Series: Failure is not Final in The Father!
MEN’S MONTH Lesson 4: September 22 – 28, 2021
AIM: After studying this lesson, students will know thatin spite of our faults, failures, sins, mistakes, errors of judgment, God can still make something beautiful of our lives. Students will REALIZE that even the saints of Biblical times struggled to keep the faith.
There have been times in our lives where we have experienced the pain of poor choices or poor action. In these moments, it can be easy to entertain a notion that we have blown it, that God can’t use us and there is no hope for restoration. I think we all face these feelings when we fail. During these times, we can draw strength from God’s word, where He tells the stories of heroes of the faith who have blown it! In some cases, their failures are so extreme, it would be natural to say that God would have a right to turn His back on them. But that is not God’s nature. He is all about redemption. So, when we fail, we can be thankful that God loves a good comeback story. He is a God of a second chance. Naw, He is a God of a third chance. Nix that. . .He is a God of many chances!
Four chapters in the book of Judges (Judges 13-16) covers the life of Samson, one of the most famous characters in the Old Testament. Samson has been called by God to a very special ministry, and he had been born with great hope. But from the very beginning of adulthood, his private life was a disaster. Women became his downfall. So far as is known, the only godly woman involved in his life was his mother! But the other women with whom he associated led to his downfall.
In the life of Samson, the cycle of a compromising, inconsistent life is personified, and fully illustrated. Samson was double-minded, up and down, back and forth, unpredictable and undependable – inconsistent throughout his entire life! He yielded his body to the carnal, fleshly appetites of the world. He craved the bright lights of the worldly Philistines, took part in their drunken parties, lusted after their women, partook of their pleasures, and engaged in their carnal festivities. Here and there he fought a battle against the enemy for the LORD, but he soon slipped back into sin, back into the inconsistent, compromising lifestyle! Whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait a minute – that sounds like the believers of today! Before you criticize Samson – look at your life. Have you done what God called YOU to do? Have you walked after His way or have you followed the way of the world?? BUT. . .we will see Samson in the “Hall of Fame of Faith”, PLUS we will see him as a “type” of Jesus Christ!
Judges 13:1 (NCV)
Again the people of Israel did what the LORD said was wrong. So He handed them over to the Philistines for forty years.
The Israelites are caught up in a cycle of inconsistent living.
The idea is that they continued time and again to do evil, never breaking the trend of committing sin, not for long, not permanently. When they repented of their evil, they may have been sincere, but their repentance did not last. They soon turned right back to the sin that so easily entangled them.
Judges 13:2-5 (NCV)
2 There was a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan, who lived in the city of Zorah. He had a wife, but she could not have children.
3 The angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “You have not been able to have children, but you will become pregnant and give birth to a son.
4 Be careful not to drink wine or beer or eat anything that is unclean,
5 because you will become pregnant and have a son. You must never cut his hair, because he will be a Nazirite, given to God from birth. He will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.”
- A Life of Remarkable Promise
- The announcement by the Angel of the Lord was a promise of a miracle birth!
- The miracle birth shows up again and again throughout the Bible
- Sarah giving birth to Isaac
- Rebekah giving birth to Esau and Jacob
- Hannan giving birth to Samuel
- Elizabeth giving birth to John the Baptist
- And of course, Mary giving birth to Jesus!
- Like the announcement to Mary, the announcement is given to the woman first. Joseph and Manoah would find out later. The good news is given to the woman to tell her husband. She was a woman preacher!
- We are not told if Manoah and his wife were praying for a son. But we have to assume that they were as children to the biblical world meant God’s favor on them.
- But the Angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife and gave her the good news!
- Manoah prayed for assurance and confirmation of the promised deliverer.
- God heard and answer Manoah’s prayer and once again sent the Angel of the LORD to Manoah’s wife who in turned called Him.
- Special instructions were given to the mother by the LORD.
- The reason for these special instructions was that the child was being sent on a very special mission for the LORD.
- He was to be a Nazarite, that is, totally set apart to God from his birth; and then once grown, he was to begin the deliverance of Israel.
- As a Nazarite, Samson was to. . .
- abstain from all intoxicating drink and unclean food
- never cut his hair
- never go near a dead body – not even of his family
- Samson did not choose to be a Nazarite, but he was given the privilege by God Himself.
- Samson was not to be “temporarily” dedicated to God; his entire life was to belong to God. His commitment was to be a lifetime commitment.
Thought 1: God gave Samson the privilege of being a Nazarite, the privilege of being total set apart and dedicated to Him. This is wonderful news for us, for God has given us the very same privilege. We are called to be committed, dedicated, and totally set apart to God. Our hearts are to be set upon God, committed to following Him. Our lives are to belong totally to Him.
Judges 13:25 (KJV) And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times. . .
Judges 14:6 (KJV) And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him. . .
Judges 15:14 (KJV) 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.
- A Life of Resplendent Possibilities
- Samson had a life of. . .
- Samson was given everything he needed at birth to have a successful life!
- When Samson became a young man, the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him to deliver Israel from the Philistines.
- The presence of God was upon His life in a very special way.
- Samson was appointed to be a judge, one of the deliverers of his people.
Thought 2: Just as God gave Samson everything, he needed to live a successful life, He has done the same for us! He has given us power through the Holy Spirit, the privilege of calling on Him and purpose in our lives!
Thought 3: Just as God met the needs of the Israelites, so He will meet our needs, no matter what the need may be.
- The need may be personal: some pain or suffering or problems or difficulty. But no matter how severe or terrifying the situation or circumstance may be, God will still meet our need.
- No matter how discouraged, distressed or alone we may feel, God will be there for us.
God does not leave us alone to face the trials and temptations of life. God stands right with us. God will meet our every need.
Matthew 28:20 (KJV) “. . .lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen”
- A Life of Relinquished Purposes
- Samson stands out as a man of striking contrasts. He had a kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde being.
- He was separated as a Nazarite (Judges 13:5), yet tampered with evil associations (Judges 14:1-4)
- “Nazarite” comes from the Hebrew word meaning “consecrated” or “separated”. Their vow required the person to:
- Abstain from all alcohol derived from grapes.
- Refrain from cutting the hair on one’s head; but to allow the locks of the head’s hair to grow.
- Not to become ritually impure by contact with corpses or graves, even those of family members.
In general, there are two types of Nazirites:
- A Nazirite for a set time
- A permanent Nazirite
- He was occasionally Spirit-possessed (Judges 13:25; 15:14) yet yield to carnal appetites (Judges 16:1-4).
- He appeared childish in some of his plans (Judges 15:4), yet was courageous in battle (Judges 15:1-4)
- He was mighty in physical strength (Judges 16:3, 9, 13, 14), yet weak in resisting temptation (Judges 16:15-17)
- He had a noble beginning but a sad ending (Judges 16:30).
- As long as Samson remained a Nazarite he was unconquerable.
- The results of Samson’s self-indulgence after he broke his Nazarite vow, appear in this dark and ominous order:
- Self-confidence – I will go out (v. 20)
- Self-ignorance – He did not know (v. 20)
- Self-weakness – The Philistines seized him (v. 21)
- Self-darkness – They gouged out his eyes (v. 21)
- Self-degradation – They brought him down to Gaza (v. 21)
- Self-bondage – they bound him with bronze shackles (v. 21)
- Self-drudgery – he did grind in the prison (v. 21)
- Self-humiliation – called for Samson (16:25, 27)
- He only of all the judges of whom we have any history, does everything single-handed and alone. We are not told about a whole generation while he served as judge.
- how he managed his court,
- nor about the wisdom of his judgments,
- nor about the manner of Israel’s life
Thought 4: All kinds of enemies confront every one of us, enemies that can damage or destroy us. BUT. . .there is deliverance, the power to walk through any threatening situations. God will empower us to conquer and overcome!
1 Corinthians 10:13 (TPT) We all experiencetimes of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously.
Judges 16:25-30 (NIV)
25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars,
26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.”
27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.
28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,
30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
- A Last Lap of Restored Power
- Samson lost his strength – became weak
- Samson lost his sight – became blind
- Samson lost his liberty – became a prisoner
- Samson lost his dignity – became a slave
- BUT Samson prayed – God heard his prayer!
- Restored his strength, not his sight
- Samson failed to live up to his great gifts but in the end, he received back his power and slayed more enemies in his death than he did in his life!
- Failure is not final in The Father!
- Samson can be seen in the Hall of Fame of Faith
Hebrews 11:32 (AMPC) And what shall I say further? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephtah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,
- Samson can be seen as a “type” of Jesus Christ
- the birth of both was foretold by an Angel
- the Angel appeared to the mothers and not the fathers
- however, the conception is different
- the supreme strength and courage of Samson in fighting and killing the lion points forward to Christ’s destroying of our adversary the devil, who is likened to a roaring lion
1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
- The Jews wanted the Lord’s death because they saw Him as their destroyer (John 11:50). And the Philistines saw Samson likewise (Judges 16:24).
John 11:50 (NLT) “You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
Judges 16:24 (NLT) When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us is now in our power!”
- The way they “made sport” of Samson links with how the Lord was mocked
- Samson’s dying between the two pillars is broadly similar, as a kind of silhouette, to the Lord’s death between two crosses.
PRAYER PRINCIPLE: Thank God for the many chances we’ve been given to correct our mistakes.
SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE: Let others know that their mistake is not final because God is a multi-chance, loving Father.
EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE: Share with others how Christ’s death allowed us to keep living despite our past mistakes or present self-predicament.
STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE: We should be ready to give based on the number of times we’ve been delivered.
DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE: Although you may feel your life has placed you in deep trouble, just know that deliverance is available to you for the asking.
NEXT WEEK’S LESSON: A Powerful Voice
NEXT WEEK’S SERIES: Nothing but a Voice
NEXT WEEK’S READING:
Day 1: Genesis 1:1-19
Day 2: Genesis 1:20-31
Day 3: Psalms 29:4, 5, 7; 46:6; Job 37:2, 5; 40:19
Day 4: Revelations 1:10-16; 3:20-22; 4:1; 14:2
Day 5: John 1:1-4; 11:30-44
Day 6: I Thess. 4:13-16
Day 7: Luke 23:43-46; Matthew 27:50; John 19:30