The nation of Israel is in a horrible cycle throughout the book of Judges. Israel would disobey God; God would send judgment upon them, they would cry out to God for help, and God would deliver them. That cycle is repeated time and again. Around 250 years has passed since Joshua's death. We come to a character, named Samson.
When you hear his name, what comes to mind? To me I think of a wasted life. I have met many folks who are 'modern day' Samsons. Folks with so much potential for being used of God, but for one reason or another they have wasted their lives.
Tonight, I want us to consider Samson, and look at what led up to his becoming a 'wash-out' for God. And I hope every one of us here tonight would say, "I don't want my life to turn out like Samson's." "I don't want words like "he wasted it" or "she wasted it" to be written over my life story!" Of course, that is why the Lord gave us the story of Samson; that we might learn and avoid repeating the same mistakes.
This is not just a Bible story to be read before bedtime or illustrated in a children's class. This is the powerful, life-changing, truth of the Word of God! In these chapters, the Lord has given us clear, specific principles to help us avoid ending up like Samson.
I. Samson Wasted His Life Because He Did Not Recognize The Seriousness of the Times.
1Ch 12:32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
A. Joshua had died.
1. As long as Joshua was alive, and as long as those who served with Joshua were alive…
2. The people served the Lord.
3. But a new generation came along who didn't know the Lord.
4. Read: Judges 2:7-15
B. Why did this happen?
1. The parents failed to communicate their faith to their children.
2. But there is also a strong possibility that the children didn't listen to the instruction of their parents.
3. You see, my life was on the road to being wasted.
a. My parents were not the best example of living the Christian life before us as we grew up.
b. But I was rebellious and wouldn't listen to what they did try to teach me!
c. So, I don't believe in the thinking today that we can always blame the parents for how a child turns out.
d. Certainly we may share the blame, but there is such a thing as personal responsibility for my behavior!
C. The point here is that these were serious times because of what had happened after the death of Joshua.
1. Samson should have known that.
2. He should have considered what had taken place for the last 250 years with the nation of Israel.
3. It should have changed the way he lived his life.
4. Because of the seriousness of the times, Samson shouldn't have wasted a minute of the time God had given him.
5. And neither should we!
II. Samson Wasted His Life Because He Failed To Benefit From the Spiritual Influence God Placed Around Him.
A. His parents were learners v1-8
1. Manoah's wife was barren.
a. When God wanted to do something wonderful He often used a barren woman.
b. He did it with Abraham and Sarah
c. He did it with Elkanah and Hannah
d. He did it with Zacharias and Elizabeth
e. He did it with Joseph and Mary
2. The angel of the Lord came to give them some wonderful news.
3. Manoah's response was to pray that God would send His messenger back to teach them.
4. God answered his prayer. v9-14
B. They were also respectful v15-16
1. Manoah didn't realize this man was the Angel of the Lord, but he knew God had sent Him.
2. He wanted to honor him and minister to his needs.
3. Their behavior toward this stranger speaks of their character.
C. They were people of faith. v17-23
1. Manoah asked the Angel of the Lord what his name was, that they might give honor to him.
2. Note: "…when these things come to pass…"
3. No indication of doubt, no laughing, and no questioning the Word.
4. They were people of faith!
5. They offered up a sacrifice unto the Lord and the Angel of the Lord "did wondrously".
6. When they saw it and realized that this man was truly an angel from God, they humbly fell upon their faces.
7. They discussed what they had seen and were amazed by it all.
D. Who has God placed around you to be a benefit to you spiritually?
1. Are we learning?
2. Are we paying attention?
3. Samson failed to benefit from the godly influence of his parents.
III. He Didn't Let The Holy Spirit Accomplish His Divine Work
A. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the OT was different than His ministry to believers after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
1. In the OT, the Holy Spirit came upon people for specific tasks.
2. Samson's unusual gifts and abilities were a direct result of the blessing of the Holy Spirit of God.
3. And Samson knew that -- at least intellectually.
a. He knew the Holy Spirit of God had set him apart for a divine work.
b. He knew the Holy Spirit of God had a work to do, both in the nation of Israel, and in the surrounding pagan nations.
c. But instead of co-operating with the Spirit of God, Samson grieved the Spirit of God.
d. Instead of accomplishing God's purposes with God's gifts, Samson tried to accomplish his own purposes with God's gifts.
4. The final scene of his sad life begins with the Philistines having a drunken feast, offering a great sacrifice unto their god, Dagon, saying, "Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand."
5. What a terrible waste of the gifts of the Spirit of God.
B. Will we hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
1. We are sealed by the Spirit of God, but we can grieve Him.
2. We are indwelt by the Spirit of God, but we can resist His direction.
3. We are gifted by the Holy Spirit of God, but we can waste those gifts by not using them for God's glory.
4. We must decide daily whether to walk in the Spirit or to walk in the flesh.
Samson wasted his life because