He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. Judges 16: 20-22, NIV
Samson’s mother was barren, unable to conceive yet the Lord appeared to she and her husband and prophesied that they would have a son.
The Lord said to them,
“You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” (Judges 14:3-5, NIV)Samson, was destined for greatness. But something happened along the way. While Samson was gifted with unusual strength, some other characteristics got in the way of all he could have been.
Never become so confident in the gift that you forget about the Giver.
The famous Rhythm and Blues group, the Temptations was arguably one of the greatest singing groups of their era. Dressed sharp, voices from every key in an octave, good looking and dance steps out of this world! And while all of them were extremely talented, gifted and soloists in their own right, one stood out – David Ruffin. Who could forget, “My Girl,” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg…” to name a few. We are still singing “My Girl” today! In 2008, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him as one of the top 100 singers of all times.
But David had a problem…he was gifted sure enough, but his group members saw him as a braggart, couldn’t get along with anybody…always wanted to steal the spotlight and eventually ended up splintering the group. Though extremely gifted, though he experienced great levels of fame, his life ended up in shambles. He fell into a life of drugs, showing up late or not showing up at all to performances and ultimately died a violent death.
In our text for today, Samson had loving, doting, accommodating parents who sought to honor all that the Angel told them to do regarding raising him. In spite of all of that, Samson had a temperament that led to his ultimate destruction. What are some lessons that we can learn from the life of Samson, in order that we may avoid the same pitfalls…avoid becoming too enthralled with our gifts and ignoring the Giver of gifts?
(1) Don’t flirt with the enemy – Samson was so arrogant, so sure of himself, so full of himself that he believed he could “rest in the lap” of the enemy and still prevail. Delilah showed who she was time and time again. Yet Samson kept putting himself in harms way. He thought that he could outsmart the enemy. In the final analysis, the enemy used Samson’s own pride and foolishness to defeat him. The enemy had no power against him. They had no understanding of where his strength came from. They could not bind him, hold him down, block him, overtake him until he gave them what was needed to use against him. In our lives, the enemy has no power over us. He cannot block our blessings, he cannot keep us down…he cannot take away our strength. We, however, CAN give the enemy the keys to defeat us when we continue to place ourselves in situations and circumstances that are out of God’s will for our lives, when we think ourselves to be smarter and stronger in our own strength and when we are filled with pride and arrogance.
(2) You can be gifted and still be a fool! – Samson is one of two individuals who the Bible declares, “The Spirit of the Lord left…” King Saul and Samson. The text says
He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.” Samson was so sure of himself, so “full” of himself that he ignored all he’d been taught, all of his responsibilities as a leader and followed only his own fleshly desires and prideful proclivities. Clearly he did not listen to the voice of the Lord. So often people become so confident in their own giftedness that they believe that they are invincible…that the Lord is with them no matter how they behave. Don’t be a fool! All that we are, all of our gifts, all of our talents, all of our opportunities, all of our victories – EVERYTHING comes from the LORD!!! When we choose to step outside of godly ways, godly wisdom, godly discernment…when we are arrogant and prideful – full of ourselves and convinced that we have everything under control, we subject ourselves to defeat and destruction. Many a gifted person, many an anointed person has lost opportunities, blessings, opened doors, joy, peace, fulfillment and prosperity because they refused to listen, refused to follow, refused to be humble and instead followed their own prideful inclinations. There is the principle of reaping and sewing. The Lord is gracious, but the Lord can allow the consequences of our foolish ways to play out in many instances. Never believe that being gifted, anointed, called, set apart exempts you from losing blessings that God has intended for you. Consequences can be long, hard and painful. Some damage is irreparable. Some losses are cannot be retrieved. Samson lost everything because of his foolish and prideful ways. His spirit was arrogant and uncontrolled. His fall was great.
(3) Finally, God’s plans and purposes will prevail in spite of us. – Although Samson lost everything, including his freedom, his respect, his role as a leader, his family and his eyesight, God still used him to accomplish his life’s purpose to defeat the Philistines. In the end, Samson was avenged. His hair grew back. His strength came back. He was able to push down the pillars of the temple where the Philistines were feasting and making fun of him. They all were crushed to death, including Samson. God’s plans and purposes were accomplished, ultimately through Samson. But what a tragic way for it to happen. Who knows how Samson could have been used to bring down the Philistines through an invasion or through a victorious battle. Who knows how this story might have been differently written if Samson were not so uncontrolled, lustful, arrogant and foolish.
What am I saying? Whether we choose to honor God with our lives or not, whether we choose to follow godly principles or not, whether we choose to listen or not, God will still get the glory, God will still have His way, God will still use our gifts to bring about the results He wants, but we can become casualties of our own foolishness. There are consequences to foolish ways. Don’t flirt with the enemy…remember, you can be gifted and still be a fool…in spite of us, God’s will shall prevail. The paths of life and death are ever before us. Choose life. Honor God with your gifts, not just with lip service, but with faith, obedience, humility and reverence.
Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,