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Samson: He Despised His Heritage
Scripture: Matthew 4:8-9; Ephesians 2:1-5; Judges 1...
Track 1 of 5 in the The Weight of the World series
Running time: 1 hour, 04 minutes

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

The World is a deadly place. God tells us there is no hope there. Real life can't be found there and real joy that leads to peace is found somewhere else. For most Christians, they understand these truths and will say, "Amen", when they hear these truths preached. So why is it so many Christians still like to go down to the world and play in its dirt? Why are so many Christians fascinated by its lights, its music and the lure of its noise? Can a Christian have one foot in the Kingdom of God while at the same time have the other foot in the world? So many try and so many have paid the consequences in doing so.

Today you and I live in a world that has so many things to offer. The options are endless and if we aren't careful to know what God desires for us, we can fall deep into the trap the world lays for us and can be dragged back into the pit that held us captive to sin. It is a dangerous thing to do when one plays with the ways of the world while at the same time pursuing a life of holiness and godliness. In fact, not only is it dangerous, it is also impossible to pursue the life pleasing to God.

The world is a place of splendor. It is full of things that are pleasing to the eye and our human senses and desires are attracted to them. Satan knows this and one of his tactics is to lure us in by their beauty.

Matthew 4: 8-9 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

Satan wants all mankind to worship him as God and he uses the lie of satisfaction in the world to get it. His promises are a lie and Paul reminds us of the pain we once had and the place we came from and how our life as made better in Jesus

Ephesians 2:1-5 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.

So how do some believers in Christ forget such a beautiful gift of grace? What would cause them to go back to something they were rescued from?

What influences out there are pulling at you everyday that go against what God wants for you? What are the conflicts a Christian has to fight against and where are the sources for these conflicts. How powerful is the flesh?

In this series I plan to use Samson as an example of how heavy the world can be should we decide to carry it around as we live our lives everyday. Samson is the perfect example of a man who had a heart for God but also had a deep desire for the worldly things around him. His playing with the world brought him stress, heartache, disaster and eventually caused him to lose the things that were precious to him. Samson was a man who had super strength over other men but was a weakling when it came to controlling himself. I hope you can learn some valuable lessons from the mistakes Samson made so you don't fall into the same traps as he did.

Judges 13:1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

We studied the Book of Judges a few years ago and the main theme that runs throughout this period in Israel's history is the pattern of Israel falling away from God and worshiping other gods; God allows Israel to fall into bondage by an oppressive neighbor, Israel cries out for mercy and help from God and then God sends a judge to rescue them from their oppression. This pattern happens 13 times.

But what is interesting about 13:1, it is different than all the other times this pattern takes place. This fits right in with everything I want to teach about Samson and the Philistines. When the Philistines become the oppressors of Israel, the encroachment was benevolent enough in character that Israel seemingly consented to it, not realizing the awful danger of losing their identity by socializing with the Philistines. Israel had been down this road many times before; it really was no longer any big deal. But the Philistines were a ruthless people and quickly Israel really felt the pain of the oppression from the Philistines.

Are we as a society becoming numb to some of the most awful things humans can do to each other? Is there anything out there anymore that shocks you? How many Christians, because they are so use to hearing about the evil, don't really fear the evil and even enjoy being around it unaware of the dangers that are close by? Give me some examples.

Samson will be the last of the judges. Samuel who followed him also judged Israel but his judgeship and role as a prophet basically ushered Israel into a new era, the monarchy of Israel. Samson was the last of the judges and he judged for 20 years. We know very little about the value of his judgeship and we don't know how he ruled. We only know of his personal qualities and the personal difficulties he struggled with. He did not rid Israel of the Philistines. This doesn't happen until David becomes king. They were utterly destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar took Judah captive in 650 BC.

When you look at the birth of Samson and then look at his life, one has to wonder what God's purpose was in calling such a man to be judge. We have to remember that God uses evil people to accomplish his will. God was not ready for Samson to rid Israel of the Philistines because he will need them to destroy the corrupt kingdom of Saul. God also used Samson as a testimony before the Israelites of the superiority of Jehovah over the Philistine gods. Finally, God will use Samson's life to provide illustrated answers for many questions that arose among God's people. His story teaches

The evils of mixed or foreign marriages
The folly of loose sexual relations
Playing with temptation is foolish
Bodily strength like all gifts is from God
Keeping those gifts depends on one's obedience to God's law

Judges 13:2-5 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, "You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines."

Like any normal wife, she runs and tells her husband what had happened. Notice here the wife's name is not revealed. In fact, her name is never known. She is married to a man named Manoah and they live in a city called Zorah that is located about 15 miles west of Jerusalem and 15 miles east of Ekron, one of the 5 main cities of the Philistines. The area today is covered by heavy forest and rolling hills falling toward the sea.

Like any normal man, he wanted to talk with this guy who told his wife she was going to have a baby. Manoah believes his wife and wants to make sure they both handle this baby situation correctly so he prays to God for the man to come back and give them further instructions. The angel returns to the wife but Manoah was not with her. She runs and gets Manoah and the angel repeats to Manoah what he originally said to the wife.

Judges 13:11-12 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, "Are you the one who talked to my wife?" "I am," he said. So Manoah asked him, "When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy's life and work?"

These two verses tell us a lot about what is going on. What does this say about Samson's parents? About the angel?

Judges 13:15-22 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you." The angel of the LORD replied, "Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD." (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.) Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, "What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?" He replied, "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding. SLIDE 10: Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD. "We are doomed to die!" he said to his wife. "We have seen God!"

The name of this angel is more than a name beyond understanding, the Hebrew used here is the same name Isaiah uses in Isaiah 9:6. The name is "Wonderful". Notice how many times the "angel of the Lord" is used. It is used in every verse but one and the one it is not used in, the name refers to the Messiah. This angel is the same angel that appeared to a very few in the scriptures. He appeared to Moses, Gideon, Joshua, Zechariah, Manoah and his wife. Only one woman saw the angel of Jehovah and it was Samson's mother. The Angel of the Lord of the Angel of Jehovah is God's preincarnate Son, Jesus.

What does this say about the importance of Samson and his life? What does it say about his family heritage? How important was family heritage back then? How important is it today?

Judges 13:24-25 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him, and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

These last two verses give us 6 facts about Samson:

His birth
His sex
His name
His growth
His divine blessing
The Spirit of God was working in him

From what we read I the last two verses in Judges 13, what could you say about the young man Samson? If you were one of his neighbors, what would be the general description of Samson?

Judges 14:1-4 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, "I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife." His father and mother replied, "Isn't there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me. She's the right one for me." (His parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)

Whoa, what is this all about? I thought Samson was the ideal young man who was gifted by God, had the Holy Spirit working in him and was blessed by God? Here we see the first of many stupid mistakes our hero will make in his life.

In fact, there are several mistakes in this passage that Samson makes? What are they? Wants to marry outside of his faith; picked a woman to marry based solely on seeing her - he didn't have a conversation with her; ignored the pleading of his parents and their advice; was rude and disrespectful to his father.

Notice here that it was his eyes that got him into trouble. He saw her and from his eyes, his desire to have her was aroused. How many times do our eyes get us into trouble? How powerful are our eyes when tempted to sin? What should Samson have done to keep himself from making a mistake? What about us, what should we do to keep from making the same mistake?