Again we're looking at Samson, and I think this is our penultimate study in his life - we'll look at one more, week after next in the will of the Lord. We're looking at chapter 16, and you'll remember in chapter 15 last week we looked at 'Samson, The Vengeful Victor' - well, this morning we're looking at 'Samson, The Lustful Loser'.
Chapter 16 verse 1: "Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her. And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him. And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron. And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withes that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withes which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withes, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known. And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread. And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web", or with a loom. "And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web. And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath showed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. 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 knew not that the LORD was departed from him. But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house". Amen, and we end our reading at verse 21.
Let us just bow together in a brief word of prayer: Father, we're coming this morning to a very very sensitive subject, and we just pray for wisdom, for guidance and discretion, and yet on the other hand we need bluntness in order to face some of the awful realities of temptation and sin that we are confronted with on a daily basis. Lord, we pray too for an open heart to receive God's word. We pray that we will be real with ourselves, that we will not apply God's word to another, that we will see ourselves and our habits and our sins the way You see them - and Lord, that we would deal with them the way Samson did not deal with them, and the way that You have told us to deal with them. So Lord, we pray for Your grace, we pray for Your strength, and most of all we pray for the Holy Spirit to be ministering as He alone can do; for we ask these things, asking too for deliverance for any who are bound with the sin of lust, for Jesus' sake we pray. Amen.
'Samson, The Lusful Loser' - and again we see his carnal nature on the throne of his life. In chapter 15 that carnal nature was displayed in his desire for revenge upon his enemies. But now, as we have seen before, his sexual lust dominates his character in chapter 16. It was Charles Swindoll who said well: 'Samson was a he-man with a she-weakness'. Now for most men, if they're honest, lust is or at some time has been a problem in their life. We must be honest with ourselves, and like Samson we find that if we don't conquer this particular sin early in our lives, it will conquer us. In spite of Samson's godly upbringing, his elevated position as a Judge in Israel, right throughout his whole biography we find him constantly elbow-deep in a cess-pool of immorality. It's quite hard to understand, but in our introduction last week - if you weren't here, get the tape - we tried to explain how God could possibly justify Himself in using such a man steeped in sin. But we see it clearly right throughout his whole life, that he had a problem with his flesh - specifically in the area of lustfullness.
The first recorded words that we hear from Samson's mouth are in chapter 14 verse 2: 'I saw a woman' - that's the first thing we hear him say! Then we see from verse 3 of chapter 14 that he is attracted to the opposite sex strictly on the basis of outward appearance: 'Get her for me, for she pleases me', or 'for she looks good to me'. Now we find in chapter 16 that, having judged Israel for 20 years, he visits once more his old habit of chasing women. We read in the first three verses that he met a harlot in Gaza, and finally from verse 4 on we read of his encounters with Delilah. Samson's problem was that he never faced and dealt with and conquered this old habit of lust. Indeed, we read at the end of the chapter in verse 20 that he was so preoccupied with his lustful desires that he didn't even know that the Lord had departed from him: 'I will go out as at other times', he says, 'and shake myself. And he knew not that the LORD was departed from him'. It had intoxicated him to the extent of being unreasonable and irrational.
Have you a problem with lust? What is your Achilles heel? Is it lust? Most men, if they're honest, will have to admit that they do have a problem. It may not be an actual problem of committing adultery or fornication in a literal sense, but it certainly will be a mental problem. It's a problem for us all, myself included, and it must be dealt with, because it's in our flesh - no-one is born without it, it is sin, for we are all born in sin. The great question is whether we, unlike Samson, face it and conquer it. Don't be sitting here like 'Holy Joe' in denial, for I don't believe you. First Corinthians 10 verse 12 says: 'Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall'. If you are ignorant of your own fleshy potential, and even arrogant in your seeming ability to conquer it in and of yourself, you're in for a big fall. The reason being that lust is at epidemic proportions in our society today, probably due to the proliferation of sensual images that are all around. The explosion of pornography on the Internet, in the media, right down to just advertisements on the television or in the newspaper for ice cream and cars - everything is sold by sex, because sex sells.
It would be hard not to have a problem with lust - I'm not exonerating you from it, or condoning any problem that you or I may have - but the fact of the matter is: we live in a sensually saturated society. When you meet that with the magnetism of our old fleshly nature, fallen and depraved, it's a recipe right away for disaster. Most of the men know what I'm talking about, but it's not confined to the males - it's a problem for everyone. Let me just say that although we're focusing on the problem of lust this morning, your Achilles heel might be something else. It might be a sister sin to lust, which is covetousness - for that's what lust is, isn't it? You can covet your neighbour's husband or wife, and so on and so forth, you could covet their car, and their house, and their job, and their nice flashy clothing. It could be hatred, it could be revenge that we looked at last week - it could be so many sins. If you want a catalogue of them, look at Galatians 5 and you find the works of the flesh there - and I'm sure that you have found one of them a problem, if not all, at some stage in your life.
Whatever your problem may be, your Achilles heel is your point of extreme vulnerability. It is your weak spot in your walk with God. God's Word puts it like this: it is your besetting sin. It's the thing that always trips you up, pulls you down. It is that thing, like Samson, if not dealt with it will be your undoing. Do you know where the term 'Achilles heel' comes from? It's very instructive to our issue at hand to find out where this phrase was derived from. It comes from Greek mythology - Achilles was the son of Peleus, King of the Myrmidons, and Thetis a sea-goddess was his mother. Achilles was the greatest, and the bravest and most handsome warrior in all the army. One of the tales in the mythology of his life tells about how, as a child, Thetis, his mother, held young Achilles by the heel and dipped him in the waters of the river Styx. These waters had mythological power and value, and as Achilles was dipped into them he became invincible and invulnerable - that is, every part of him but the heel which his mother held him with, it wasn't dipped in the waters. So that small part of his body, untouched by the water, remained vulnerable whilst the rest of him was invincible. It's just at that point, as you read the story of his life, he received one day in the battle an arrow right in his heel and it killed him. His point of vulnerability was his point of undoing. His Achilles heel described his weakest point of vulnerability.
Is lust yours? If you're a male I would hazard a guess that it is. It was Samson's problem too. God had strengthened Samson, God had protected Samson, and in the midst of gross immorality at times - so Samson, somewhere along the way, if not from the very start, had got it into his head that he was getting away with it. 'If he had gotten away with it that long, he would always get away with it'. You see, he thought fleshly tendencies were inconsequential to what he was before God as a Judge. I mean God's Spirit kept coming, rushing upon him. He was getting the victory over lions, great armies of Philistines - why would it not always be the case? What we're going to see this morning in chapter 16 is that Samson's private indiscretions led to a disqualification in the power of God on his life; but they also led, those private indiscretions, to public disgrace. It is simply God's law of the harvest, it caught up with him - it will catch up with us all! What is it? God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Whilst God's wheels may grind slowly, they grind surely.
So let's look first of all at his private indiscretions. Already he has got into trouble with one woman privately, you remember the woman he had married and then she was given to his best man, and all of a sudden his revenge explodes. We looked at that last week. But now we read again that Samson takes the geographical journey downward in verses 1-3, and he travels to Gaza. Now we have already read, though we didn't highlight it over the past weeks, in chapter 14 verse 1 we read: 'Samson went down to Timnath'. Then in verse 5 we read: 'Samson went down, and his father', and then we read in verse 7 of chapter 14, 'Samson went down' again, and then in verse 10, 'Samson went down'. All of Samson's geographical journeying is always down, but it's not just geographical, it's spiritual! For each time he travels down, as he does now in chapter 16 to Gaza, he gets into trouble.
Not only is he travelling down, the Bible tells us that he is crossing the border from God's land of promise, Canaan, to the forbidden territory of the enemy. Can I say there's a very valuable lesson, because often our problems with lust and indeed any sin, comes when we start to flirt with it, when we start to cross the border - coming out of what God has told us to dwell in, and taking a step too far, pretending to ourselves it is innocent, it's not going to lead to any problems. Yet we push God's boundaries into enemy territory, and we become more vulnerable to the enemy's attack. We don't often see that at the time: but that's the fact of the matter.
This incident in verses 1-3 of Samson with this prostitute from Gaza is not well-known, but it seems that Samson again gets away with it as he has always done. All of a sudden these Philistines hear he's in Gaza, and they come round and surround the city, the gates are shut and Samson, with great strength and the power of God upon him again, lifts the very gates and the posts and all and runs up the mountain with them. You can just imagine the Philistines standing watching him with their chin hitting their boots - they can't believe it! There he is, coming from a prostitute's house, the power of God the next moment is upon him - and he gets away with it as before, and again with the help of God!
Do you know what this incident is doing for us? It's preparing us for what is to follow - Delilah, Samson's downfall. It is teaching us simply this: what Samson had sowed in Gaza with the prostitute, indeed what he had sown in his whole life of immorality, he is reaping in Sorek with Delilah. We're not completely sure when this event took place, but it was probably at the end of his 20 year stint as a Judge. Twenty years or more he had gotten away with it, twenty years or more God seemed to have blessed him in the midst of it - but Samson was to find out in this chapter that his private indiscretions were not inconsequential. They had grave consequences - because he had failed to check the impulses that began early in his career, 20 years later they slay him.
Are we really aware of the deceitfulness of sin? I don't think we are: certainly not of the deceptiveness of our own hearts, because often when we sin, we do exactly what Samson did - what is that? You say that you're going to get away with it, don't you? Otherwise you wouldn't do it! If you thought you were going to get caught, you wouldn't engage in it - but you deceive yourself! That's why the Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, you can't know it. Many sins, including lust, we excuse. Maybe Samson began to excuse the sins, 'Look, this is just the way I am, this is Samson, everybody knows this is Samson! God's great strongman, but God's delinquent! A bit of a lady's man, is Samson! I can't help it, it's natural! I can't resist it!'.
It was Oscar Wilde, who had many lusts of his own, who said: 'I can resist anything except temptation'. Sometimes we get that mentality, don't we? We think our temptations and our falling to them are excusable for whatever reason, and Samson, I think, concluded the same: 'This is just the way I am, but it doesn't really matter because God still uses me!'. What he failed, fatally, to recognise was that by stealth, sin's deadly edge was going to sever the source of his divine power that he presumptuously was taking for granted - because God wanted him to realise that sin is not a pleasure, and sin is not a privilege for God's people; sin is poison! Oh, so often we have a taste for it.
You remember I shared with you last week that I'm learning in my own personal life that my fear and reluctance to fully consecrate to God is due to cost; but I fail, however, to appreciate that the lack of consecration, a lack of purity, will cost far more. We see that illustrated for us amazingly in Samson's life - it cost him everything. The Song of Solomon calls these type of sins, and it doesn't have to be lust, 'the foxes that spoil the vines' - the little things that eventually take their toll weigh so heavy as to cause disaster, and there is surely none more deadly, especially in our day, than lust.
I think it's brilliantly illustrated in this story about North Alaskan Eskimos - I've used it before, I don't apologise for using it again. The Eskimos in North Alaska, until recently, lived as they had 500 years ago - all their livelihood came from the polar bear. The meat was their food, the fur was their clothing, the fat they used to cook, the bones and teeth of the bear they used as tools and implements. They developed this indigenous way of life - it was ingenious. What they would first do to catch a polar bear was, they would kill a little seal. They would take that seal, and drag a trail of blood along the ice, leading to a central location. What they would do there was take a dagger with a two-foot long handle, and they would plunge it into the ice. It was a double-edged blade, and upon that blade they would put the carcass of the little seal. Before long the polar bear would pick up the scent of the trail of blood, and start to sniff and lick it, and easily find the meat. There he would be, devouring this delicacy very very quickly, the Eskimos were smart enough to know never to use a large animal, never to give him too much meat, to keep him hungry. So what would happen, in his incredible hunger, he would eat the seal completely - just like a wee fellow licking the cake spoon after his mummy has done the baking, this polar bear would go on licking the blade over and over again and again. The more he licked, what would happen? The more he got! But at some point he failed to realise that he was starting to lick his own blood! The lust of it eventually killed him.
That's what happened Samson. In verse 4 we read again: 'Samson loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah'. He gets around, doesn't he? It's amazing to see him falling into this same sin once again. Sorek is near home, by the way, he hadn't gone that far - you need to go that far. We're astounded to again see him sleeping on the lap of a wicked woman - what's he doing? He's again toying with temptation, but this time he hasn't suspected that Delilah is also playing a game with Samson. He had met his match. Three times Delilah enticed Samson: 'Where does your strength come from?'. Three times Samson lies about it. Three times she has, probably in the chamber behind in her home, these heavies from Philistia ready to duff him in when they find out where his weakness can come from. Each time Samson lies to each of Delilah's enticements, it brings him nearer to the truth - there's a lesson. The more you lie, and the more you try to cover up, often the more the truth comes out.
We might stand back and be astounded at Samson's...the incredulity of this situation - how could he be so stupid!? Did he not realise that Delilah was asking him the question because she was in cahoots, and going to get paid by the Philistines? Should he not have awoken to this when he woke up with himself bound? Why didn't he see it coming? Do you know why? The lure of lust - that's how powerful it is! Proverbs, which poses itself often as a book of wisdom from a father written to a son - and I would encourage many of you young men to read the book of Proverbs, particularly the first ten chapters or so. Proverbs 5 is a good one, but we'll read from Proverbs 7, we read of how intoxicating and alluring lust can be, Proverbs 7:21, speaking of a woman like Delilah: 'With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death'.
I wonder was Solomon thinking of Samson when he wrote those words? Lust distorts reason, it anaesthetised Samson's brain and his body - and it does the same to us, but often we are willing captors! The problem here was that eventually this woman wore Samson down. Dale Ralph-Davies, a commentator, puts it like this: 'Can you imagine the scenes behind verses 15 and 16?' Let's read it together: 'And she came unto him and said, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart'. Davies says: 'Can you imagine the scene? Delilah likely turned on the relational arguments about trust and intimacy, and about how we must all be vulnerable, and that women really do crave men who are willing to be the latter. Delilah suspected her psychology would be all the more convincing while she spread her long soft hair against Samson's mighty chest, and stroked his biceps with her soft hand'.
'You said you loved me, prove it! Tell me where your strength lies'. Amazingly Samson, with the very words that could have been the vow that had been vowed to God, he told her where his strength lay - 'I have been a Nazarite unto God', verse 17, 'if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man'. He told her, and she was sharp enough to inform her Philistine paymasters, 'Get the job done quickly!'. All of a sudden, Samson awakens, goes out as he had at other times - but he was just like any other man. Asleep on the knees of a compromised situation, he was robbed of the power of God.
Can I ask you - I ask myself, and have done - are we asleep, any of us, on the lap of a compromised situation? It will rob you of the power and the blessing of God, that is for sure. Samson's secret of strength lay in his obedience to God, and it was maintained by his separation unto God - but at this point his outward show of that separation, his long hair, was shorn. Everything had gone, he had lost it all! His private indiscretions led to what? His power disqualification - verse 20: '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', or knew, 'not that the LORD was departed from him'. That means: 'I will go out as I have time after time' - he had done it, hadn't he? But God said: 'Not this time! Not this time, Samson!'. He became what the New Testament calls in the words of the apostle Paul, 'a castaway'.
Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 9 so I can show you this, 1 Corinthians 9 verse 27, Paul says: 'I keep my body, and bring it into subjection', it should be 'I buffet my body, and bring it into subjection: lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway'. The New American Standard version says: 'I myself should be disqualified'. It is talking about sports here, and training - he's talking in verse 26 about how he runs, not uncertainly, or boxes, not as one that beats the air. But when he enters into this competition of the race of God, into the games of holiness, he does not want to be disqualified - not keeping the rules himself, while he has preached them to others.
Great loss now marks Samson's life, just like what Paul has talked about in 1 Corinthians 9. First Corinthians 3 tells us that many will suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and their work will be burnt up - this is what happens when you have private indiscretions in your life, particularly this of lust of mind or heart, or actually in the flesh, you will lose out! Samson loses his royal crown - that's what his hair signified - he loses his crown! The New Testament tells us again in 1 Corinthians 9 and verse 24: 'Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible'.
You can lose your crown through private indiscretions. The Lord Jesus spoke through John, and wrote to the church at Philadelphia in chapter 3 of Revelation, and in verse 11 said: 'Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown'. Just like Paul was talking of, because Samson had become undisciplined in his bodily life, he lost his crown, he lost his prize, he lost his hair and then he lost his power. Then he whose name means 'light', lost light, and he lost his sight! He who was the freedom fighter of Israel lost his liberty as he's bound and overcome by the Philistines. Ultimately he loses his usefulness for God, he becomes disqualified in God's service!
Do you know there are three people in scripture, including Samson, who are especially identified with the darkness? It says that King Saul went into the darkness to get his last minute help from the witch of Endor in 1 Samuel 28. Then we read of Judas, that he went immediately out, and it was dark, after betraying the Lord Jesus - John 13. Saul lived for the world, Samson lived for the flesh, Judas lived for the devil and gave himself up to him - and all of these three went into darkness, and incidentally all of them ended up ending their own lives! Samson sinned against the light, now his eyes are put out. The lust of the eye had led to the loss of his eyes - disqualified.
His private indiscretions, disqualification in power, and then it led to his public disgrace. In verse 21 the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, brought him down to Gaza and bound him with fetters of brass, and he did grind in the prison house. The strongman of Dan taken captive, become a slave of the enemies in their camp, his eyes gouged out of his head, made a grinder in a Philistine prison. One has said: 'Lust, the giant killer, binds, blinds and grinds'. Samson found out that his private indiscretions, if not confronted and conquered, would lead to his public disgrace! Numbers 32:23: 'Be sure your sin will find you out'. It happens in the life of pastors, elders, deacons in churches. It happens in marriages, it happens in families, it happens in businesses - private indiscretion bringing public disgrace.
Warren Wiersbe said: 'When Samson consorted with Delilah in the Valley of Sorek, he never dreamed that what they did together would be made into a Hollywood movie and projected in colour on huge screens'! It has been, hasn't it? His sin is infamous - what was done in secret! Swindoll says: 'The swarthy pride of Israel, who once held the highest office in the land, was now the baldheaded clown in Philistia. A pathetic shell of humanity, his eyes would never wander again. His life was once filled with promise and dignity, but was now a portrait of hopeless, helpless despair. Chalk up another victim for lust. The perfumed memories of erotic pleasure in Timnath, Gaza and the infamous Valley of Sorek were now overwhelmed by the putrid stench of a Philistine dungeon'. He being dead, yet speaks.
Friends, especially young people - and I speak to my own heart, for I am as susceptible as any of you - be warned. If you lust, you'll be a loser. Let me show you how you can be warned. First of all: Samson toyed with temptation - he toyed with it. Moral compromise always makes us vulnerable. We go over the borderline of God's precepts and principles into enemy territory, and we're making ourselves open for an attack. He responded to the temptation. It came in many attractive packages, and he responded to it - you don't need to respond! He even took himself into wrong company, feasting and flirting with the Philistines. First Corinthians 15:33 says that: 'Bad company corrupts good morals'. When we toy with temptation it traps us!
'What's the answer?', you say. The Bible answer is so simple, that many have stumbled at it because of the simplicity - what is it? Run! Run away! Flee sexual immorality, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6. He says to the young man Timothy in 2 Timothy 2: 'Flee also youthful lusts'. We see it exemplified in Joseph, Potiphar's wife pleads with him to lie with her - and he runs and leaves his coat with her, and says that he will not do this thing against his master, or against God. What a young man! He didn't toy with temptation - are we toying with it? Am I toying with it? As we channel-hop, sitting on the sofa; as we surf the web - are we toying with it? As we read The Daily Star, or The Sun - 'Oh, we're only reading the news' - don't give me that! I know what I would be doing if I was reading it. Do we toy with temptation in our relationships, in the workplace, in the church? You'll get trapped!
Secondly, he took God's blessing for granted - his parents. 'No, I'm not listening to them'. His vows: 'Well, I was born with them, I didn't ask for them'. The power he enjoyed, this was a man who experienced charismatic power, but he took it for granted, so God took it off him. Not only did he toy with temptation and take his blessings for granted, but he failed to listen and he failed to pray. We read at the very beginning of his life that God told his parents that he would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines - he only began the job, he never finished it, it remained for Samuel and David in the later years to finally defeat the Philistines. We read in 1 Samuel 7 that by one prayer, Samuel the prophet did more by one prayer than Samson did in his whole life. We don't read of him praying often, do we? We don't read of him listening too much? James 5: 'The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much'.
Then fourthly, not only did he fail to listen and pray, he lacked discipline. Do you know: it is impossible to be undisciplined and stable at the same time? I know a lot of folk who are very gifted, great promise - but do you know what their problem is? They squander it by indiscipline. It's the same in this area of lust, in any area of sin. Proverbs 25:28: 'He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls'. Proverbs 16:32: 'He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city'. Samson had taken many cities, but he couldn't rule his own spirit. There are people who have power to conquer others and win arguments and debate theologically, but they can't conquer themselves!
He set the Philistine fields on fire, but he couldn't control the fires in his own lust. He killed the lions, but he couldn't put to death the passion of his flesh. He could easily break the bonds of men upon him, but he couldn't get rid of the shackles of sin that gradually grew stronger than his soul - because he lacked discipline. Then fifthly: he toyed with temptation, he took God's blessing for granted, he failed to listen and to pray, he lacked discipline - but fifthly, he proudly thought something was special about him. 'I'm Samson!' - Proverbs 16:18 says: 'Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall'. Do you know what half the battle is? Being man enough or woman enough to admit where your weaknesses are, and to put safeguards in place to protect you from them. Are you walking around like a peacock, with your nose stuck in the air: 'That would never happen to me!'? My friend, beware - you're a Samson waiting to happen, and so am I.
Job, who was a righteous man - none other like him, God said - said in chapter 31 verse 1: 'I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?'. Flee! If you're in this trouble, seek help. If you're in this trouble, put safeguards in your life. If you're in this trouble, do something about it before it's too late - like all of us have, because all of us have had the problem.
Can I give you a bit of hope at the end to take heart? The devil tells you it's impossible for you to overcome - listen to God's word, 1 Corinthians 10 verse 13: 'There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful', you're not alone, everybody is struggling, especially in this world - but God is faithful, 'who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able'. Don't believe the lie of the devil that you can't resist, you can! 'He will with the temptation also make a way to escape', there is a fire exit out of every sin, especially lust, 'that we may be able to bear it'.
Have you fallen? Praise God, if you repent of your sin and confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive you your sin, to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You don't need to use this message as another guilt trip - you're delivered! But if you're in denial, you need help. Praise God, that help is there. Why not ask the Saviour to help you, comfort, strengthen and heal you? He is willing to aid you, He will carry you through.
Our Father, we remember the words of Your blessed Son, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus, when He said to those religious hypocrites: 'Let he that is among you without sin cast the first stone'. Lord, we're not in the business of casting stones at anyone today, because I am the first one who couldn't cast - for every time any of us point one finger, there's always more pointing back at us. Lord, I know what my heart is like, and what my mind has potential to do. Lord, we all are surrounded in this world with so much that can cause us to fall if we yield to the temptations. Lord, we pray that we will, all of us, be able to admit to our failure and shortcomings, will be enabled to confess it, to be cleansed of it, to repent from it, and if necessary to seek the help to put safeguards and barriers up against it in order that we will be delivered from it - that we should not, like Samson, lose our crown. Lord, help us to realise that there's more at stake from not being consecrated to God, than the loss that we will incur by giving up everything to Him. Impress Your word upon all our hearts, we pray, for Jesus' sake. Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the fifteenth recording in his 'Men For The Hour' series, entitled "Samson, The Lustful Loser" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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