Judges: Guard Your Heart
1 Timothy 5:22b Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
neither be partaker of other men’s sins—For in so doing you become in some degree responsible for his sins. keep thyself pure—Keep yourself clear of participating in other men’s sins by rebuking those that do sin (5:20).
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Israel oppressed by the Philistines
Judges 13:1 Again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines, who oppressed them for forty years.
Prior to Samson’s birth, Israel had been in bondage to the Philistines for forty years (13:1).
Judges 13:3 The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son.
Samson’s mother is visited by the angel of the Lord, who tells her of his future birth (13:2, 3). She thus becomes one of the four biblical women who received such a pre-birth angelic promise.
(Sarah/Isaac-Elisabeth/John the Baptist-Mary/Jesus)
Samson’s Nazirite Vow
Judges 13:4-5 So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.”
Nazarite not Nazarene…Wine, Hair, dead body
Judges 13:8, 12 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, saying, “Lord, please let the man of God come back to us again and give us more instructions about this son who is to be born.” So Manoah asked him, “When your words come true, what kind of rules should govern the boy’s life and work?”
On this occasion Samson’s parents prayed a prayer all expectant Christian parents should pray (Jdg. 13:8, 12). Who was this angel of the Lord: The parents attempted to discover his name, but were told, “it is secret” (v. 17). The Hebrew word here translated “secret,” can also be rendered “wonderful,” and is very similar to the word used in Isaiah 9:6, where we are told concerning Christ’s birth that, “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” This would strongly indicate a pre-Bethlehem appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Heart: keep thy heart—The heart, because it is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects life and character (Matt. 12:35; 15:19),
must be carefully guarded and protected from evil (Phil. 4:8).
The heart, like a spring, is to be valued (Josh. 15:13-19; Judg. 1:11-15), protected (Gen. 29:2; Exod. 2:17; 2 Chron. 32:30), and not polluted (2 Kings 2:19ff.).
Samson’s Carnal Nature
Judges 14:1-3 One day when Samson was in Timnah, one of the Philistine women caught his eye. When he returned home, he told his father and mother, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.” His father and mother objected.
He determined to marry an unbelieving Philistine girl, to the dismay of his parents. Already Samson’s carnal nature is seen coming to the surface.
In spite of his sensuality, God used him for his glory (14:1-4).
“Compromise can ruin a life of great potential”
Judges 14:12-14 “Out of the one who eats came something to eat; out of the strong came something sweet.” Three days later they were still trying to figure it out.
En route to Philistia Samson kills a lion. Later he discovers that a swarm of bees had chosen the carcass of the lion to make honey in. At his wedding feast Samson uses this experience as a basis for a riddle (Jdg. 14:12-14).
The guests eventually would dishonestly solve this riddle, getting the answer from Samson’s bride. He becomes furious at this and pays his debt to the wedding guests, but only at the expense of thirty Philistine victims (14:15-19).
Killed 30 Philistines –
He returns only to find that the girl’s father had given his bride to Samson’s best man! In an act of revenge, the Hebrew strong man does the following:
Set fire to the Philistine crops –
He then killed many Philistines (15:8). After this, the Philistines threaten to destroy the tribe of Judah unless Samson is bound and delivered to them. Samson meekly allows himself to be tied up, but as the enemy comes in view he breaks the ropes, grabs the jawbone of an ass, and slaughters 1,000 Philistines (15:9-17).
Killed 1000 Philistines
Samson Broke the Nazirite Vow
Touched dead animal Judges14:8-9 – Drunk Wine Judges 14:10 – Hair cut Judges 16:19
8 Later, when he returned to Timnah for the wedding, he turned off the path to look at the carcass of the lion. And he found that a swarm of bees had made some honey in the carcass. 9 He scooped some of the honey into his hands and ate it along the way. He also gave some to his father and mother, and they ate it. But he didn’t tell them he had taken the honey from the carcass of the lion.
10 As his father was making final arrangements for the marriage, Samson threw a party at Timnah, as was the custom for elite young men.
17 Finally, Samson shared his secret with her. “My hair has never been cut,” he confessed, “for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else.”
High Cost of Low Living
Judges 16:21 So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison.
Samson returns to God
Judges 16:28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time.
In prison he regains his strength as his hair grows out again. He is then allowed by God to destroy thousands of Philistines who had gathered in their heathen temple for a drunken orgy. In the following destruction Samson himself perished (Jdg. 16:22-31).
God would prefer to forgive than judge
Hebrews 11:32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.
My Decision Today
James 4:8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
Draw nigh [near] to God—Satan is against anyone who has a desire to get close to God. That is why the Christian must consciously cling to him (Deut. 30:20). he will draw nigh [near] to you—God always responds to those who sincerely seek him, but he cannot come close to people who deliberately keep their distance from him. Cleanse your hands—Hands represent what a person does. Clean actions are a must in the Christian life. purify your hearts—As the hands represent what a person is on the outside, the heart symbolizes what a man is on the inside. It is in the heart that the “whole army of evil desires” (4:1, TLB) is at war, and it is here that the “evil pleasures of this world” (4:4, TLB) are first admitted. God wants men whose attitudes as well as actions are clean and pure.
1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.