Grace for Your Day April 24, 2023

In his book, Twelve Unlikely Heroes, John MacArthur writes:

In the thirteenth chapter of Judges, Samson’s story begins much like Gideon’s did. The Israelites were, once again, under the thumb of a foreign enemy: the Philistines. After years of oppression, the Angel of the Lord – another pre-incarnate appearance of the Son of God – came to commission a new deliverer for His people. In this case, He presented Himself to Samson’s parents, announcing to them that they would soon have a son who would one day be used by God to rescue the nation …
The fact that the Angel of the Lord set Samson apart to be a Nazirite had little effect on how he actually lived as an adult. Throughout his life, he would violate all three of the Nazirite prohibitions (touching a dead body – in Judges 14:8-9; drinking at his wedding feast – in  Judges 14:10-11; and allowing his head to be shaved – in Judges 16:19). He became a man driven by fleshly desires, especially his illicit and unrestrained passion for pagan women. Scripture describes him as having a stubborn will, irrational desires, and a violent temper – a volatile combination. Ultimately, Samson’s wild disregard for the Lord’s clear commands would make his life a legendary tragedy …

Gideon and Samson represent opposite extremes. Yet both their stories teach the same basic lesson – God’s mighty power can override human weakness to accomplish his sovereign purposes. Gideon was a faint-hearted coward who, through the Lord’s strength, delivered Israel by conquering the Midianites. Samson was an audacious strongman who, along with his superhuman strength, exhibited super-sinful weakness… Yet the Lord graciously crushed and humbled him so he could be the divine weapon to accomplish victory for the Israelites over the Philistines.
Both these men are presented as examples of faith in the New Testament. Their legacies might best be summarized by the phrase in Hebrews 11:34, “out of weakness they were made strong.” It was in their moments of greatest frailty, when they were most dependent on the Lord through faith, that they were the strongest because that was when God’s power was displayed through them. Their heroism in the redemptive purposes of God was inseparably tied to their humiliation. So it is with us.

John MacArthur is right because Gideon and Samson demonstrate that God’s power always shines greatest in our moments of frailty. It is when we see ourselves as nothing and trust in Him for everything that God uses us the most. Gideon demonstrated that in his battles with the Midianites. Samson demonstrated it in his battles with the Philistines and we demonstrate it in the spiritual battles that face today which is what we are going to talk about this week at Grace Fellowship Church.

This Sunday, we are continuing our study of the Hall of Faith by looking at Samson, the judge of Israel because, despite his great physical strength, Samson was a weak man. He had several moral flaws because he could kill a lion but he could not kill his lust. He could overcome armies but he could not overcome temptation. However, when he chose to trust in God at the end of his life and cry out to Him, Judges 16:30 says that “[the Philistines] whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.”

The lesson that we learn from him is demonstrated well in Second Corinthians 12:8-10 which says:

“My power is sufficient for you and My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Samson’s final encounter with the Philistines demonstrates that God does not give the greatest victory to proud men. He gives it to those who are genuinely broken and weak because they see themselves as nothing but they see Christ as everything. May we learn how to do that in our lives today.

So that when we struggle with sin, we see Christ as everything.

When we feel tempted to despair, we see Christ as everything.

When we feel anxious or afraid, we see Christ as everything.

When we want to give up hope, we see Christ as everything.

Please join us as we talk about that on Sunday morning. The service begins at 9:30 and it will be livestreamed on our You Tube Channel for all those who cannot make it in person.

– Jeremy Cagle