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Toying with Temptation

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
April 24, 2024 12:00 am

Toying with Temptation

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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April 24, 2024 12:00 am

In this episode, we delve into the captivating yet cautionary tale of Samson from the book of Judges, particularly focusing on chapter 16. Samson, often remembered as the Herculean figure of the Old Testament, reveals a deeper narrative of temptation, compromise, and tragic consequences.

Key Points:

  1. The Whales and the Sardines: We begin by drawing a poignant analogy between Samson's pursuit of forbidden pleasures and whales chasing sardines, ultimately leading to their demise.

  2. Samson's Slide into Tragedy: Despite his immense potential and divine calling, Samson's life serves as a vivid illustration of Israel's spiritual decline. His actions reflect the nation's apathy and rebellion against God.

  3. The Slippery Slope: Samson's journey starts innocuously with a desire for a Philistine woman, setting off a chain of events that culminate in his downfall.

  4. The Illusion of Invincibility: As Samson displays incredible physical strength, his moral integrity crumbles. Power without purity becomes his downfall.

  5. Internet Trail vs. Life Trail: Drawing parallels to modern-day struggles, we reflect on how our choices shape our trajectory and the importance of staying vigilant against temptation.

  6. Prayer for Strength: We conclude with a prayer from "The Valley of Vision," seeking God's strength to resist temptation and walk in His ways.

Join us as we unpack the timeless lessons embedded in Samson's narrative and glean wisdom for navigating the temptations of our own lives.

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The days of the judges, you remember, the people of Israel did that which was right in their own what?

Eyes. Samson is going to be the epitome of the Israelite nation. Get her for me, she's right to me in my eyes. She may not love God, but she looks good. See we often run in this story to Samson and Delilah and forget that the story actually begins with Samson and a Philistine girl in a village named Timna. Welcome to this broadcast of Wisdom for the Hearts. Stephen Davey is the president of Wisdom International. His passion is to accurately and faithfully proclaim God's Word. Today, God's Word has a truth that cuts right to the heart of our battle with sin. Your greatest obstacle to purity is not the culture in which you live, dissatisfaction with your circumstances, or even the devil. Your greatest obstacle to purity is you.

Does that sound harsh? Well, it's true, and Stephen will show you that in the message called Toying with Temptation. I read some time ago about 300 whales on a beach. Scientists, as I read the article, explained the mystery that these whales had been chasing sardines and had become trapped in shallow water when the tide went out.

A creature so massive, so powerful, so impressive, effectively lured into a death trap by a creature so much smaller and unimpressive and weaker. Take your Bibles and turn to the book of Judges. While you're turning, when the average Christian thinks about Samson, they tend to think of several things. He was a person who never spent a nickel in a barber shop, right? We have that one down. He was Mr. Hercules of the Old Testament.

We envision something like that. He was the reigning heavyweight champion of the ancient world. No, he's more like a whale chasing sardines, forbidden sexual pleasures which will eventually trap him as the tide of his life passes away. It's interesting to me that God gives us more information about this particular judge than just about all the other judges in this book. Judges were individuals who were to set an example in following after God and to lead the people in a way that honored God. But Samson, as you know, does the opposite. In fact, Samson will serve as an illustration of a nation that has abandoned God. Judges chapter 13 verse 1, here's the national backdrop to Samson's life.

This is where we need to begin. Notice what it says, and the people of Israel, we'll back up here to chapter 13 for just a moment, and the people of Israel, again, did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years.

In other words, the nation is going to be harassed, plagued, beaten, subjugated, often murdered by this fierce nation. The Philistines, in fact, will later produce their own version of Hercules, a man we know by the name of Goliath. The Philistines are Israel's worst nightmare. In fact, other Old Testament passages inform us that at one time or another, the Jewish people weren't allowed to even do any metal work, lest they secretly make spears and swords. In fact, they weren't allowed to even sharpen an ax without special permission from the Philistines, which is one of the primary reasons you'll find Samson fighting the Philistines using the jawbone of a donkey because he doesn't own a sword. The days of Samson are the days of Philistine domination, but you need to make sure you understand that this has come about because of Israel's apathy and rebellion.

In fact, during these days, the high priest was a man by the name of Eli, a man whose own sons who served as priests were given to lust and immorality. So the entire nation has reverted into apostasy and rebellion. And what God is going to do, he's going to give them effectively a man who will live out their rebellion, their adulteries against him as Lord. And in so doing, by the way, the Lord is going to give us to this day an incredible illustration of the slide and the collapse of a man caught in the tangle of sexual sin. Now the beginning days of Samson open with great promise, by the way. Samson's parents here in chapter 13 are told by an angel that they're going to have a son, which is somewhat miraculous for this couple in their age and with the fact that she's been unable to have any children. The angel comes to them, appears to them, and delivers to them this wonderful message.

And in fact, it's more than likely a theophany or a Christophany, this angel of the Lord. And they ask him at one point over in verse 17, you know, what is your name of chapter 13. If you look at verse 17, what's your name so that we can honor you. And the angel of the Lord said to them, why do you ask my name seeing it is wonderful.

What an amazing beginning here. You're going to, if you go back to verse five, you're going to behold, you're going to conceive and bear a son and no razor, of all the vows, we won't talk, we don't have time to talk about all of them, but of the vows that a Nazarite would keep to dedicate him as a Nazarite. Verse five tells us the one that we'll focus on. You're going to conceive and bear a son, no razor shall come upon his head for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.

Now so far, so good, everything starts out wonderfully. In fact, an angel by the name of Wonderful comes and delivers the news, you're going to have a son and he's going to be dedicated to the Lord and so among other things, don't ever cut his hair. That'll be a sign of separation unto the Lord. Everything starts out well until Samson reaches young adulthood. Now what I'm going to do is let me divide all of the content we're given on the life of Samson both from this text and in the New Testament as well.

Let me divide this biography into three chapters and I'm going to give you one word as a title for each chapter. The first word in what we'll call the first chapter of Samson's life is the word sliding, sliding. Look at chapter 14, it opens with these unfortunate and shocking words. Now as a young adult, Samson went down to Timnah and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. Then he came up and told his father and mother, I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. A literal translation of Samson's statement here in verse 2 is a woman, the emphasis is there, a woman have I seen in Timnah. Had Samson been an American, he would have said something like this, let me tell you I saw a woman. Let me tell you about the woman I saw.

Now go get her for me. In other words, go arrange the marriage which would have been cultural and customary. Now his parents are startled and upset, rightly so. For one thing, by the way, Samson's first job, so to speak, first act of leadership should have been to do battle with the Philistines, not marry one of them. So here's the epitome of Samson's problem early on and the beginning of his slide down this ravine marked tragedy. Notice verse 3, but his father and mother said to him, is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, read that, who believes in God, or among all our people that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines, which is a long way of saying pagan idolaters. Now notice, but Samson said to his father, get her for me, for she is right in my eyes. The days of the judges, you remember the people of Israel did that which was right in their own what?

Eyes. Samson is gonna be the epitome of the Israelite nation. Get her for me, she's right to me in my eyes. She may not love God, but she looks good. She might represent some kind of compromise, but God isn't gonna deprive me of something or someone I want. And did you notice the first words recorded in the life of Samson are the words I saw. I don't care what God wants, I saw a woman, get her for me and get her now.

That's the beginning of the slide. I'll never forget years ago a young lady who'd gone through her teenage years in our church, later meeting and falling in love with a young man in college. They dated for some time, got engaged, and then made an appointment with me to ask if I would marry them.

And that's always a wonderful opportunity that I enjoy and I was delighted at the prospect. I knew her parents well. As I talked with them in my office about their reasons for marrying, and I'm always listening in this kind of conversation for them to talk about something like this is how God brought us together and we've been praying and we believe God wants us to be together or something like that that lets me know that marriage is made up of three and that's what I'm looking for. And I didn't hear anything about God. In fact, I knew this young lady's testimony. I had baptized her and I knew nothing about his testimony, didn't know anything about him. So I began to ask him questions about the gospel. Within, well, less than five minutes it was very clear to me not only did he not know anything about the gospel, but he didn't care about the gospel. He knew nothing about a relationship with Christ. In fact, it was clear he was in my office because she told him to come with her and she wanted to be married in the church and be married by her pastor and of course by now three or four questions into this her head has dropped down and she's quiet.

She knew. I asked him if he was interested in the claims of Christ, the claims of the gospel, and he very unashamedly told me he wasn't interested at all. And I think he was somewhat intrigued why. She hadn't prepared him very well as to why he would be asking these kinds of questions. What he wanted was to get out of my office as quickly as he could get out. I looked at her at this point and I said, you know why I can't marry you two?

She just kept her head down. I would, I just continued, if I performed this wedding ceremony, I'd be performing it in a church building that would be really tragically ironic because your husband doesn't want anything to do with the church. In fact, worse than that, he doesn't really want anything to do with Christ. So I can't entrust you together in this marriage to Christ whom he rejects.

I went further. I figured this was my only opportunity to talk. I knew he wouldn't be back.

Maybe she would be. I said, you're making an unequal yoke here according to Paul's letter to 2 Corinthians chapter 6. You commanded not to marry an unbeliever. Do you realize you're choosing to disobey the Lord? You're making a choice here between following Jesus Christ and marrying this young man. I felt that I ought to press the decision and I asked her, what's your choice going to be?

With tears streaming down her cheeks, she looked at me and reached over at him and said, I choose him. Maybe you know the heartbreak of hearing a grown son or a grown daughter of yours tell you with similar grit in their teeth like Samson. I'm not buying anything of your faith. I don't care anything about Christ.

I want what I want and if you have anything to do with it, get it for me and get it now. Like the prodigal son who said to his father, give me my money that I've got coming to me and get out of my way. Maybe you've heard something like that. See we often run in this story to Samson and Delilah and forget that the story actually begins with Samson and a Philistine girl in a village named Timna. You don't get to Delilah unless you've passed that warning place. By the way, no one runs to Delilah first.

You don't and I don't. You don't start there. You end there and there are places marked along the path.

You're going to slide by them and see them as you go by, those warning signs as you toboggan down that slide until you crash. See first in Samson's slide there's a Philistine village where he's more than willing to trade away his heritage, his walk with God, his family, any semblance of spiritual conviction all for the sake of sexual attraction that just so happens to be forbidden by God. The slide downward for Samson begins and ends with what Samson sees.

I saw this woman. Someone wrote, one of the greatest laws of spiritual victory is to simply look the other way. Isn't that good?

That's pretty simple, but it's a great law. You're going to need to do that tomorrow and I will too as you return back to your world. You're going to have to look the other way.

That's great by the way. Those happen to be major victories. They are victories. Great law of spiritual victory for Christ is to simply look the other way. For the record, by the way, this marriage here is doomed from the start.

In fact, it never gets past the eighth day which is the day of consummation. This here in chapter 14 is a prelude to the ultimate betrayal later in life by another woman. In fact, I think this first chapter was given to us here in chapter 14 because it reinforces some truth. It gives us insight into truth about temptation. We don't fall in a moment. In fact, by the time you crash, you have more than likely slid past several warning signs along the path.

Parents, friends, co-workers, the Spirit of God, the Word of God may be for you. It's this sermon. You're going to slide right on by. Don't. Stop.

Listen. A person who is in pursuit of his passions will more than likely not gain any insight from his past and Samson learns nothing. In fact, look over at chapter 16. We're not to Delilah yet by the way. Verse 1, Samson went to Gaza and there he saw, emphasis, he saw a prostitute and he went into her. The Gazites were told Samson has come here and they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city.

They kept quiet all night saying, let us wait till the light of the morning then we'll kill him. But Samson laid till 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. Let me tell you what that would be like. That would be like you going out after the service picking up your automobile and putting it on your shoulders and carrying it home. Samson literally pulls up the supporting beams out of the ground, hitches the gates up, they're still locked together and he carries them 38 miles and then throws them on the ground. Here's the real tragedy. Samson appears to be invincible while at the same time he is immoral. The danger in chapter 16 is the fact that Samson seems to get away with it. I mean, keep in mind that the nation Israel thinks they're getting away with their spiritual fornication too. Samson here has power without purity. He has strength without any self-control. He's Hercules without any holiness and that's a dangerous combination. The problem here is that Samson only grows in Israelite legend. The Israelites are thrilled with this latest chapter, this latest demonstration by their undefeated judge.

Never mind that he's been with a prostitute. Look, he's ripped the city gates right out of the ground. Everybody's cheering at Hebron.

They're clapping him on the back. He's probably standing there by the gates while the Israelites line up to take pictures while he poses there by the gates. He's the great judge. Here, Samson, sign my Bible, would you? Make sure you put in your life verse.

Samson has never been more set up to be knocked out than now. In his book entitled, The Next Story, Tim Chally's writes and I quote, you probably heard about this. In 2006, AOL made an epic misjudgment. As part of a research project, the company accidentally made available to the public a massive amount of data culled from the search history of users over a three month period of time. It included 21 million searches online. Before AOL released the data, they had changed all the usernames into anonymous user numbers, but it didn't take long before those numbers were linked to real names. AOL realized its mistake and withdrew the data, but the search histories had already been copied and uploaded on the internet.

Chally offers the following summary. What was remarkable about these searches was the way people transitioned seamlessly from the normal and the mundane to the outrageous and perverse. For instance, one user went from searching for pre-teen pornography to searching for games to use in a church youth activity. Others, spurned by their lovers, sought out ways online of exacting revenge, while others explored ways to cheat on their spouses. Chally's concluded with some questions. What would your data trail say about you?

Would you be willing for your spouse to see it, your parents, your pastors? Our searches are a penetrating window into our hearts. The typical question we might ask after reading that is, well, what would your internet trail say about where you've been?

It's a good question, but I want to highlight another question in light of Samson's pattern of life. It's this. Our internet trail is actually a powerful euphemism for describing the trail we are walking. My question is, where is your trail taking you into the future? It's not just the trail behind us. It's the trail we're creating.

You could even call the trail a rut. Maybe it's right now making or renewing a friend on Facebook that you have no business renewing or making. Maybe it's spending hours gaming with porn programs that titillate, open the door to other addictions. It's marked, by the way, for mature audiences only.

What an oxymoron. It isn't for the mature. It's for those who don't want to grow up, who want to stay immature, for the height of immaturity is living for self-gratification. For those who want to keep sliding downward, for those who want to keep up appearances but really want nothing to do with holiness and purity.

Let me say this. Of all the things that might rattle around in your mind, you might think, well, you know, they don't represent Delilah. Oh, but they may be taking you to a Philistine village and some anonymous individual from Timna.

They might be taking you to the town of Gaza where you're anonymous, but that toboggan is picking up speed and danger is just ahead. In Chuck Swindoll's book, The Quest for Character, he writes these perceptive words, life is a jungle. At the most unsuspecting moment we are pounced upon. Treacherous assaults have a way of knocking us off balance as they wrap themselves around us. No wonder an older man named Solomon would write, listen my son and be wise and keep your heart on the right path.

There are good ruts, by the way, to stay in those. Today's message gave you biblical insight into your battle with sin and principles you can use in dealing with your sin today. This is wisdom for the heart. Your Bible teacher is Stephen Davey. In addition to being the president of our ministry, Wisdom International, he's also the president of Shepherds Theological Seminary located in Cary, North Carolina. If you'd like to learn more about our ministry, I invite you to visit our webpage, which is wisdomonline.org. In addition to information, you'll also be able to access the archive of Stephen's teaching resources.

The audio and printed manuscript of all of his messages are posted there for you to access free of charge. You'll also find a resource section that contains Stephen's books, commentaries, Bible study guides and more. I invite and encourage you to spend some time exploring wisdomonline.org. You're going to find practical instruction and encouragement from the Bible that'll help you walk wisely through life. Each of the resources you'll find there is designed to help you know what the Bible says, understand what it means, and apply it to your life. I'm confident you'll find that to be true, so visit wisdomonline.org today. If we can assist you personally, our number is 866-48-BIBLE.

That's 866-482-4253. The staff would be glad to speak with you, get to know you, and help you in any way. I also want to make sure you know that the Ministry of Wisdom International is made possible by the gifts we receive from our listeners, so thank you for supporting us. We heard from a supporter who wrote this, I'm blessed to be able to support Wisdom International and help keep the program heard around the world. The program has greatly enriched my spiritual life and understanding of the gospel. I often pray for your ministry that all needs will be met. Thanks, Lois, for writing to us. When we come back next time, Stephen's going to continue this series that he's called, Breaking Up Stony Ground. Be sure and join us for that, right here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-24 00:47:20 / 2024-04-24 00:56:32 / 9

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