March 22, 2009

Samson: The Strongest Judge yet Worst Failure (2) His Failure (2) [Judges 14- 16]

by: Rev. Jeremiah Cheung

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We have studied in the past session the first reason for Samson’s failure – he failed in the sexual aspect; but aside from this, Samson, the strongest judge, failed in three other aspects:

I. Failure in His Faith 14:1-2

Samson’s failure was not due to his marriage, but his faith. He knew the girl was a Philistine, he knew she did not belong to the Lord, but because he desired her beauty, he forsook his faith. Some people forsake their faith because of love, some because of wealth, some because of power, but whatever the reason, the person is destined to fail.

II. Weakness in Prayer 15:18/16:28

Samson prayed only twice. The first time was in chapter 15, after he struck down a thousand men with a jawbone. He felt very thirsty, and cried out to the Lord, saying, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into hands of the uncircumcised?”

The Lord answered by opening up a hallow place, making water come out from it. His second prayer is found in chapter 16. His eyes had been gouged out by the Philistines, and he prayed to the Lord, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

Once again, the Lord answered his prayer, as a result, he fell the temple with a mighty push of its two central pillars. He died together with more than 3000 Philistines.

Samson ruled as a judge of the Israelites for 20 years. In those 20 years, did Samson pray to the Lord only twice? Maybe not. But only two prayers were remembered.

Samson was weak in prayer. Why? Because Samson had great power, this was his greatest strength, but it also became his greatest weakness. He must have thought to himself, “A man like me don’t need prayers.” He became self-reliant, thinking he could rely on himself and his strength in everything. This is the reason for many a man’s failure!

III. Reckless Living

Chapters 14-16 records five incidences:

  • He saw a beautiful girl, although she was a Philistine of different faith and race and his parents’ objected, he ‘insisted on making her his wife.’ This is called an individual’s freedom.
  • He saw a lion roaring toward him, he tore the lion apart with his bare hands. Later, he saw a swarm of bees and some honey in the lion’s carcass, he reached in and scooped out some honey and ate it. He was a Nazirite who was not allowed to go near a dead body, yet he touched it with his hands, why? Because he wanted to do it, this is called an individual’s freedom.
  • When he got married, he made a riddle for the Philistine to guess, whoever answers his riddle will be given thirty linen garments and thirty set of clothes. If not, he must be given thirty linen garments and thirty set of clothes. His bride turned on him, so he went to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men, stripped them of their belongings and gave their clothes to those men who answered his riddle. Samson was a powerful thief, he killed anytime he liked, he grabbed anytime he wanted, why? Because he wanted to, this is called an individual’s freedom.
  • He saw a prostitute in Gaza, and went in to spend the night with her. Didn’t Samson know that he wasn’t allowed near a prostitute? Yes, of course but ‘I want to, because I have sexual needs.’ This is called individual freedom.
  • He saw Delilah, and fell in love with her. Although she deceived and entrapped him three times, he did not take heed. In the end, he told her his secret, why? Because ‘I want to.’ This is called individual freedom.

Samson was too free. Jesus said, “The truth shall set you free.” True freedom is not found by abandoning ourselves to our human nature, for that is indulgence; only freedom which comes from the Truth is true freedom.