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Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 11/14/2013
(edited April 2020)
In Judges chapter 13, the birth of Samson is foretold. He was to be a special child, set apart to become the deliverer of God’s People in those days. But Samson ran into a lot of problems along the way. This chapter begins with an account of the aftermath of his plan to wed a Philistine woman.
Verses 1-2: “But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in. And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her.”
The supernatural birth and life of Jesus is prophesied several times in the Old Testament - see Isaiah chapters 7 and 53, for instance. In the New Testament we are told that Heavenly messengers visited His family and others to prepare them for the coming Messiah. This can be seen in the first chapter of The Book of Luke, for instance.
Samson grew up to become a man ruled by his own selfish desires. That is why he sought a wife among the Philistines, who were the enemies of his people, Israel.
Verses 3-5: “And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure. And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.”
Perhaps personal vengeance the only way that God could motivate Samson to serve Him and attack the Philistines?
Jesus sought no earthy wife at all, but He did take a Bride (that’s is to say, the Church) from among his enemies. Aren’t we all His enemies unless or until we accept Him and His love for us? If you aren’t sure about that, take a look at Matthew 12:30.
Jesus also faced off against the Enemy. But He performed His duty out of love and trust in His Heavenly Father. Christ would even ignore what was best for Him, when necessary, and go against His own self-interests to benefit others!
I don’t want to be so selfish that the only time I will serve the Lord is when it personally benefits me.
Getting back to our chapter:
Verse 6: “Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire.”
These Philistines were true heathens, ruthless and cruel, and the sworn enemies of God’s People.
Verses 7-16: “And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease. And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam. Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us. Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them. And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves. And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock. And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.”
This was never meant to be a fable, beloved. Samson had supernatural physical strength and we are told clearly in the verse above how he got it: “and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him.”
Christ also possessed amazing supernatural powers, but He was sent not to kill men, but to heal and restore them. Yet, as we said, he also had to fight the Enemies of God. Look at that here in Matthew 8:14-16.
“And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:”
Slaying 1,000 Philistines at one time, even with the power of God, pushed Samson totally to his limits. Listen to his complaint:
Verses 17-20: “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi. And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.”
JESUS and SAMSON
When Jesus hung on the Cross, He also reached a critical state and cried out, “I thirst!” This is recorded in John 19:28. Samson was motivated by selfishness. But Jesus was selfless even in His moments of greatest personal need. Both were special men, but also real men. Both were very capable, as we are, of joy, fatigue, pain, and everything else. But the greatest similarity I have seen between Jesus and Samson is not in their living, as we have described it, but in their deaths. Samson was deceived by Delilah and forced into imprisonment by the Philistines, as is told in chapter 16 of the Book of Judges. Christ also was betrayed by one close to Him and taken into custody by the Jewish leaders and Roman officials of his time. And both men were mocked and tortured by their captors.
Samson died between two pillars of a palace after he prayed for one final anointing of strength. In one truly selfless act, He sacrificed himself to bring about a significant victory over God’s enemies. Let’s look at the description of that given in Judges 16: 28-30.
“And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”
In the last moment of His earthy existence, Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” But what was finished? What had He accomplished by being executed? Apparently, no one around Him could see any victory in it at all. This is how that was recorded in Mark 15:25-32:
“And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the superscription of his accusation was written over, The King Of The Jews. And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.”
But in Heaven the same exact event is celebrated as the SINGULAR VICTORY of all eternity. In closing, let’s look at that in Revelation 5:1-10.
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
If you believe in Christ, this is YOUR VICTORY too! And, if you don’t believe, it CAN STILL BE YOURS! But you must be able to accept it by the Grace of God, through Faith in Him. All the observers who were there that day at Mt. Calvary could only see it as a defeat. What do you see?