Faithlife
Faithlife

07-02-18.01

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07-02-11.02              vv                           zz              07-02-18.02

07-02-11.01                                                      07-02-25.01

Title:           “Give me just a little more time!”

FCF:            The bondage of despair

D-Theme:   Samson’s defeat is God’s victory

M-Thrust:   confess your despair

App:           Since defeat can lead to God’s victory—confess your despair!

Comment:  no reactions following but fairly good eye contact and audience participation.

Subject:     redemption

Date:          07-02-18.01

Text:           Judges 16:21-31

21Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven. 23Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice. And they said: “Our god has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy!” 24When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said: “Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, the destroyer of our land, And the one who multiplied our dead.” 25So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may perform for us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars. 26Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.” 27Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there—about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed. 28Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!” 29And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. 30Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life. 31And his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.

• Introduction

•   Imagine committing a crime—being tried and convicted…

•   Going to prison—paying restitution…

•   Who are the victims of that crime…?

•   Those against whom the crime was committed…

•   The members of the criminal’s family…

•   The criminal himself…

•   Imagine being in prison—learning that your father had died…

•   …learning that your spouse has cancer…

•   …learning that your spouse has then died…

•   Knowing that your children are now without father or mother…

•   Feeling responsible in some way for your wife’s illness…

•   Knowing you are responsible for your failure…

•   Knowing that for your family—life will never be the same…

•   Having been uprooted because of seizure of property…

•   Having their reputations smeared…

•   …being associated with the family name…

•   If that was you how would you feel…?

•   Can you imagine how guilt would overwhelm that person…?

•   How in the loneliness of that prison environment…

•   Despair and hopelessness would creep in…

•   How you would feel such a failure…

•   Failing your wife, children, family, church, community…?

•   What might you say in moments of silence in your cell…?

•   To God…? If you were a person of faith…?

•   Would you ask for forgiveness…? …for a second chance…?

•   Would you seek repentance—diligently with tears…? [1]

•   Or would you come all too easily to the point where you said…

•   “God’s finished with me!” “The situation’s hopeless”

•   “God doesn’t care anymore…”

•   Living in The bondage of despair—contemplating suicide…

•   Of course there are those in society who would say…

•   Ah, he got what he deserved… he deserves no better…

•   Now think of Samson—in the loneliness of his own prison…

•   Day after day—month after month…

•   …turning the wheel—around and around…

•   Grinding out the grain that will feed his captors…

•   The people he despises—uncircumcised Philistines…

•   Living in darkness because his sight has been stolen…

•   Living in darkness because God removed his light…

•   Living in darkness because he had flushed his calling…

•   …down the drain—pursuing the pleasures of the flesh…

•   How must he have felt…?

•   Can you imagine how guilt must’ve overwhelmed him…?

•   How in the loneliness of his bondage…

•   Despair and hopelessness crept in…

•   Can you imagine that he felt such a failure…

•   Failing God, his family, community, his nation…?

•   What might he have said in the toil of working that wheel…?

•   Did he come all too easily to the point where he said…

•   “God’s finished with me!”

•   The situation’s hopeless—God doesn’t care anymore…

•   Living in The bondage of despair…?

•   …maybe even contemplating suicide…?

•   Or Did he ask for forgiveness…? …for a second chance…?

•   Did he sing “Give me just a little more time!”

•   Did he seek repentance—diligently with tears…? [2]

•   Warren Wiersbe said in his commentary on Judges…

•   I believe Samson talked to the Lord as he turned the millstone, confessing his sins—asking for a chance. [3]

•   That makes sense to me…

•   What could be a better use of the time…?

•   And I find that is often how God works in our lives…

•   …bringing us to the end of ourselves…

•   …bringing us to a place beyond human hope…

•   …circumstances so dark there is no chance of recovery…

•   In fact, it seems God thrives on such situations…

•   Because in them his grace and mercy shine the brightest…!

•   Samson was in real bondage—imprisoned by his enemy…

•   But there was the potential for even greater bondage…

•   The bondage of despair… choosing the way of Judas…

•   But Samson’s defeat is God’s victory (over Samson’s soul)…

•   Because rather than living in The bondage of despair…

•   He chose the way of confession and repentance…

•   Since defeat can lead to God’s victory—confess your despair!

•   Since defeat can lead to God’s victory…

• Confess your sin...................................... v. 21-22

•   Why was Samson in this circumstance…?

•   Because of his sin…!

•   What might he have been doing as he drove the millstone…!

•   He could have been plotting his revenge…

•   Muttering under his breath how he would get even…

•   He could have driven himself crazy with blame and guilt…

•   Saying that God is finished with me—he doesn’t care…

•   He could have ended up bargaining with God…

•   Going through the stages of grief…

•   …denial—anger—despair—acceptance—bargaining…

•   But the context of the story suggests that he confessed…

•   He confessed his sin, failure, and disregard for his vow…

•   The context also suggests he asked forgiveness…

•   And asked God to vindicate Himself…

•   And bring judgment on His enemies…

•   And the plain fact of the matter is when we are in defeat…

•   The only way to see God’s victory is to confess…

•   Confess our sin, failure, and disregard for the covenant…

•   Asking for forgiveness and restoration…

•   Asking God to vindicate himself against the enemy…

•   The enemy of our souls…

•   The bondage of despair will only keep us in defeat…

•   …plotting our revenge or bargaining with God…

•   And To despair is to turn your back on God. [4]

•   So we must confess our sin…

•   Since defeat can lead to God’s victory…

• Admit your need...................................... v. 23-27

•   Have you ever felt completely powerless & helpless…?

•   …circumstances totally out of control…?

•   …circumstances totally beyond your control…?

•   That as you faced those circumstances there was nothing…

•   …absolutely nothing you could do to make them better…?

•   That was the situation Samson found himself in…

•   Barrenness/Inadequateness........................... v. 23-24

•   There was nothing he could do to defend God’s name…

•   As the Philistines began to celebrate their victory

•   He could contribute nothing of value…

•   He had no resources within himself…

•   These uncircumcised Philistines blasphemed the name of God…

•   And he was completely inadequate to do anything about it…

•   Dagon, the god of the Philistines was getting all the glory…

•   And he was getting all the credit…

•   And Samson was powerless to stop it…

•   Not only could he not defend God’s name…

•   But he also was dealing with…

•   Helplessness/Weakness................................... v. 25-27

•   There was nothing he could do to prevent his own shame…

•   As the Philistines led him out to be the entertainment…

•   By the hand of a young boy no less…

•   There was nothing he could do to prevent his own shame…

•   As they brought him to perform…

•   Either feats of strength…

•   Or acts of foolishness and stupidity…

•   …like a clown—forced to dance @ the end of a spear…

•   But in his powerlessness he played the part…

•   Playing the role of one who is @ the mercy of his captors…

•   He danced—he performed—he did as he was told…

•   He was weak—he was helpless…

•   And after some time he was tired…

•  26“…Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.”

•   There was nothing he could do to defend God’s name…

•   There was nothing he could do to prevent his shame…

•   He was barren, inadequate, helpless, and weak…

•   What must we do when in such a situation…

•   If we want to see God’s victory in our lives…?

•   We must quit living in denial of our circumstances…

•   We must stop being angry and defensive before God…

•   We must confess that we are powerless…

•   We must admit our need…

•   Samson admitted his need and asked for help…

•   Since defeat can lead to God’s victory…

• Rely on God’s power................................ v. 28-30

•   Where does our power for living come from…?

•   Where does our strength to defeat sin reside…?

•   When we are surrounded by our enemy…

•   And he is taunting us with temptation and blasphemy…

•   Dangling us @ the end of his rope…

•   Where will we find the strength for overcoming…?

•   How will victory come from defeat…?

•   It will come only as we rely on God’s power…

•   It will come only was we cry out to the Lord…

•   Having confessed our sin, admitted our need…

•   And asking for his strength and help in our need…

•  28“…O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines…!”

•   Cry out to the Lord with a loud voice and say…

Revelation 6:10

10“…How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

•   When you do that you are no longer relying on yourself…

•   You are calling on God for his power…

•   You are asking God for his victory…

•   And you are seeking God’s glory…

•   Asking him to defend His Name and honor…

•   And that is when you will see God’s victory…

•   When you rely on his power to glorify His Name in your life…

•   Finally, since defeat can lead to God’s victory…

• Submit to God’s grace.............................. v. 30-31

•  30“Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.

•   What do we see in this…? Something of our Lord Jesus Christ…

•   For Samson can only accomplish the greatest feat of his life by means that bring death to himself [5]

•   And to do it he yielded himself, he submitted himself…

•   To the grace and mercy of Almighty God…

•   And in what had appeared to be a victory for the enemy…

•   Is shown to be a victory for God in the end…

•   Not unlike the movie End of the Spear – Jim Eliot’s story…

•   How their death seemed a victory for darkness…

•   But in the end the whole tribe is converted…

•   And it is a victory for the Father and the glory of Christ…

•   What great feats does God want to accomplish through us…?

•   What glory does God want to bring to His Name…

•   Through the shame and despair of our lives…?

•   Through the taunts and temptations and trials…?

•   Through the failure—the guilt—the loneliness

•   The despair—the sense of hopelessness…

•   Feeling that God is finished with us…

•   …that he no longer cares…

•   If we want to see God’s victory in our lives…

•   If we want to know what it feels like to be vindicated…

•   To have his power and strength coursing through us…

•   Then we must submit to his grace… his mercy…

•   It is only through God’s grace that we could do something…

•   That brings death to ourselves…

•   It is only through God’s grace that we can die to self…

•   And be willing to live to God… for his glory…

•   It is only through grace and mercy that we could say…

Psalm 66:20

20Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!

• Conclusion

•  31And his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.

•   The bondage of despair

•   Samson’s defeat is God’s victory (over Samson’s soul)

•   confess your despair

•   Since defeat can lead to God’s victory—confess your despair!


----

[1]      Hebrews 12:17

[2]      Hebrews 12:17

[3]      Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1994). Be available. An Old testament study. (124). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4]      Marilla Cuthbert, Anne of Green Gables (1985) (TV)…

[5]      The Pulpit Commentary: Judges. 2004 (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.) (177). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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