Dear Visionary Leader:
In Hebrews 11:1 we read, “Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.”
What is your report card like today, so far as faith is concerned? A? A+? C-? One young man came to his professor and said, “Professor, I don’t believe I deserve this F.” The professor said, “Neither do I, but it was the lowest grade I had.”
Is that the kind of faith you have? What kind of a report card would God give you today if God today had to measure you? By faith, the elders obtained a good report. Why is faith so important? In Hebrews 11:6, we read, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Our verse for our teaching is Hebrews 11:32: “And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson.”
We now come to the story of Samson. In Judges 13:24, we see the story of Samson, who also was one of the elders recorded here in the Word of God, one of those great men of faith.
The title of our teaching today is “Overcoming Defeat Through Faith.” Do you feel like a failure? Do you feel like you’ve failed the Lord; and, really, you don’t even deserve a second chance? Then, this message is just for you. We read, “And the woman bare a son, and she called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him.”
Do you know what the name Samson means? It means “shine.” Oh, what sunshine this little boy brought into the life of his mother! Do you imagine that she called him Sunny when he was a little boy? Sunny Boy, that was his name! Samson! Sunshine! His parents began to notice that he was a very unusual child. The Spirit of the Lord God was upon him! And God, through His Spirit, began to move this child! And what mighty, tremendous feats of strength he performed! He was the strongest man I suppose that has ever lived. Entire armies trembled at his sight. One time with a jawbone, he picked up from a field, he slew a thousand Philistines. There was a time when a mighty lion roared upon him, and Samson, the Bible says, with nothing in his hand, tore that lion as you would mangle a baby kitten in your bare hands! On one occasion, he took the post and the city gates and bars and all, and, carried them for a ride on his shoulders! What a man of strength was this man Samson!
What was the secret of his strength? Be careful, or you’ll make a mistake. You’re liable to think that he was the Incredible Hulk of the Old Testament, but he wasn’t. Had you seen him, he would not have had mountains of muscles. He would not have had bulging biceps. The secret of his strength was not his physique. If the secret of his strength was his physique, then it would be no secret. You just look at him, you say, “No wonder he’s so strong. Look how big he is.” That’s not the secret of his strength. Delilah kept saying, “What is the secret of your strength? What is the secret of your strength?”
Somebody may say; “Well, then, the secret of his strength was in his long hair.” He was a Nazarene. He had taken a special vow to abstain from certain paralyzing sins and activities in his life. In his day, a symbol of his Nazarite vow of his was his long hair that no razor would ever come upon his head. It is ridiculous to think that his strength came from his long hair. This was only a symbol of his submission to God.
The secret of his strength is plainly shown right here in the Bible: “the Spirit of God came upon him.” That was the secret of his strength. The Spirit of God was in this man! And God, through the Holy Spirit, gave him supernatural strength! His physical strength in the Old Testament is meant to be to us an illustration of the spiritual strength that the Holy Spirit is giving to us in this day. Our Lord said, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto Me.”
To what great heights this man soared! He was the judge over all Israel for twenty years. Therefore, not only was he a man of physical strength, he was a man of great wisdom. He was the hero of his day. His name was on the lips of everyone. However, just as he soared to great heights, he also fell to great, great depths. How the mighty have fallen! Samson went from hero to zero. He went from victor to victim. He went from overcomer to overcome.
One of the saddest stories in all of the Bible is the story of the power of sin; the blighting, awful power of sin in the life of Samson. He went from disobedience to defeat, to disgrace, to disappointment, and finally to destruction.
We Need To Recognize The Source Of Sin
God blessed the child. In Judges 13:24, we read, “The Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him at times.” Where did this sin come from? How did Samson ever get into sin to begin with? Here’s the source of his sin: no matter that he loved God and knew God and believed in God, he still had an old nature about him. The Bible says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Samson fell because of the old nature that was in him. He took his eyes off the Lord and allowed them to wander to certain temptations and things.
James tells us how temptation happens. James 1:13, states, “Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God.’ For God tempted no man with evil. Neither can he be tempted of evil.” You can’t say, “God made me do it.” You can’t say, “The devil made me do it.” “But every man is tempted,” James says, “when he is drawn away of his own lust. And lust, when it hath conceived, brings forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.”
There are three persons sitting in every seat the local church. You may say, “No wonder it’s so crowded.” Pay attention to this thought. There is the self that is sitting there right now. There is the saint that you could be. I mean, the person for God you could be. If you would just let go of this world and take hold of the Lord with both hands by faith, and say, “Sink or swim, live or die, once and for all, now and forever, I’m going for God.” You don’t know what God could do through you!
There is a third person sitting in that seat, the sinner we could become. I don’t believe that any of us realize the potentiality for evil there is in our lives. You may say, “Well, something bad would never happen to me.” You are no better than Samson. You’re no better than Simon Peter. You’re no better than King David. A lot of God’s choicest of saints have sinned and they’ve fallen! The Bible says, “Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.” There is no sin of the flesh that a child of God is not capable of committing if he takes his eyes from the Lord Jesus Christ! The source of this sin is this: “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed! And lust, when it hath conceived bringeth forth sin.”
We Need To Remember The Course Of Sin
I want you to understand the course that sin took Samson. First, Samson had the indifference of a careless life. In Judges 14:1-4, we read, “And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up and his mother and his father said, ‘I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.’ And his father and his mother said unto him, ‘Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take the wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?’ And Samson said to his father, ‘Get her for me; for she pleases me well.'”
He is not thinking here about pleasing God. He is thinking about pleasing Samson. The Bible says, “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” Samson is not acting in faith; he’s acting according to the flesh. He’s trying to please himself. As I have said before, if you please God, it doesn’t matter whom you displease. But if you displease God, it doesn’t matter whom you please.
He had no business being among the Philistines. He had no business looking around at those unsaved girls. He had no business wanting to marry an unsaved person. Did you know, ladies and gentlemen, that the Bible teaches that a Christian is not to marry an unsaved person? I see young people make foolish choices! They love the Lord God with all of their heart, and yet they go out and get unequally yoked together with an unbeliever. The Bible says clearly, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” Samson married a Philistine girl. The Philistines were demonic people! The Philistines were wicked people! Yet, Samson married a Philistine woman! He married a child of the devil.
If you marry a child of the devil, then you get the devil for a father-in-law. You talk about in-law problems. This is where Samson’s problem began. He married an unsaved girl! He was out of the will of God. He just simply compromised. Here was what we call “the indifference of a careless life.” Now, that might not seem like such a great sin, but sin starts small. Nobody goes roaring off into sin. It starts with the wrong company. Samson was down there among the Philistines. He was where he should not have been! He was not practicing Biblical separation! You show me the crowd you run with, and I’ll tell you the kind of a person you are or the kind of a person you will soon become. He started running with the Philistines; before long he was living in sin and acting like the Philistines. The Bible says, “A companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Secondly, Samson lived the indulgence of a carnal life. In Judges 14:5, we read,
Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother. And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well. And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion. And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion. And so his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made a feast; for so used the young men to do. And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him. And Samson said unto them, ‘I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: but if you cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments.’ And they said unto him, ‘Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.’ And he said unto them, ‘Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.’ And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
Samson was walking along. There’s a lion that pounces upon him. The lion thought he would have a Samson burger steak. He had a mistake. He got hold of Samson, and Samson got hold of him, and he tears this lion apart, limb from limb! Now, he goes on to the wedding feast. There are thirty young Philistines. He says to them, “Say, I’ve got a riddle for you!” He said, “If you can figure out the riddle, I’ll make a little wager with you. I’ll give you thirty brand new suits. If you can’t figure it out, you give me thirty brand new suits.” And he says, “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.” The lion was the eater. The meat was the honey. The lion was strong. The honey was sweet. That was his riddle.
When they couldn’t figure out this riddle, they went to Samson’s new wife, and said, “You get him to tell the answer to this riddle.” Thus, she said to Samson, “Samson, tell me the answer to the riddle.” And Samson said, “I’ve not told my father and my mother. Should I tell you?” Now, he shouldn’t have said that. That was his first mistake. Nobody ever tells a young bride that! “I haven’t told my father and my mother! You think I’m going to tell you?” Then she turned on the waterworks, and she began to cry! So, he then told her, and she told her friends and her brothers. Next, they told Samson, the answer to the riddle and he was infuriated. He said, “If you’d not plowed with my heifer, you’d not found out my riddle.” Now, I don’t advise a wife to double-cross her husband. I certainly don’t advise a husband to call his new bride a heifer.
So, Samson, he’s going to keep this debt. He goes out and in order to keep the debt, he kills thirty Philistines, takes their clothes off, and comes and pays this wager! Samson is starting to go down, down and down.
Samson is now feast jesting, gambling, fighting, arguing and already in a terrible broken relationship with this unsaved woman because their home is not built on Almighty God. You see him now as he starts to bend. Normally, someone does not go roaring into sin, but his life starts to come apart!
Next, Samson takes another step down. He lives the inequity of a callous life. In Judges 16:4, we read, “And it came to pass that afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.”
He lost his first wife. Then, he had an affair with another woman. Now, he is keeping company with a trashy harlot, whose name was Delilah. Delilah, also, was a Philistine. It is hard to believe that Samson, the man of God, is doing such a thing.
Yet, the devil is very clever. The devil never told Samson this is the way he wanted him to end. Young people, the devil never comes to you and says, “Do you see the drunkard lying in the gutter covered with vomit, and lying in his own wallow; the flies buzzing around his face and crawling in and out of his mouth? That’s the way I want to make you.” No, he doesn’t say that. He says, “You drink, and you’ll be a young man of distinction.” It’s the finished product.
Sin starts small, but it doesn’t end small. Young lady, the devil- doesn’t point to you and say, “You see that girl, that woman with a child out of wedlock? Do you see that body of hers filthy and ridden with’ disease? Do you see that coarse laugh that she has that’s only covering up her broken heart? I’m going to make you, like that disgraced and a broken woman.” The devil never starts that way! I don’t think that Samson would ever have thought that he would have ended up in the arms of this filthy harlot named Delilah!
We Need To Resist The Force Of Sin
I want you to see what his sin did to him. The consequences of Samson’s sin could not be escaped. The Bible says in the Book of Numbers, “Be sure –your sin will find you out.” There are not many things in this world you can be sure of. Someone has said, “Well, something are just as sure as death and taxes.” Well, even those things are not sure. You may not die. Jesus may come, and by a miracle of miracles, there won’t be any more taxes. But don’t bet on it.
Somebody says, “Well, just as sure as the sun will rise in the morning…” Well, the sun may not rise in the morning. One time in the past, God made the sun to stand still. He can do it again any day He chooses. There are a lot of things you can’t be sure of, but there is one thing you can know beyond the shadow of any doubt or peradventure: be sure – your sin will find you out. Just be sure! I want you to notice the deadly force of Samson’s sin.
First, there was the blinding force of that sin.Samson was keeping company with Delilah. The Philistines are hating him by this time, and so we read in Judges 16:5, “And the lords of the Philistines came 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.'”
Eleven hundred pieces of silver equates to about three thousand dollars. They said, “Delilah! If you find some way that we can tie this man up, and do him harm; Delilah, we’ll pay you three thousand dollars.” Thus, she began to entice him. She began to bribe him. She said, “Sammy boy, would you tell me what makes you so strong?”
Samson said, “Well, I can’t tell you that.”
She said, “Well, uh, would you tell me how you could be tied up if someone wanted to hurt you? Just tell me. Just between you and me, Sammy boy.”
He responded, “Well, “If you were to tie me with seven green vines,” I wouldn’t be able to break those vines.”
So, she tied him up with seven green vines, and then she said, “Samson! The Philistines!” He jumped up, and the Bible says he broke those vines right away.
Delilah said, “Samson, you’ve lied to me. Now, tell me how you can be tied up, and what’s the secret of your strength?”
Samson said, “”If you tie me with seven new ropes,” he said, “then I wouldn’t be able to move at all.”
She got seven brand new ropes and tied him up, and the same thing happened again: “Samson! The Philistines are here!” And he jumps up, and the Bible says, “And he broke the ropes like they were thread.”
She said, “Now, Samson, you say that you love me, and you haven’t even given me all your heart.” In Judges 16:15, we read, “And she said unto him, ‘How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me?” It’s a shame he didn’t hear God saying that to him, isn’t it? “How can you say you love me, when your heart is not with me! Now, you tell me.”
Next Samson said, “You weave my hair in the web of the loom; then I won’t be able to move.” But wait a minute. He is getting closer now, isn’t he? He’s dealing with his hair now, but he’s still not telling her the truth. However, she begins to needle him, to nag, to beg and to plead.
The Bible says finally, when she vexed him unto death — Verse 17, “he told her all his heart, and said unto her, ‘There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarene unto God from my mother’s womb.'”
In other words, “The secret of my strength is spiritual; and 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 shewed 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 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 wist not that the Lord was departed from him.”
Now, underline Judges 16:21, because it’s a key verse. “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.”
What is the force of his sin? What did his sin do to him? What was the deadly force? First, is the blinding force of sin. The Philistines took Samson, and they took searing hot pokers, and they plunged them into his eyes, into his skull; and his eyeballs fizzled and fried, and they burned his eyes out. And sunshine would never see the sunshine again. The blinding power of sin.
I want you to understand that long before this had happened to Samson, he was already blind. Can you imagine when Delilah says to him, “Samson, what’s the secret of your strength? Tell me. “How could you be afflicted? Don’t you feel like saying, “Samson, you nincompoop! Don’t you see what she’s trying to do to you? Samson, how can you be so blind! Samson, how can you be so stupid!” There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.
People tell us sometimes that we need to get experience in sin. We need to be a part of the Avanti Garde. We need to be a little bit of a sophisticated generation. After all, why knock it till you’ve tried it! You know, that’s what the devil told Eve in the Garden of Eden, “After all, just get into sin! Live it up! Experience it! Don’t be a babe in the woods!” Mark it down, the deeper one goes into sin, the less he understands about sin.
How stupid Samson was! How blind he was! And this physical blindness was only a graphic illustration of the greater spiritual blindness, for the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The God of this age hath blinded the mind of them that believe not.” He was blind in his mind before he was blind with his eyes.
Additionally, to the blinding force of his sin, there was also the binding force of his sin. In Judges 16:21, we read, they “brought him down to Gaza, and bound him.”
Here was mighty Samson, bound in fetters of brass! But before that, he was already shackled by his sin, wasn’t he? And the binding in the physical way was only illustrative of the fact that already he had been bound by his sin.
There is none so shackled as the man or woman who’s shackled by his or her sin. People talking about being free. They say, “I don’t want to be a Christian. I want to be free!” The biggest slave in the world is a man or woman who’s a slave to his sin.
Did you know this? Satan says, “Jump.” And they say, “How high?” And they’re talking about being free. The Bible says concerning the Lord Jesus, “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Here was mighty Samson who was bound. People say, “Well, I want to be free to drink my whiskey or my wine.” You do? It may be not long before you’ll be bound to drink whiskey. You know, the Japanese have a proverb: “First of all, the man takes a drink. Then the drink takes a drink. And then the drink takes the man.” He drank first of all happily. Then he drank heavily and habitually. He drank first of all delicately! Then he drank daringly! He drank first of all proudly! Then he drank ploddingly. He or she was carefree about it. And then he or she was crushed by it.
There was a man named the Tyrant of Syracuse, one of the meanest despots that ever occupied the throne. He was angry with the blacksmith, and the blacksmith didn’t know it. He called the blacksmith in before the throne, and he said, “I want you to show me how you would forge a chain.” The blacksmith got his molten metal. He got his anvil, his hammer, and began to make a chain of the finest steel. Finally, he had finished and he held the chain out up to the Tyrant of Syracuse, and he said, “There, Sire, is an example of my work! It’s the finest chain in all of the kingdom!” He said, “You could put a team of horses on either end, and they’d not be able to part this chain.” Then the Tyrant of Syracuse said, “Guards! Take him! Bind him in that chain! And cast him in the dungeon!” He was forging the chain that would bind him.
That’s exactly what Samson did. Samson was the one that forged those chains that bound him. There is the binding force of sin. Many today are slaves of sin, rather than servants of the Lord Jesus Christ!
However, it is not over yet. Afterwards, there was the grinding force of sin. In Judges 16:21, it says, “they put out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.” In this day when they would grind out the corn and the wheat, they would have a long pole, and an animal would be tied to that pole, an oxen, a donkey, or some sort of an animal. With the lecher’s lash they would make that animal go round and round and round and round. Here is Samson like a dumb ox! Like a donkey! Like an animal! The man who was meant to be a judge in Israel, he is grinding in the prison house!
If Samson could write his autobiography, he would have to say, “The devil lied to me. The devil told me this was the way of joy and the way of happiness, and the way of fun and fulfillment.” The devil will lie to you. It has been said, “The devil offers high wages, but he always pays off in counterfeit money.” Doctor Lee said, “Sin promises substance, but it gives shadow. Sin promises velvet, but it gives a shroud. Sin promises nectar, but it gives gall. Sin promises sleep, and it gives sins’ nightmares. It promises rest, and it gives sins’ weariness.”
The grinding power of sin! There’s nothing good about sin! There’s nothing that sin can do for you! You better treat sin like sin will treat you! And if you don’t understand how sin will treat you, then you study here in this story that God has recorded in His Divine Word. I had just as soon eat dirt, as to willingly sin. There’s the blinding power of sin! There’s the binding power of sin! There is the grinding power of sin! This was the force of Samson’s sin!
We Need To Realize The Remorse Of Sin
In Judges 16:22, we read:
Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven. Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god.” “And to rejoice: for they said, ‘Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.’ And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, ‘Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.’ And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry,” that is, when they were drunk, “that they said, ‘Call for Samson, that he may make us sport.’ And they called Samson out of the prison house, and he made them sport.
They made fun of him. They ridiculed him, like a big overgrown buffoon! They jeered and mocked and laughed at a man of God! A judge in Israel! A man in whom the Spirit of God had rested! Now, he’s bringing disgrace and contempt upon the name of Jehovah God! Can you imagine such a thing? The remorse that Samson must have felt!
Samson learned three things about sin that I want everyone to remember: 1) Sin will take you further than you want to go; 2) Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay; 3) Sin will cost you more than you want to pay. Oh, the remorse!
In that remorse, a thought came into Samson’s heart. We are now coming to the title of this message, “Overcoming Defeat Through Faith.” Never has there been a greater failure than Samson, but in his remorse, he began to think. He thought of the great God that loved him. He thought of the mercies of God. He thought of the fact that God is always willing to forgive.
In verse 26, we read, “And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, ‘Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house stands, that I may lean upon them.’ Now the house was full of men and women; and all of the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women.”
Samson called unto the Lord. Oh, I’m glad he did — “and said, ‘Oh Lord God, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, Oh God.”
Don’t you wish he had prayed that before he ever got into sin? Don’t you wish he had prayed that when he was first tempted? Don’t you wish he’d have prayed, “Oh, God, remember me! Oh, God, strengthen me this once!” Don’t you wish he’d have prayed it then? But thank God, at least he prayed it now. Samson said, “That I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my eyes.”
In verse 29 it states: “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 the other with his left hand. And Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines.’ And he bowed himself with all of his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all of the people that were therein. So, the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew with his life.”
What does all of this mean? It means in spite of what Samson did, in spite of the terrible tragedy, God is the God of the second chance. I suppose, Samson is one of the greatest heroes of faith because he had such great faith. You say, “Where was his great faith?” Samson had enough faith to know that even though he was a failure and a disgrace and shamed God, that God still loved him and would remember him when he came in repentance and faith. That’s a lot of faith!
Do you know what somebody called faith? Faith is our acceptance of God’s acceptance of us when we trust Him. Faith is our acceptance of God’s acceptance of us!
Maybe you have failed and you’ve failed so much! But, as a messenger of God I want to tell you that God loves you. And the same God that blessed Samson, who chose Samson as an illustration of faith, he learned to face his failure with faith!
Sure, Samson died prematurely. Sure, he lost so many of the blessings that he could have had. However, when he overcame his defeat through faith, God moved in his life one more time. God move in your life, for He loves you very much.
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking