Previously we looked at David, the son of Jesse, the shepherd boy, the musician at the court of King Saul, the victor over the Philistine champion – Goliath. Tonight we will study about another of God’s servants that challenged the Philistines about 40 years before David was born. He judged Israel in the time of the Priest Eli and the beginning of the ministry of Samuel.
The Israelites had been contending with their old enemies, the various tribes of the Canaanites. During the times of the Judges, a major enemy the Israelites faced were the Philistines. The Philistines had been in the land for centuries, Abraham, Isaac, Israel having dealings with them. The main group of Philistines migrated at a later time, coming from the southern region of Greece, through Crete and then into Canaan. They were commonly known as “Sea Peoples”, although some did travel overland and had interactions with the Hittites. The Philistines were determined to conquer and control the land, whether they faced the Canaanites or the Israelites. While Israel fought with them throughout the time of the Judges, the great deliverance began with God’s calling of Samson to judge His people.
Judges 13:1-5 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
I. The Fear and the faith of the parents. Judges 13:19-22
II. The Faith and obedience of Samson.
Judges 13:24-25 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Judges 15:20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
III. The Failure of Samson.
After 20 years of judging the people, Samson became weary in well doing. He became one of those written of in Judges – “He did that which was right in his own eyes.” Samson submitted himself to the lie presented to the world in the familiar formula used by Satan from the beginning –
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
A. He went to the wrong place.
Judges 16:1a Then went Samson to Gaza,
Samson had no business in Gaza. He did not challenge the enemy nor did he fight them when the opportunity arose.
B. He went to the wrong person. “The lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh”
Judges 16:1b …and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.
Judges 16:4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
He sought out women who had no godly character. The unnamed harlot and the materialistic Delilah both measured their value in gold. They had not Godly virtue and they could be bought by whoever had the highest price, unlike the Godly woman.
Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
C. He went with the wrong principles. “…The pride of life”.
1. In Gaza.
He simply walked away, mocking them with his strength. He did not use his strength for good, but simply for a show.
2. In Sorek.
When questioned without end of the source of his power, Samson was not forthright about his relationship with God as a Nazarite. His pride and ego found pleasure in the sinful and challenging relationship with Delilah. He delighted in the game, not considering that the first priority in his life should be God. His sinful pride led him into captivity. The four steps reveal the strength that pride has over wisdom –
a. He told the unbelievable story of the seven green withes (cords) 16:7
b. He told the more believable story of the new ropes. 16:11
c. He told the near truth having to do with his hair. 16:13
d. He told the truth – His hair was a sign of his position with God as a Nazarite. The hair is cut to signify the end of the dedication as a Nazarite. 16:17
His sinful pride led him to a place that he never expected he would be. He was completely caught by surprise
Judges 16:20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
Do we know tonight that the Lord is with us? We must stay close and never get weary in well doing!