14th April 2020

Forgiven And Victorious

“Again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.”
Judges 13:1 (NIV)

The scripture above informs us that Israel had gone astray once more, but God in his mercy always delivered them by sending someone that he could use to bring that about. This time he sent an angel to inform Manoah and his wife, who was childless, that they would have a son and that he would be a Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-21). That means he would be under a vow to God and would drink no wine, or eat anything unclean, and his hair should never be shorn. He was dedicated to God from the womb and would be a leader who would deliver Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:2-5). They named him Samson, but surprise, surprise, this young man had his own ideas about how he should live, and of course he failed to carry out God’s plan for Israel. He used this gift of physical strength solely for his own purposes to hit back at the Philistines in a very childish way because of how he was treated by them, but with no thought about his nation! Unfortunately, God’s chosen Judge (Samson) was a law unto himself who cared little for his enslaved nation!

Samson married a Philistine woman from Timnah, consorted with a prostitute from Gaza, and of course he is finally ensnared by Delilah. This unfortunate choice of women destroyed his character, and the final straw was Jezebel. She wheedled out of him the source of his great strength, cut his hair and delivered him to the Philistine leaders. He was blinded and made to grind corn like an animal (Judges 16: 21-22). Notice that verse 22 informs us that his hair began to grow!

Verses 25-31 bring us to the death of God’s champion; notice—the rulers of the Philistines were overjoyed at Samson’s capture and organised a big celebration to Dagon their god. In high spirits they shouted, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands!” They called for Samson to be brought into their temple so that they could humiliate and make fun of him. Samson asked to lean on the pillars that held up this great temple; then he prayed in deep humility asking for the return of his strength so as he might avenge himself on his captors; he pushed against the pillars with his renewed strength and as it says; “He killed more in his death than he killed in his life.” Samson was blind, shorn, chained and defeated but victorious!

In his great mercy, God had forgiven every one of his rash and foolish actions, all the mistakes of the past—but how do we know that? Hebrews 11 is the faith chapter and he is included there amongst all those men and women of faith in verse 32!

Prayer
Thank you, Father, that we can learn many lessons from the selfish life of Samson; and delight because you forgave him and granted him victory.
Amen

Study by Cliff Neill
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About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill
LUTON
LU1 5JE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: luton@gracecom.church

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