother and his father.

So let's start at the beginning of the story in Judges chapter 13 verse 1. Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years. The backdrop of the story is Philistine domination. They are the worst nightmare in Israel's history, at least up to this point. They will rule with such tyranny that no smithy was allowed to practice in Israel, lest they make swords and spears. We also know from the book of 1 Samuel that an Israelite farmer had to gain permission to even sharpen his axe because the Philistines were so oppressive and so careful. In fact, they would not be conquered until King David comes along and wipes them finally out. In fact, what you discover if you will read and study these chapters is that Israel is silent. They have become assimilated into the Philistine kingdom. They have begun openly intermarrying with this pagan group, a violation of the Abrahamic covenant.

And they have arrived at the place, we think, where they really don't care if they are delivered or not. Against this kind of backdrop we are introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Manoah. Look at verse 2.

There was a certain man of Zorah of the family of the Danites whose name was Manoah and his wife were never given her name, was barren and bore no children. Now notice how their world is interrupted in verse 3. Then at that point in the middle of this apostasy to a couple who it seems are not able to even fulfill the Abrahamic covenant for themselves, the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. What wonderful words to this woman.

Words like conceive and birth and son. Notice how she seems to be selected by God and I think as we study their lives you'll know why. Notice how she runs to her husband and tells him the news in verse 6. Then the woman came and told her husband saying, a man of God came to me. She didn't know he was the angel of the Lord and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God.

Very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from nor did he tell me his name. She was so excited. But he said to me, behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son and now you shall not drink nor eat any unclean thing for the boy shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. Guess what, honey?

I saw somebody that looked like an angel and he came to me and he said, you're going to conceive and give birth to a son and he's going to be a Nazarite from the womb for life. I would imagine Manoah looking at his wife and saying, you into the wineskins again? Interesting thing is that what we observe however is respect. He never doubted.

You remember some of the older Old Testament couples who laughed at the news of God and not do. He believed it. In fact, I think what we find here and I'm going to pause just enough to give you what I discovered in this chapter as three ingredients of a very good marriage.

Ingredient number one would be mutual respect. He believes her story is wild as it sounds. Number two, spiritual oneness. She comes to him and tells him the story and what does he do? He takes this to God and he leads her in prayer.

This is what we could call spiritual oneness. They come to this crisis, this crossroads and their experience and what does Manoah do? He says, honey, we better pray about this. In fact, look at the prayer.

It's great. Verse eight. Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, oh Lord, please let the man of God whom thou has sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is about to be born. He seemed to run everywhere else but to God for advice.

He goes to God. Now the angel of the Lord will reappear not to give added information about how to parent but really how to give added information that is for himself or about himself. Look at verse 17. And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, what is your name?

So that when your words come to pass, we may honor you. See, he still doesn't recognize that this is the angel of the Lord. We call it theologically a theophany. This is a visible expression of a sliver of God's glory. No one has ever seen his total glory and lived. This is a visible expression of God. Perhaps even Christ, the pre-incarnate Christ who comes and the angel's answer to Manoah's question is absolutely tremendous. Look at verse 18. But the angel of the Lord said to him, we know who he is by the way.

Why do you ask my name? Seeing it is wonderful. You can translate that word. It is incomprehensible. I don't mean to trivialize what his answer was on the basis of that illustration, but what he is saying is, listen, it's too much for you.

I can't explain it. Your little finite mind can't grasp everything about me. So just call me wonderful.

Just call me incomprehensible. Now go on. Look at verse 19. So Manoah took the kid with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord and he performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on.

Here's the wonder he performed by the way. Verse 20, for it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. Verse 22, so Manoah said to his wife, we shall surely die for we have seen God. But his wife said to him, if the Lord had desired to kill us, he would not have accepted a burn offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would he have shown us all these things, nor would he have let us hear things like this at this time. And I can just hear Manoah saying, you're right honey.

I didn't think about that. Ingredient number three, mutual teachability. Here's the leader of the home spiritually allowing his wife to instruct him spiritually. Not only is their dedication to each other obvious, their dependence on God is too.

You need to recognize men and women that we're dealing with a couple here that doesn't really seem like God has been all that great to them. It is possible to have the best of life in the worst of times. It was not an easy time for them to live and love and believe and trust. It was a terrible time to raise a family. The Philistines dominating, immorality rampant. Has the world ever been secure?

Has it ever been easy? You take it from Mr. and Mrs. Manoah that even in times like that it is possible to have the kind of life that honors God. We have no excuse on the basis of our culture. We cannot scream pressure in sinning. But something happened here between chapter 13 and chapter 14. It doesn't tell us what, but you know something rather strange happened. We know from the kinds of people that this husband and wife were that they raised Samson according to the Nazarite vow.

They were committed even from the womb. It says that she began to perform the Nazarite vow. But yet here we find the last part of chapter 13 we see young Samson strong and the text tells us I think it's in the latter part of that chapter. It tells us in verse 25 it says the Spirit of God began to stir Samson.

The word stir is a word used of a musical instrument being tuned by the musician. Samson's being tuned. He's getting ready to be played upon by the Spirit of God.

Yet the first few words of chapter 14 shout problems. Something's gone wrong. Well, let's take a look at him. Is hair cut? No, it's never been cut, he boasts. Has he ever touched a wineskin? No, never has. Touched a dead body?

No. Yet you find him in chapter 14 headed for a Philistine village to pick out a wife. What's the problem?

Rule number two. Samson grasped the code of separation but he missed the concept of holiness. Same problem exists today. He had it all on the outside. He looked like a Nazarite, smelled like one, sounded like one. Inside he was a pagan.

We have the same difficulty today in trying to keep the balance between how we look and what we are like on the inside. Let me read you what Elizabeth Elliot includes in one of her books about a young man eager to forsake the world and live for Jesus Christ. And he asks believers, what must I forsake? Listen to the answers that he was given.

They're recorded for us. Forsake colored clothing. Get rid of everything in your wardrobe that is not white. Stop sleeping on a soft pillow.

Sell your musical instrument. If you are sincere about following Christ, do not take warm baths and never shave your beard. To shave is to attempt to improve on the work of him who created us. The problem with Samson is that he had all the outward trappings but he ignored inner holiness.

His hair was long but his heart was disobedient. Now let's go back to Judges and take a look at principle number three. This follows closely on the heels of this.

Anyone who ignores internal quality will be governed by external attraction. Look at chapter 14 verse 1. Then Samson went down to Timna and saw a woman in Timna, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So he came back and told his father and mother, I saw a woman in Timna, one of the daughters of the Philistines. Now, therefore, get her for me as a wife. See, the custom of this day was for the mom and dad to arrange the marriage. This text is interesting because in the Hebrew, the word woman is emphasized.

If I could paraphrase it to give you the picture of what Samson is saying, it would be something like this. Dad, mom, I went down to Timna the other day and I saw a woman. Get her for me. Now there's nothing wrong with that, by the way.

Nothing wrong with physical attraction. I married the gal who knocked me flat. I'm sure you guys could say the same.

You'd better say the same. I can go back to that first encounter sitting in British literature class in college. I love to go to British literature. I sat in the back and this brunette sat over on the left by the window and I watched her. The sunlight coming through that window wore right off her blue eyes, sent a ray right back and it carved out my heart and there it lay on the ground.

Nothing wrong with that. The problem was Samson was looking in the wrong direction. He was off limits and so his parents react with shock. Look at verse three. Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives or among all your people that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines? There was quite a brouhaha.

You could hear it three blocks down. Mrs. Manoah is going crazy. We raised you in Nazarite. We've done our best for you and now it's time to choose a wife. Is no one here among the Jewish nation good enough for you? You go seeking one of them and they were dead right. You could almost see Samson's teeth clenched with defiance. In the last part of verse three he says, get her for me. You notice the very first words recorded by Samson's lips are I saw a woman and that is what will take his life in the end.

It leads me to the fourth. A parent committed to the word may never reap godliness in a child. I have talked with parents who have broken hearts. I've received phone calls over ten years of ministry. Steven, my son or daughter has been picked up by the police.

Would you come down to the station? It is possible for spiritual parents to raise children who turn out rejecting their values immoral. Would you look at the resources that Samson rejected? He had been given so much. He had been born miraculously. My own wife was one of those kind of miracle babies, you know, wasn't supposed to be born and that's special.

Perhaps you're one of those too. Samson wasn't even supposed to be conceived. It was miraculous and I'm sure they reminded him, listen you're special. He had godly parents who loved the Lord, who loved each other. He was blessed with a unique mission from God and he was empowered by the Spirit of God to do the work. He had all of that and he said goodbye to all of that. Number five, Samson's own life though mirrored the failure of Israel as a nation. You see, this is I think what God was doing behind the scenes.

His life was a sermon in itself. Samson refused the authority of God's command. So did Israel. They were idolatrous, they were intermarrying with the Philistines. Samson secondly refused the parameters of the Nazarite vows, we'll see, and so did Israel reject its covenant parameters. And thirdly, Samson refused the counsel of godly parents.

So the Jews refused the counsel of their spiritual authority. We know from the book of Samuel that Eli was the priest during this episode. And granted Eli was immoral, well his sons were immoral and he was weak.

Perhaps that was one of the reasons the people did all that they did. But would you notice a phrase repeated twice? The last part of verse three again, she looks good. Look down at verse seven.

So he went down and he talked to this woman and she looked good. Now I want you to take your Bibles and turn to the end of this book, chapter 21, verse 25, and I want you to take a look at what it says. What's the problem with the nation of Israel? And everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.

We're going to do whatever looks good to us. Samson is the person who will live that way and die tragically as the Israelite nation will never again until years and years later experience liberty. Number six, the failure of God's people never derail the purposes of God.

I need to add this because it's important here at this juncture. God's intentions do not become paralyzed by your sin or mine. God is sovereign. His work will go on.

We just want to be part of it in a positive way. But Samson would fulfill his destiny by beginning to deliver the Israelites even though he is in sin. That is God will fulfill his purposes. Look down at verse five. Then Samson went down to Timna with his father and mother and came as far as the vineyards of Timna. And behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. And the spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily so that he tore him as one tears a goat or a kid, though he had nothing in his hand, but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

Skip to verse eight. When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. So he scraped the honey into his hands and went on eating as he went. And when he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it, but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.

Why? Because he had violated the Nazarite vow. He had touched a dead body. Does God strike him down? No. Does thunder come from heaven?

No. Samson instead brashly turns his whole episode into a riddle at the wedding party. Look further at verse 10. Then his father went down to the woman and Samson made a feast there for the young men customarily did this.

The problem is the Hebrew word feast means drinking orgy. We don't know for sure that it's possible since he already violated that parameter of his vow and touching a dead thing that he would also drink the fruit of the vine here. Did God strike him down? Did thunder come from heaven? Was God fulfilling his purposes even though Samson was sinning?

Yeah. But this leads me to the tragic story. Samson maybe took God's silence as apathetic or approval.

Look at principle number seven. I don't want to give you one of the most deceptive incentives to sin is the idea that God doesn't seem in a hurry to execute judgment or discipline. You and I may live our lives rebelling against God and he may never strike us down, but our lives will pay a thousand times over the penalty for our sin. The party's thrown, the riddle's given, look at verse 12 of chapter 14. Then Samson said to them, let me now propound a riddle to you, verse 14. So he said to them, out of the eater came something to eat and out of the strong came something sweet.

We know what he's talking about, the lion and the honey. The Philistine men can't figure it out, okay? They're going to lose their bet and they're going to, oh, Samson, 30 new Easter outfits if they can't find out the answer. So what they do is they go to the little bride, this little Philistine gal, and they say, listen, sweetie, you got Samson around your little finger.

You figure it out and you come tell us. So verse 16 and Samson's wife wept before him and said, you only hate me. You do not love me. Hellish, you know what this means? This means for 5,000 years women have been doing this to their husbands and we still haven't figured it out. But boys, Samson was cold.

You know why? Look at the next verse, verse 17. She wept before him for seven days. I don't know how long you can last. He lasted seven days and it came about on the seventh day that he told her because she pressed him so hard.

I love it. Samson will lose the bet and he will lose his wife. The trouble is Samson will not learn from experience and this takes me to that final lesson.

We'll look at it more in the future next session. Number eight, a man controlled by his passions or woman may never gain insight from his past. You don't necessarily learn from your mistakes unless you allow God to teach you. See the key word in verse 17 is the word pressed. You know that is the same word used in chapter 16, verse 16 when it tells us that Delilah urged him, same word. He pressured him.

How? With tears. Two chapters later this same man falls prey to the same thing only it's a different name.

This time it's Delilah. He is overcome by her tears and pressure and he lets out a secret that ultimately jeopardizes his life. A person who is controlled by their passions, men and women, is a person who is floating through the sea of life without a compass.

They are moving without understanding. That's probably why Solomon wrote and he would experience it later. He says these words. Why should you my son be exhilarated with an adulterous and embrace the bosom of a foreigner for the ways of man or before the eyes of the Lord and he watches all his paths. His own iniquities will capture him and he will be held with the cords of his own sin. He will die for lack of instruction and in the greatness of his foolishness he will go astray. The last record of Samson's parents are found over in chapter 16 verse 31.

Look at that and we'll close right of time. There's mom and dad. God evidently gave them more children. It says then his brothers and all his father's household came down, took him, brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Ashtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father.

The man who had it all threw it all away. This message from our Vintage Wisdom series in Judges is called The Man Who Had It Made. Stephen Davey is our daily Bible teacher here on this broadcast. Stephen also pastors the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. If you have a comment, a question or would like more information you can send us an email. Simply address it to info at wisdomonline.org. If you come across a passage that's confusing or if you encounter a teaching that you need to have clarified, Stephen would like to help you. We post Stephen's answers online because it's likely that someone might have already asked a question that you have.

You can go and look and read through all of the questions and answers that are there. But for you personally, if you have a question that you want Stephen to answer, address it to info at wisdomonline.org and once Stephen's answered it we'll add it to the collection. Of course you can also use that email address for any general correspondence you have with us. If you have a question or a comment about our ministry, send it to info at wisdomonline.org. We also have a magazine that we publish monthly. We send Heart to Heart magazine to all of our Wisdom partners. But we'd be happy to send you the next three issues if you'd like to see it for yourself. You can sign up for it on our website or you can call us today. Our number is 866-48-BIBLE. Thanks for joining us today. Be back next time for more wisdom for the heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-13 16:02:13 / 2023-03-13 16:12:24 / 10

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