Judges 13 samson   the big point
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Judges 13 samson the big point

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Here are the slides that go with the first sermon video from Simon Bowkett at Grace Christian Community Llandeilo in the series: 'Samson - flawed hero' which you can find here: ...

Here are the slides that go with the first sermon video from Simon Bowkett at Grace Christian Community Llandeilo in the series: 'Samson - flawed hero' which you can find here: http://youtu.be/Fve-0sDQmCY

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  • We’re starting a mini series this morning about some dark and some difficult days … the days of Samson, twelfth and last of the Judges.His twenty years as judge of Israel seem to have coincided with the 40 years of Philistine oppression mentioned in 13:1 … the second part of it.So he probably ruled from the battle of Aphek (in which Israel was defeated and the ark of the covenant captured (1 Samuel 4:1-11) and the battle of Mizpah in which Samuel crushed the Philistines and ended their oppression (1 Samuel 7:2-12).Samson, then, grew up during Eli’s ministry at Shiloh, began to lead Israel in the West as Jephthah was active in the East … around the time of Eli’s death, and he continued until the prophet Samuel rose to the leadership of God’s people.Samson seems to have died around 5 years before Saul ascended the throne of Israel around 1075 BC.Israel had come out of Egypt, across the Red Sea and into an awareness of some sort that they were the rescued, ransomed and redeemed people of God.But they were still no more than a loose tribal league.They had no structure, order or system of government … and that had consequences for the lives of the people.There was an organised priesthood at Shiloh which was the nearest there was to organised government, but the Judges were just emergency leaders raised up for specific crises.It wasn’t so much a failed state, as a state that had not yet been established.If the people were faithful this should have been sufficient, but they weren’t faithful and the judges didn’t stop the rot.The spiritual consequences are pretty clearly established in the mind of the author of Judges:Judges 17:6 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”Judges 18:1 “In those days Israel had no king.”Judges 19:1 “In those days Israel had no king.”Judges 21:25 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”The history of Samson comes in two parts … there’s his rise to leadership in Judges 13-15 then a long gap before chapters 15-16.Incidentally, we only read of some edgy behaviour from Samson in the stories we have … Hebrews 11:32 indicates that in the interim he was a faithful servant of the Lord.But that’s considerably jumping the gun.Two key points of consciousness to remember, then, as we approach this outline of the life of Samuel in the book of Judges …So the Israel we’re dealing with had no ‘proper’ system of government which the author of this book sees as having had definite spiritual and behavioural consequences, but secondly Israel lived under a Divine commission, the commission to enter the Promised Land and drive from it the utterly immoral Canaanite idolaters whose conduct was abhorrent to God and whose continued presence in the land would make the people of God just as godless as themselves if they were not separated from and driven back to a distance.It looks pretty much, then, as if the account is written during the days of the monarchy in Israel (Biblically a bit of a mixed blessing, of course, arising because people weren’t content to live with God as their King but pestered Him for a human monarch to be just like the other nations around them … which is not exactly what God had got planned for them!)
  • Historically, the back story and therefore the context of these events looks something like this.The best reckoning is that the events in this chapter occurred about the same time Eli was high priest up in Jerusalem.We can reckon that Eli was the high priest in the days of Samson, and Samuel was the prophet of God by the time Samson was finishing his time as Judge.
  • The lesson at the end of the last chapter is really pretty stark.People get to lean on their leaders, but the trouble with good leaders is that they pass.Jephthah had led Israel for six years … the previous ‘major’ judge … then he died (says Judges 12:7).Then the author lists a set of less prominent judges that followed and died, all in rapid succession giving the impression of the temporary nature of human leadership of the people of God.“8 After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem led Israel … 11 After him, Elon the Zebulunite led Israel for ten years … 13 After him, Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel.”Incidentally this is all being set up for a huge contrast with the 12th judge who is Samson.All these guys listed inn the run-up to Samson are really incredibly wealthy.Ibzan: “… had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He gave his daughters away in marriage to those outside his clan, and for his sons he brought in thirty young women as wives from outside his clan.”Clearly a bigamist, he had the cash to back it AND buy in 30 young women as wives for his sons.Abdon: “… had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys.”That is a HUGE fleet of transport for those days!But the effect of all of this is to paint a picture of being different around the final man in Israel’s long list of Judges, their twelfth great tribal leader, Samson.And at a time when leadership in Israel was sporadic, characterful and (at best) quirky … Samson stands out head and shoulders above them all in the oddity stakes.The man is in a league of his own.In days when our Bible colleges, on both sides of the Atlantic and across the world, see m to turn out leaders who seem terribly uniformly ‘moulded’, it’s good to remember God has room for some variety of character.If nothing else, Judges shows us God uses people of character!But they are not to be leaned on.God is to be leaned on, as the leaders’ passing reminds us.The first lesson we learn before the announcement of the birth of this big strong character Samson, is that the best of God’s leaders will pass.
  • Well, when that former lot passed, it wasn’t long before things went horrible amongst the rescued, ransomed, redeemed people of God.See? Amongst THEM!The Israelites … the chosen line … they did manifold unspecified ‘evil’ … and they did it as God reckoned it: ‘in the eyes of the LORD’.You can bet they didn’t do evil in their own eyes.Sin is not a subjective judgement.It’s not a matter of how sinful people see things – our perspective is altered because the stuff we are swimming in has got into our eyes, stung and smarted, yes, but fundamentally interfered with our vision!Their leadership was removed to encourage reliance upon God again as their King, but things went the other way and they did evil in the eyes of … spot the capital letters in the text … ‘evil in the eyes of the LORD’ … the Covenant making, Covenant keeping God .It was their Rescuer, Ransomer and Redeemer against Whom they sinned, and into Whom they ran in their rebellion.In days like ours when sin is reckoned to be in the eye of the beholder … a matter of human perception and opinion when things that are wrong are declared right and vice versa, we do well to remember that when Israel sinned, she did evil in the eyes of the LORD.And of course, a lot of it IS down to their background.Their sin’s nature is culturally conditioned … but that still leaves them no excuse for committing it!
  • The Israelites are called by their God to live in Canaan.They have moved in there, but their lifestyle and their identity still feels pretty threatened.The land has Philistine cities long established along the Western seaboard.The Philistines had settled over there on the coastal plain about 1200 BC – a generation or so after the Israelites entered the land.They got well-established in the five cities: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath) and then started to push into the hinterland, which is where the 12 tribes of Israel were to be found.These are not the traditional settled people of the land (Amorites and Ammonites … the sort of aggressive people that previous eras of Judges had dealt with for Israel.)These are new kid on the block sea peoples moving in to any already threatening situation.And those Philistines are increasingly hungry for arable land, land like the stuff Samson’s tribe the Danites are sitting on.The threat to Israel was of a different nature from these Philistines.The situation was looking pretty threatening up in Canaan.And the Israelites threatened even their tenuous foothold, by doing evil in the eyes of the Lord up in Canaan.How did that come about?
  • The nature of the threat from the Philistines was quite different from that posed by the traditional Canaanites.The old enemy was clearly OPPOSED to you, violent and brutal.But the Philistines came towards as people you could do business with.You could approach them, negotiate and trade.In fact you wouldn’t need to approach them, because they appeared ‘friendly’ and came towards YOU!They offered things that you wanted, and thought you quite liked the look of, and you wouldn’t want to seem odd or do anything to threaten the relationship.Samson came in onto this scene and threw down a marker, and that was a large part of the contribution we see him making.He’s the one who dug in his toes in the midst of a compromised people, drew the line in the sand then defended it.Now, he didn’t END the problem with these Philistines.The threat was to outlive him, the era of the Judges and even the early days of the monarchy, up to the reign of the united monarchy under King David.But Samson was the guy who took decisive action that ended the era of Philistine appeasement, pointed the issues, stirred up the hornets’ nest and so angered the powerful Philistines that appeasement and assimilation would no longer be an available option.It doesn’t seem to have made him too popular, particularly in the eyes of his own people.Samson – like many a prophet before and after - DID get sucked in to the doings of his culture.Like Hosea much later on, Samson got sucked it an improper relationship with an improper woman in the course of his career as a prophet …But while in Hosea’s case it was to illustrate a point about the spiritual adulteries of the Israelites, here with Samson it was to uncover the spiritual distinctiveness being lost in the appeasement of the Philistines.Here’s the lesson … appeasing appealing Philistines loses the favour of God.The trouble is, it looks VERY appealing.
  • Where does the pathway of spiritual appeasement always lead you?
  • How did that happen?At the root of it lay appeasement, assimilating slowly and quietly with the people of the land … the way you lie down and sink slowly and comfortably into a strange feather bed.
  • Look at the appealing, comfortable feather bed they’re sinking into …Canaan!What a place.It worshipped all manner of pagan deities … their worship artefacts have been dug up by loads of archaeologists … they had shrine prostitutes who participated in the religious rites, they were violent, warlike and brutal and their two chief deities were Baal and Asterah … symbolised by carvings of male and female genitalia respectively.If you thought that in our porn ridden, violent image loving society things have gone way, way too far … know this.The Canaanites actually worshipped statues of male and female sexual organs.They were as explicit as that.And the Philistine raiders were out looking for land.Under pressure like this, Israel’s sole and only hope is the Lord.Under pressure, what will God’s people do?
  • There’s a great deal to show that in this bad situation they opted to go for ‘appeasement’.It’s all very well to set out a list of the sins and the idolatry and the godlessness Israel fell into.But that would detract from the point here … like chameleons they blended into their background, and that was the heart of the problem.Some would say God should stand back and let them get on with it.Not so.
  • For this appeasement and assimilation of the lifestyle of paganism, God was more than ready to judge His people.You do find a lot of Christian people who reckon God would NEVER do a thing like that!These are those people who have too low a view of the seriousness of sin and the height of God’s Glory.They assume that His people being in trouble runs counter to God’s glory … just because they have a name for being God’s people.But when God’s people are living wrongly, His glory is MAGNIFIED by stepping away from them in their sin as He judges it.His glory is NOT enhanced by standing up for those who are only theory His people … who carry a name for being His people but who are NOT so in practice.Where rebellion’s run too far … and this case that rebellion amounts to just appeasing and being quietly assimilated into the patterns of thinking and living of the Philistines rather than standing apart from and being separate and distinctive from them … then God is perfectly prepared for all that followed here.He withdrew the supply of good, God-anointed leaders and gave them over to their enemies to be taught not to sin!But He had NEVER forgotten them, and in His time He stepped in to redeem them … in a thoroughly singular way.
  • The astounding thing about it is that’s God’s appointed solution’s a baby.Quite a different, no compromise, outstanding and singular baby.Cundall & Morris (p.154) “It was in this situation of apathetic acceptance of a potentially dangerous situation that Samson emerged to wage a one-man war against the Philistines. With remarkably little support from his own countrymen …”See?But it’s worse than that.They simply don’t get it they’ve been doing wrong by not being separate and singular for their Saviour.That really shows how far things have slipped down the road of appeasement and assimilation!Normally what happens in the Judges is that rebellion brings retribution, then repentance leads to rescue.But here the people’s standards have slipped to such an extent they don’t know how far gone they are and how bad things have really become.And because of that there’s rebellion and retribution but certainly no repentance before God steps in and raises up His rescuer, Samson.Cundall & Morris go on: “… With remarkably little support from his own countrymen nowhere does he have one single soldier at his side, let alone an army), he brought the danger into the open.”No doubt his actions stirred up the hornets’ nest and brought the conflict to the battlefields of future generations … but by this means Israel was able to appreciate and meet the threat, whereas previously the serious threat of the Philistines had gone unrecognised and (clearly) unchallenged.God’s solution to this undercover threat, the threat posed by embracing the poisonous plant of Philistine culture and religion, was a child.
  • Now, let’s be honest, Samson doesn’t look much like a great spiritual leader.All the Judges were distinctive individuals.Cundall & Morris: “But in a group of unique individuals, Samson was in a category all of his own … the exploits of Samson read like the actions of an uncontrollable juvenile delinquent.”But in spite of his wild one-off eccentricity he was definitely 100% God’s man, and in a compromised evil age God set out the distinctiveness of Samson’s life and character from before the outset.Here’s how it all came about …
  • Exceptional people are by definition not normal.No-one who’s done great things in this world was ever going to settle for just ‘normal’ … exceptional is what’s needed for leading ordinary people through great challenges.And Samson lived in days of great – apparently invisible – challenges.He lived when the prevailing culture was to appease lifestyles and ideologies riddled with sin, sin that most people were simply oblivious to, and in days of compromise like those Samson particularly needed distinct features that made him stand out and that set him apart.If your devotion to God makes you seem ODD in a compromised society, then it seems likely you are doing something RIGHT!From the start … God’s decision not Samson’s, nor his parents … Samson’s subject to a Nazirite vow.Exceptionality is really no accident.God has a plan for the sort of man Samson will be.But there are means by which these things have to be achieved … and it really isn’t going to be all that easy!
  • To a WHAT?Well, it’s something that has Biblical precedent already … but Samson’s subject to a singular form of it.
  • Now, from the Samson stories that follow it is clear Samson concerned himself with none of these stipulations except the haircuts.He is often found in contact with the dead.His presence at the carousel in chapter 14 hardly gives the impression he stayed tea-total.Samson Nazirite stance must be set in a special category … but the principle of separation and distinctiveness is preserved all the same.Samson wasn’t just assimilating Philistinism, and there were obvious signs he was standing apart if you just looked at him.
  • The point we need to make here is that leaders for difficult days don’t just happen, their character is crafted from birth by the commandment of God.We’re not here to raise kids that are ordinary.We’re here to raise people who will stand up and stand out, distinctive and unusual people, a people set apart for God.
  • Please notice the leading characteristics of a man like Samson’s parents.
  • The mother sees the Angel of the Lord, and His instructions are clear and concise.The father sees the size of the responsibility, the scale of the task … from the off he is taking this SERIOUSLY.What have we got to DO, is what he’s asking … and the reason he’s asking is to be able to OBEY!What does God want from us?We’re going to DO it!What IS it that motivates these parents God chooses?Their INSTINCT is to be welcoming and hospitable, but over-ridingly WORSHIPPING parents.
  • They FEAR God (which was rare in those days of appeasement and assimilation) and they worship God with reverent fear.
  • The stage has been set.The most unusual of the Judges is about to burst onto the scene.“The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, 25 and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.”Do you know, I’ve got VERY little idea what it means here when it says that the Spirit began to MOVE him.We really have no idea of what OT people’s experience of the Spirit was.We do know that anointing with the Spirit of God was essential to their usefulness to God way back then, just as it is even more explicitly to this day.
  • There are things to learn from the people of Israel in this time … their appeasement with sin and their assimilation of the lifestyles around them are SERIOUS, and their failure to see it is dangerous.God judges such sin as we see in them.They don’t see it enough to repent and be rescued, and it’s just God’s grace that provides for their rescue.There are things to learn here from Manoah and his un-named wife … they question in order to obey, they worship by instinct and they are hospitable, welcoming people.And there’s a lot to be learned here from Samson … set apart singular person.MOVED by the Spirit of God.God’s leaders are not necessarily rich, well-educated, gifted people.But the essential thing is that they are somehow MOVED by the Spirit of God.

Judges 13 samson   the big point Judges 13 samson the big point Presentation Transcript

  • “ … if my people, who are called by my name,will humble themselvesand prayand seek my faceand turn from their wicked ways,then I will hear from heaven,and I will forgive their sinand will heal their land.”2 Chronicles 7:14
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1– Good leaders PASS
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1– Good leaders PASS– Israelites do evil “Again the Israelites did evil inthe eyes of the LORD ..”
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1– Good leaders PASS– Israelites do evil• The background they live against
  • The insidious allure of appeasementAppeasement in a political context, is adiplomatic policy of making political ormaterial concessions to a dictatorialpower (or powers) in order to avoid athreatened conflict.Appeasement was used by Europeandemocracies in the 1930s who wished to avoidwar with the dictatorships of Germany and Italy,bearing in mind the horrors of World War I.
  • The insidious allure of appeasement• Trade• Intermarriage• ‘Culture• Liberality
  • The insidious allure of appeasement• Trade• Intermarriage• ‘Culture• Liberality“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD ..”
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1– Good leaders PASS– Israelites do evil• The background they live against• The thought world they’re exposed to
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1– Good leaders PASS– Israelites do evil• The background they live against• The thought world they’re exposed to• The stuff they get up to
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1– Good leaders PASS– Israelites do evil– God DOES judge His people, 13:1 “… sothe LORD delivered them into the hands of thePhilistines for forty years.”
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14
  • Judges 13:6-14“Then the woman went to her husband and told him,‘A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel ofGod, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he camefrom, and he didn’t tell me his name. 7 But he said tome, “You will become pregnant and have a son. Nowthen, drink no wine or other fermented drink and donot eat anything unclean, because the boy will be aNazirite of God from the womb until the day of hisdeath.”’8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: ‘Pardon yourservant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sentto us come again to teach us how to bring up the boywho is to be born.’
  • Judges 13:6-149 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to thewoman while she was out in the field; but her husbandManoah was not with her. 10 The woman hurried to tell herhusband, ‘He’s here! The man who appeared to me the otherday!’11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to theman, he said, ‘Are you the man who talked to my wife?’‘I am,’ he said.12 So Manoah asked him, ‘When your words are fulfilled, whatis to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?’13 The angel of the LORD answered, ‘Your wife must do all thatI have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes fromthe grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drinknor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I havecommanded her.’
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14– Nazirite vow
  • The Nazirite vowNumbers 6:1-21“The LORD said to Moses, 2 ‘Speak to the Israelitesand say to them: “If a man or woman wants tomake a special vow, a vow of dedication tothe LORD as a Nazirite, 3 they must abstain fromwine and other fermented drink and must notdrink vinegar made from wine or other fermenteddrink. They must not drink grape juice or eatgrapes or raisins. 4 As long as they remain undertheir Nazirite vow, they must not eat anything thatcomes from the grapevine, not even the seeds orskins.5 ‘“During the entire period of their Naziritevow, no razor may be used on their head. Theymust be holy until the period of their dedication tothe LORD is over; they must let their hair grow long.6 ‘“Throughout the period of their dedication tothe LORD, the Nazirite must not go near a deadbody.• No haircuts• No alcohol• Nothing dead• Temporary
  • The Nazirite vow – with variationsSamson’s vow:• No haircuts• No alcohol• Eat nothingunclean• Lifelong• Not voluntaryNazirites:• No haircuts• No alcohol• Touch nothingdead• Temporary• Voluntary
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14– Nazirite vow– From the womb– For life
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14• Worshipping parents, vv. 15-23
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14• Worshipping parents, vv. 15-23
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14• Worshipping parents, vv. 15-23– They just want to know what God wants fromthem
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14• Worshipping parents, vv. 15-23– They just want to know what God wants fromthem– Their biggest priority’s to OBEY
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv. 6-14• Worshipping parents, vv. 15-23– They just want to know what God wants from them– Their biggest priority’s to OBEY– These parents are WORSHIPPING people!
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14• Worshipping parents, vv. 15-23• The key feature … the Spirit MOVES him, v. 24
  • Judges 13 – Samson.What God does in difficult days• Introduction• The Back Story, 12:8- 13:1• God’s solution is a baby, vv. 2-5• God creates leaders’ distinctive character, vv.6-14• Worshipping parents, vv. 15-23• The key feature … the Spirit MOVES him, v. 24• Conclusion