Facing Failure in Life

Judges 16:22-31

I read where a number of years ago, the British navy was involved in some peacetime maneuvers at sea -- involving a column of cruisers. They were steaming along in formation, when a signal was given to execute a 90-degree turn. The maneuver went off flawlessly, except for one cruiser, whose captain missed the signal. The ship almost collided with the one on front, and when it swerved to avoid a collision, the whole convoy was thrown into confusion. Only some very skillful seamanship by the other captains prevented a serious accident. When some order had been regained, the admiral sent a message to the captain who had caused all the trouble; "Captain, what are your intentions?" Immediately the captain replied, "Sir, I intend to buy a farm!" He knew without being told that that failure had cost him his naval career.

Is the Christian life like serving in the British navy? Is it "one failure and you're out?" If so, then most of us are in big trouble. But some would have us believe that we can live as we please without concern for consequence. Of course neither extreme is accurate.

Tonight as we close the book on the life of Samson, we want to see one more lesson that God would have for us to learn from this wasted life. The lesson for us tonight is on facing failure.

Last week we left Samson in the Philistine prison house, blinded, bound, and grinding at the wheel like an animal. How sad and how tragic a picture can the Word of God paint for us? Betrayed and sold out by the woman he loved, at the mercy of and abused by his life-long enemies, Samson, who had such potential for doing great and mighty things for God and His people, now must be led by the hand from place to place.

If you have ever suffered a debilitating illness you can begin to imagine how Samson might have felt. Following my heart surgery I couldn't dress myself. I wasn't allowed to drive. I felt helpless…but the big difference was that my doctors assured me that I would get better, and that I would regain my health and be able to resume my normal activities. That wasn't the case with Samson. I am sure that for him he felt this would be where he would spend the rest of his years…grinding his life away. But then we read these incredible words in Judges 16:22

"Howbeit, the hair of his head began to grow again...."

Before we read the rest of the chapter, I think it would be good for us to clarify a couple of things. When we look at a passage of Scripture, what we get from it is often determined by where we are spiritually. That is why we can read a section of the Bible at one point, and come back to that same passage later and see something that we didn't see the previous time.

I don't know about you, but for me the study of Samson's life has been an eye-opening experience for me. I thought I knew this story. But over the last several weeks as we have taken it piece by piece, I have found that I am learning that I really didn't know the story of Samson after all! The words of verse 22 are filled with promise aren't they? But we must be careful to not read into this passage what we would like to see, but rather draw from it what God would have us learn tonight.

Wouldn't it have made a wonderful Hollywood ending if Samson would have miraculously regained his strength, his sight, and his freedom! Can you see him and Delilah riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after? But that isn't what happens! Real life seldom resembles storybooks!

Tonight the lesson we need to learn concerns facing failure in life. But let's clarify what we are talking about when we use the word failure.

I. What is this Failure

Read: Judges 16:22-31

I. Lesson One: When tempted with moral failure do not give in!

II. Lesson Two: If We Have Experienced A Moral Failure, Do Not Become Bitter Toward God!

III. Lesson Three: If We Have Failed, There is Still Hope for the Future.

The passage says that Samson killed more Philistines in death, than he had in life. That is simply a fact, not an endorsement of the choices he had made in his life!

This final chapter says so much more to us about the grace of God, than it does about the strength of Samson. Let's learn the lessons tonight.