Category: Men in the Bible

Sin Blinds. Sin Binds. Sin Grinds.

 

 

WEEK 52:      

 

 

 

Judges 16:21-31 21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. 22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven. 23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. 25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars. 26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand; suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. 27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. 28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. 31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burying place of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.

Verse 21 – Oh no – it gets worse doesn’t it? How the mighty has fallen. Samson has had his eyes gorged out – not under anaesthetic either. No pain killers. No numbing the area. No painkillers. The Philistines are tormenting him now. He has terrorised them for years – it’s payback time for them now. He is bound in chains and fetters and his new abode is in a prison house. He became a grinder. What is a grinder? This is what animals did. Samson has been reduced to the level of an animal. This is always what Satan wants to accomplish in our lives. He seeks to reduce us to animals. We are made in the image of God. The angels are not made in the image of God. Man is made in the image of God, so Satan wants to reduce us to that of an animal.

Three things to take note of here. (1) Sin blinds. (2) Sin binds. (3) Sin grinds. Sins blinds us to the pain and suffering of the consequences such that we think the pleasure of it will continue to last. We are blinded to the reality that the bitterness of sins consequences linger on longer than the sweetness of sins pleasure – which is but for a season. Once the bitterness of that sin blinds us – it then binds us in that we are in bondage to it – which leads to how sin grinds us down to nothing.

Verses 22-24 – Whilst Samson’s hair begins to grow back again – he would never have his eye sight again. Sometimes – not all the time, but sometimes God will restore us and restore the years that the locust has eaten. But there are times that sin will take such a heavy toll that something’s can never be restored again. God is a God of endless chances. There are some consequences to sin that will be so far reaching as to have a profound effect on our lives – for the rest of our lives.

Verses 25-31 – What a sad end to a life with such a call. It is worth noting, that in 20 years that Samson was a judge of Israel, this is only the second time he prayed – in 20 years! The first time he prayed was in chapter 15 when he was thirsty and he asked God to provide water and God provided water. This time – this second time his prayer is a little more fervent and effectual one might say.

The lesson here is clear – a life of prayerlessness will doubtless give way to a life that is riddled with sinfulness. Prayerlessness leads to sinfulness. As we have it recorded – Samson prayed on two occasions to the LORD in 20 years. Need we look any further at why such a man would fall in such a way?

Another lesson we can take from Samson’s life is how it can be unspeakably perilous for us to play games with God’s call on our life, by not taking it seriously. Not taking the will of God, God’s purpose for our lives seriously. To not take seriously the call of God on ones’ life is a waste of ones’ life. Imagine what Samson with that supernatural strength could have done had he not done what he did? He was born as a Nazarite. He was so called from the womb – this was a call from the womb to the tomb. He was consecrated from his mother’s womb, set apart, sanctified unto the LORD for a purpose. He should have known his history – he was the 12th judge out of 13 judges. He knew about the cyclical sin cycle that Israel being an obstinate people were prone to. He surely would have heard stories, and accounts and tales of woes about how the Israelites were repeatedly held in bondage by their oppressors. Yet he unfortunately still fell prey to the mistakes of his people – he walked knowingly into the lion’s den – he went to the land of the Philistines – not once, but twice. How sad.

Samson thwarted the will of God and the call of God on his life. And so this is true for us. We sometimes play games, we take risks, we don’t take God’s call on our lives seriously, there is no reverent soberness when it comes to God’s will for our lives.

Finally, Samson’s life should teach us that no matter how much we lost because of sins cost- God is always merciful. God is so merciful to Samson. What is mercy? Mercy is us not getting what we do deserve. What is grace? Grace is getting something that we don’t deserve. And that is what Samson was the recipient of – the LORD in His infinite mercy granted was to Samson.

 

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The A-B-C To Salvation In Christ Jesus

 

 

 

Dear Reader – IF you have not accepted Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour of your life – it is our belief that time is running out. To receive and accept Jesus as Lord is as simple as A. B. C.

A – ACCEPT that you are a sinner, and you need the blood of Jesus to cleanse you of your sins.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

B – BELIEVE  in you heart that Jesus is the Son of God and He came and died on the cross to take away the sins of Mankind.

John 3:15-18 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

C – CONFESS – Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Romans 10:9-11 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

 

PRAY THIS PRAYER IF YOU BELIEVE THE ABOVE

 

Heavenly Father – I come to you as a sinner in need of the blood of Jesus who shed His blood on the cross of Calvary to forgive me and take away my sins. I ask that You forgive me and wash me and cleanse me with the blood of Jesus of all my sins Lord. I believe in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God. I accept Him today as the Lord and Saviour of my life. I ask Lord that you send your Holy Spirit to come and live within me and help guide my footsteps as I walk in the newness of the new life in Christ Jesus. I thank you Father for writing my name down in the Lamb’s Book of life. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN.

Brothers and Sisters – if you prayed the above pray for the first time – you are NOW born again. WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD.

I would encourage you to tell others of your new found faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Find a church that preaches and teaches the undiluted Word of God without fear of man, and start to grow in the Lord.

WELCOME BROTHER.

WELCOME SISTER.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

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……And The Spirit Departed – But He Knew It Not!!!

 

 

 

WEEK 51:       

 

 

Judges 16:11-20 11 And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. 12 Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread. 13 And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, if thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web. 14 And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web. 15 And she said unto him, how canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? Thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. 16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; 17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. 18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. 19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. 20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

Verses 11-12 A second time Samson? Why didn’t Samson just flee? The only logical explanation must be that he is already bound by his sin. He has been playing around with sin thinking that he has got it under control. When you call sin sin – and not an issue then that is going to be a game changer in your life, because sin is sin. Samson thinks that he is in total control, when the thing is sin has him under its total control, and that is what sin is like.

“A second time betrayed. A second time delivered – will he not fly now from the deceiver’s house? Alas no you might sooner teach a moth to shun the candle than a man besotted by sin to escape from its wick”. CHARLES SPURGEON.

Verse 13-14 – Samson is just a hair away from his ultimate downfall. This is because he is getting dangerously close to the source of his strength. This is how this plays out in our Christian lives practically. Whenever you ask “can I do this or that” as a Christian, the question that really should be asked is “why is it that you want to get that close to the edge”? Then it is incumbent on you to figure out a way to do something as a Christian instead of not doing something. You just simply do not play with sin that way. We are to mortify the deeds of the flesh.

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

“This time Samson came dangerously near to his secret. The whirlpool in which he was surging was sucking him down. Poor Samson – who could save thou when thou was determined to destroy thyself”? CHARLES SPURGEON.

Samson is doing this to himself.

Verses 15-17 – This is so sad. Samson has finally revealed his strength. Delilah as his wife before her has hounded him, pestered him, cried for him, sulked at him, nagged him, berated him – she has thrown absolutely everything at him and the kitchen sink.

Don’t forget – there is a reward at stake here – 1100 pieces of silver going back to verse 5, we read “and WE will give thee EVERYONE of US eleven hundred pieces of silver”. These were the leaders of the Philistines – the chiefs – they had a lot of money at their disposal. We read here that “EVERY ONE” of the leaders had agreed to give her 1100 pieces of silver EACH!!! She is set up for life. She would never have to work as a prostitute for the rest of her life. Her lottery ticket just came in – all the numbers!!! She has got to get him to tell her – no matter what. She doesn’t know when the leaders will run out of patience. They have already visited their matrimonial home twice and all to no avail – it is a question of three strikes and you are out. She needs that money. She desperately wants that money. She doesn’t love Samson – she loves money. She is doing it for the love of money. She will be rewarded handsomely.

Oh how ironic is this – she actually has the gall to accuse Samson of not loving her – yet she is the one who is scheming. She can’t possibly love him – it would appear that she loves money more, which further reinforces the notion that she seduced him from the onset – that was her plan. That was her mission. This wasn’t love that she had for him, after all, we do not read from the Scriptures that Delilah loved Samson – she loved the money which is why she is doing it.

1 Timothy 6:10 For THE LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Money is neutral. You can use money to do evil, or you can use money to do good. It is the LOVE OF MONEY that is the problem – that is the ROOT.

The hair was not the source of Samson’s strength – rather it was an outward sign of that inner strength. The strength comes from the Holy Spirit. In a way Samson had grieved the Spirit of God so much so, that the Holy Spirit ceased in His striving with Samson –  for this third time – it would be the last time.

Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said my spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

There comes a point when God just says “I am not going to strive by My Spirit with this man anymore”. We can so grieve – even quench the Holy Spirit by our disobedience and stubbornness.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:30 and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Verses 18-20 – There was something in the way that Samson gave in in telling her the source of his strength that she knew and was able to identify that he was telling her the whole truth this time. There are three things that I would like to point out here. (1) Sin personified in the person of Delilah will lead us to sleep. It will lullaby us into a spiritual slumber – that is what sin did to Samson. (2) After sin lulls us to sleep, sin has permission to torment us to the degree in which the strength of the Holy Spirit will leave us weak. (3) Sin can deceive us into thinking that our wilful disobedience must not be a big deal to God, because God continues to bless us. He continues to strengthen us.

Samson actually thought that he could do what he did before when he broke free – but this time, he didn’t realise that that the LORD had departed from him. Would to God that it would never be said of us that LORD – the strength of the LORD has departed from us – thinking that God winks at our sins. Perhaps it is not really a big deal – after all, He continues to deliver me, and forgive me and restore me and strengthen me – so I guess I can just keep on doing what I am doing!

There comes a time when God will not be mocked. One WILL reap what one sows.

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

 

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Once Bitten – Twice Shy? Maybe Not!!!

 

WEEK 50:       

 

 

Judges 16:1-10 1 Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there a harlot, and went in unto her. 2 And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, in the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him. 3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron. 4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. 6 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. 7 And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried and she bound him with them. 9 Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known. 10 And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.

Verse 1 – Samson is just so stubborn. Talk about not learning from your previous mistakes huh? I should point out at this juncture, that I don’t think we should be too hard on Samson – after all, it is in our innate nature as fallen humans that we are prone to repeating the same or similar mistakes over and over and over again – when will we ever learn? Or perhaps it is just me? As we begin chapter 16, we are yet again off to a horrible start. Samson has found himself in a place that he ought not to be – he has gone into the land of the Philistines – into Gaza. Samson has no business venturing into enemy territory. When he goes to a place like this, it represents for him an environment that is conducive to temptation and sin. He is providing an opportunity for the flesh. (1) He is going into Gaza where the Philistines are. (2) He is going to a place that he knows though his spirit may be willing – his flesh is weak. He is so strong supernaturally – after all he killed a lion with his bare hands. But when it comes to women – he is as weak and wobbly as jelly!

Romans 13:13-14 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

 Do not provide for the flesh. Do not put yourself in a situation that makes the flesh easy to cooperate with your sin nature.

Verses 2-3 – Whenever we go into places we have no business being as believers, we are a sitting duck for the enemy who is stalking us, waiting for us – so as to destroy us. That is what is happening here. Apparently Samson knew that the Philistines knew he was there, so he is trying to stay under their radar. Again, this tells me that he knows he has done wrong. There is that still small voice of the Holy Spirit convicting us – not condemning us, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus who walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh (Romans 8:1). The Holy Spirit is convicts us that we are in the wrong place, we are doing the wrong thing, and everything about where we are is wrong.

There are some that believe that Samson carried these gate posts which were no doubt unspeakably heavy – some 37 miles!!! This begs the question of why it is that God would still deem it fit to grant him this supernatural strength, subsequent to his horrendous sin? He goes to Gaza – no business there. Then he goes into a prostitute – surely an unspeakable sin, and yet God still continues to override Samson’s sin so as to accomplish His purpose and plan to deliver the Israelites – in spite of Samson? It seems as though God is silent when we sin and we misinterpret God’s silence as if He is tolerating it, and turning a blind eye to it.

Verse 4 – Enter Delilah. Samson loved her. With his first wife, Samson lusted after her. Not so with Delilah. Samson loved Delilah. This would indicate that there was a process of time – a period of time they spent together – enough time for Samson to fall in love with her. This is evidenced by the word afterward. After a period of time he fell for her. Why is that significant? I would suggest that Delilah seduced him and got him to fall in love with her. The enemy the devil himself even inspired her to pursue him, knowing that it would be to his own peril, and the devil would do that by having her get him to fall in love with her.

Proverbs 6:26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.

The adulteresses – the Delilah’s of this world will pursue the precious life – that of whom God has a call on their life – a plan for their life. Satan knows the Scriptures. Satan knows the Scriptures more so than we Christians. Satan knows all too well what it is going to take to bring about the downfall of that precious life – that one who God is going to use to further His kingdom for His glory.

Verse 5 – 1100 pieces of silver – now that is a lot of money – an awful amount. If Samson was a tough looking guy with bulging muscles that was evident, the Philistines would not have to pay her to entice Samson to find out where his strength lie. This is even more evidence to proof that Samson was supernaturally gifted strength wise. He did not go to the gym – he wasn’t muscular in terms of his physique outwardly – his was something inwardly.

I find it interesting that they threatened Samson’s first wife concerning the riddle, but they bribed his second wife concerning the source of his strength.

Verse 6 – This is fascinating to me – Delilah is bold enough to actually tell Samson the reason WHY she wanted to know the source of his strength. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. But before you can resist – one must first submit to God.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Jesus fasting for 40 days and 40 nights resisted the devil as he came after Him. Jesus quoted Scriptures from the Book of Deuteronomy. There is one thing that the devil cannot stand and that is the Word of God. That is why Jesus was able to stand and resist him, and why the devil fled. That is how Jesus was able to succeed and overcome being tempted by the devil – by the Word of God.

Verses 7-10 – One would think that after Samson realised why it is that she wanted to know the source of his strength that he would have fled from her right? Any reasonable man would probably get the hint and run a mile! However, Samson sticks around. He is playing games. He is intentionally deceiving her. Why didn’t he just pack his load and run? The reason is that an ungodly and unhealthy relationship can have such a devastating effect on our lives spiritually, that it drives us to foolishness and even stupidity. Samson is being silly. God tells us not to be unequally yoked because the effects on our lives can be devastating.

“After the deliverance, Samson had no excuse for further remaining in traitorous company. Surely in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird – but this man loves so infatuated that he plunged in the snare after he had once narrowly escaped from it. Sin is madness”

CHARLES SPURGEON

 

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God Will Use What is in Your Hands

 

 

WEEK 49:

 

 

 

Judges 15:15-20 15 And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. 16 And Samson said, with the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. 17 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi. 18 And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? 19 But God clave a hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water there out; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

Verses 15-17 – The Philistines shouting in jubilation would be short lived as the Spirit of the LORD came quickly and “mightily” upon Samson. Their silence – their silence of death would come by the power and might of the Holy Spirit that would come upon Samson. It wasn’t the jawbone of the donkey that inflicted the slaughter – it was the Holy Spirit in his hand. This miraculous victory by one man over the one thousand men was wrought by the jawbone – but not by the jawbone that was in his hand – but by the Holy Spirit in his heart. It is in the power and the might of the Holy Spirit that any victory in our Christian life is ever wrought. Whatever we have in our hands – God can use. Whatever our hands find to do – do with all you might, for His glory. God does this so that only He can receive all the glory. What is in your hand reader? What has God given to you?

There was a tremendous superiority of the Philistine weaponry over the Israelite ability militarily. The Philistines were one of the first to fashion weapons. What did the Israelites have? They have a jawbone of a donkey up against the state of the art military of the day, with the most destructive weapons of mass destruction of the day. That again is how God does what God does – so only God gets the glory. The reason is –

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

1 Corinthians 1:27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

God will use the foolish things in man’s eyes to confound those who think they are mighty, for greater is He that is in us, than he who is in the world. For we are not unaware of the forces that come up against as Children of the Most High God – for though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. No flesh will glory in His presence.

Verses 18-20 – Subsequent to those victories that God gives us in our lives, there oftentimes seems to follow a trial. Not only is this a trial – it is a little trial after a great victory. I think that God allows us for a number of reasons – not the least of which is that it teaches us to be humble and dependent upon him. God knows that we are all prone to get a little heady and haughty after a great victory – which is why He is always so faithful to bring a trial to remind us that we are to be dependent upon Him for the victory – that we ourselves in and out of ourselves were not the ones who wrought the victory. God is faithful to protect us from us!

I believe we have all heard that saying you are your worst enemy? God grants this great victory but at the same time allows him to become a little thirsty. Now one would think that something as small as water would be given on the heels of something as great as defeating the enemy – such as this. Why would God allow a seemingly smaller trial close in proximity to a much greater victory? To grow our faith and to humble us and to keep us dependent upon Him.

Philippians 4:6-7 6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Worry about nothing. Thank Him for everything. How not to worry about nothing – comes by praying about everything and thanking Him for anything. And when you will pray about everything – then you will find yourself by default worrying about nothing.

Our problem is we have got it backwards. We worry about everything. We thank Him for nothing, and we don’t pray about anything. No wonder we are worried sick about everything! That is the cure – when you do that – thank God for anything, then your mind just changes – it is the whole mind-set that changes. Thank God for the big things – maybe healing of yourself or a loved one. Thank God for the little things – getting a parking spot in a shopping centre that is notorious for having to drive around forever before you get a parking space.

God is concerned about the little and the big things going on in our lives – all He wants us to do is to talk to Him!

 

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Revenge – Tooth for a Tooth? Or Teeth for a Tooth?

 

WEEK 48:

 

 

 

Judges Chapter 15: 8-14 8 And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam. 9 Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, why are ye come up against us? And they answered, to bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us. 11 Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? What is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, as they did unto me, so have I done unto them. 12 And they said unto him, we are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves. 13 And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock. 14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.

Verse 8 – What is meant by “hip and thigh”? I think it means from the top to the bottom – Samson went hell to leather – he went all out to beat them brutally and then he slaughtered them to avenge the death of his wife – this he did with his bare hands – remember he has supernatural strength. Samson has only just begun to carry out that which God had called him to do in his overthrowing of the Philistines oppression. He didn’t complete the job because he fell – he abused the ordinance of being a Nazarite from the womb to the tomb – it would be a King David that the LORD would raise up to totally annihilate and eliminate the oppression of the Philistines against the chosen people of God – the Israelites.

Are we to feel sorry for the Philistines because of Samson did to them? Well – check this out. For them to take his wife and her parents and burn them alive was just pure evil in every sense of the word, and this is what the Philistines were like back in the day. They were pure evil. There is this disproportionate irony in the sense that Samson burned their crops, but they burned his wife. This retaliation – this revenge goes contrary to the teachings of Scripture both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Samson’s hands are not clean in this. He has lowered himself to the level of the Philistines by virtue of how he is going to mete out his own revenge – he is going to take matters into his own hands and mete out his own justice. The problem with revenge is that it becomes a bottomless pit – there is no end to it because one always has to one-up the enemy every time you seek to take revenge. When you retaliate you are going to do more than what they did – you are not just going to get even – revenge doesn’t just get even, or attempt to even the score. NO! Revenge wants to inflict more injury than that which the one taking the revenge was the recipient of.

Exodus 21:23-25 23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

The above Scripture says that the vengeance that one seeks should be like for like – i.e. someone knocks out your tooth – knock out their tooth. What happened in Samson’s case is that they knocked out his tooth” (singular) but he took out “teeth” (plural).  Don’t take “teeth” (plural) for a “tooth” (singular).  Had Samson not taken matters into his own hands in the first place, by taking teeth – wiping out and slaughtering the Philistines – for a tooth – because they burnt his wife and her parents – this whole sorry incident and the carnage that followed would never have happened – it could have been avoided. There is never a time when anger resolves a problem. Anger can only identify a problem.

Verses 9-11 – The men of Judah take three thousand men to get Samson who was only one man. That speaks to Samson’s supernatural strength. He could possibly take all three thousands of them no problem. It also tells us that they were afraid of Samson and they feared him in much the same way that they were in fear of the Philistines. This is nothing but fear – the fear of man. Samson by contrast has no fear whatsoever.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

If one is in fear of man, it is a good indication that one doesn’t fear God. And if one truly fears God – this is a good indication that one would not fear man.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Fear is the antithesis of faith. Fear and faith cannot coexist with one another.

Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Verses 12-14 – Woven into the fabric of theses verses we have a beautiful portrait of the Saviour on the canvas of typology. Notice here that it is the men of Judah from the tribe of Judah who would ultimately be the ones in the end to betray Samson who would be their deliverer. It would be Judah who would betray Joseph – who was also a picture of Jesus Christ. Just as Judas would betray Jesus – Judah the tribe of Judah – but God would still have the Saviour come from the Lion of the tribe of Judah – that is called God’s grace and God’s mercy.  

The Philistines are overjoyed. They have finally got their man – bound and all, so they had nothing to fear. But was their sheer joy and elation premature? After all – it is Samson that we are talking about. Underestimate his strength at your peril!  The Philistines were shouting, because they thought they would surely be able to kill Samson. They were many, and he was just one man. They had overlooked the power of God within Samson. Look at “the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him”. God and Samson are a majority, regardless of how many they are. The ropes were nothing to him with the power of God within him. They broke easily and fell from his hands.

 

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Tail to Tail – It’s All Gone in a Flash

 

 

WEEK 47:

Judges Chapter 15:1-7 1 But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in. 2 And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her. 3 And Samson said concerning them, Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines, though I do them a displeasure. 4 And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. 5 And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives. 6 Then the Philistines said, who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire. 7 And Samson said unto them, though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.

Verses 1-3 – After a while, Samson returns to the land of the Philistines. We do not know how much time has elapsed before Samson decides to return to visit his wife. He was so angered at being outsmarted; he left in annoyance on the night of his wedding. He finally returns to consummate his marriage. OUCH!!! Samson is too late – she has been given to another – none other than his best man at his wedding. He begins to manifest immediately – he had no idea that his father-in-law had given his wife to his best man, and now his father-in-law is trying his hardest to appease Samson. His father-in-law is fully aware of the strength Samson possesses. He is well aware also that Samson has a short fuse – it doesn’t take much to stir up his anger. His father-in-law pleads with him not to be annoyed – he thought that because his daughter deceived him he “hated her” – so he gave her to his best man – but “hey Samson – you can take her sister – my younger daughter as a wife – is she not fairer than her older sister”? That sounds to me like he wants Samson to go from the frying pan into the fire. His first daughter who was given to wife has deceived Samson by scheming – what is the younger sister likely to do?

Samson is infuriated with him. Would you say that Samson has an anger problem? I would. His anger is what God will by His grace and in His sovereignty overrules in order to work it for His glory in the end. By the way, this is not the last time that we are going to see Samson lose his rag and get angry.

Verses 4-5 – Oh dear! This was a time of the harvest. Another OUCH!!! That is a lot of foxes – 300 of them. The fact that Samson was able to catch and hold/assemble 300 foxes at one time and figure out what he is going to do is yet another indication of his wittiness – his is a scheming – I wonder if his middle name was Jacob? He catches the 300 foxes, knots them tail to tail – sets light to their tails in the vicinity of the crops that are about to be harvested – sends them into the fields. It wouldn’t take much to set the fields alight – 300 foxes with their bushes burning! Samson has just completely destroyed the entire year’s crops, and that was their livelihood. This was an act of war against the Philistines, as this would have been both devastating and decimating financially.

No corn. No grapes. No alcohol. No olives. All gone – all after a moment of madness. Samson saw red – his anger was stirred up in him – “I am going to make sure that all those delicacies that you like to feast on for the year – I am going to burn it all up” thought Samson. And as he thought – so he did!

Verses 6 -7 – In chapter 14, the Philistine leaders had actually threatened his wife that they would burn her and her parents alive if she didn’t get Samson to divulge to her the riddle that he had posed to them. Well it seems that to the best of her efforts to save her family and herself from the evil threats of her own people – it turned out to be of no avail. 

 

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Pride and Anger Are Room Mates

 

WEEK 46:

 

Judges Chapter 14: 15-20 15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson’s wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father’s house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so? 16 And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? 17 And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people. 18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not ploughed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle. 19 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.

Verses 15- 16 – The flood gates open – but when you think about it – can you really blame Samson’s wife? It is the seventh day – time is almost up. She is probably bawling uncontrollably now – her life is at stake. The life of her parents is at stake here too. If he does not tell her, she and her family are literally toast – they will die a horrific death – they will be set on fire and burnt alive. It would appear that what the Philistines lacked in intellect they certainly over compensated for in brutality – they would show no mercy – it was a threat that they intended to carry out. It was either he tells her the answer to the riddle, or she and her family die. This was a classic case of if you play with fire – you will get burnt!

This would explain her crying and bawling and pestering him, but it does not excuse it. She uses all of her charm and woman prowess to guilt trip him and to manipulate him. She may have succeeded in winning the battle; however, ultimately she will lose the war.

Verses 17-18 – Seven continuous days of nagging and complaining and crying – just incessant – I bet Samson almost lost the will. There she was – immediately after their wedding – in his ears – nagging him nonstop – so much for a honeymoon period huh?

Proverbs 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Samson is facing a nightmare scenario. There is nowhere for him to run and hide to escape her constant nagging – after all, he has already burnt that bridge with his parents – they were against this unequally yoked marriage in the first place. There is nowhere recorded in the Scriptures that he had siblings – Samson was an only child, so he has no siblings to pour out his heart to – he is just stuck – and he is in a foreign land – the land of the Philistines with this nagging wife. Samson lusting after this woman has lead him to this situation. A Nazarite from the womb to the tomb had  (1) Gone into a vineyard where he had no business going – here a lion attempts to kill him, but he kills the lion. (2) Touched the carcass of a dead animal – again a no no for a Nazarite. (3) Becomes unequally yoked by marrying a foreign woman – a Philistine. All three Nazarite vows broken – and he wonders why he is in this predicament. Poor Samson. We are no different. We think we can handle things – that we have it all under control – “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Samson can’t take it no more. He gives in – he tells her. I do not think that Samson is abusing his wife by calling her a Heifer. What he is doing is using a metaphor that they got the right answer the wrong way – in other words – you are ploughing a field with a heifer – you don’t use a heifer to plough a field – you use an Ox. You are doing the right thing – it is the right answer – but the wrong way. This is the kind of metaphor that they would use in those days – in that agricultural day.

Verses 19-20 – At least Samson to his credit made good on his bet – but the way that he does it is to kill 30 innocent men – then he gives his groomsmen their garments “hey – here are your 30 garments – blood stained and all – hope they fit”. Everyone lost in here – nobody won. What is so sad about this is that none of this had to happen had Samson not sought her for a wife in the first place – we would never be reading about all this carnage, Samson even loses his wife. Samson is so angry, he leaves the land of the Philistines in a rage and returns back home to his parents – without his wife! All that fuss and turmoil and tension that he stirred up between himself and his parents and after all that, he returns home wife-less.

This was a lose-lose for everyone. By the way – that is how it ends when we disobey God’s Word – don’t be unequally yoked. What fellowship has light with darkness? And – it is not just in the marriage relationship either – this also applies to a business relationship – one partner is a Christian, the other partner is not a Christian – eventually there will be conflict. You will have to compromise – again, it is a lose-lose.

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

It is not that God does not want to, He wants to bless us, but He just can’t – we haven’t given Him permission to bless us in our relationship. Why? Because we have gone against His Word – against His command. How can He? His hands are tied with the ropes of our disobedience, and such is the case with Samson.

Why did Samson get angry and leave and return to his father’s house? Samson wasn’t angry that he disobeyed the LORD and dishonoured his mother and father. He is angry because the Philistines outsmarted him – that is why he is angry – this is not righteous anger. He should be angry at himself that he disobeyed God and that he broke the vow that he dishonoured his parents – that is what he should be angry about – not because he got outsmarted.

Why would he be so angry that they outsmarted him? Simply put – it was because of his pride. This was a slap in the face of his pride – his ego couldn’t take it. He lost face. He lost the bet and his pride was so insulted that they outsmarted him. That is what pride reacts like. Pride and anger are roommates. It is hard to be angry when you are humble!!!

 

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A Riddle is Put Forth

WEEK 45:

Judges Chapter 14:8-14 8 And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. 9 And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion. 10 So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do. 11 And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12 And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: 13 But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him; Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. 14 And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.

Verses 8-9 – As we continue our progression through this chapter, here we read in verse 9 that Samson touched the carcass of the lion. We need to keep in mind a Nazarite vow means that you do not under any circumstances touch anything that is dead – human or animal – nothing. Not only did he touch the dead carcass, he also eats the honey that was produced. This is so a no NO!!! He even goes one step further and gives some of the honey to his father and his mother – but he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of a lion.

This is now the second time that he did not tell his mother or father what he has done – he is hiding it from them. Samson knew he has done wrong. It wasn’t an innocent mistake. Whenever we do something that is wrong – we have a tendency to hide it. If we do something that is right, not only do we not hide it, we boast about it. That is what Adam and Eve did – they did wrong and that hid and tried to cover their sin. We are all prone to hide that which we know is wrong.

The second thing we should take note of, is that Samson knows that he has done wrong, and he hides this wrong on the heels of just being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, but that doesn’t automatically make him righteous or holy and pure – it doesn’t make him spiritually mature. Yet again – there is a lesson that we can glean from this account – one can be filled with the Holy Spirit, one can be on fire for the LORD, but that does not make one spiritually mature or righteous – that is not the gauge with which one measures spiritual maturity.

Verses 10-11 – The 30 companions that we read about here are 30 groomsmen. This was the custom of the day. It would appear that Samson does not have any friends, so the Philistines have to provide him with the 30 groomsmen. This was a drink fest – a drunkard party. Again, as a Nazarite Samson had no business being involved in or even closely associated with this party. This takes place not back in Samson’s home town, but in the Philistines home. Could it be because Samson’s parents forbade him, because they would not bring this kind of party – this kind of drink feast with these people to their backyard? They haven’t given him their blessing to marry her. They are against this marriage, but because he is demanding it and because the LORD is overriding it – they agree at least to attend the marriage – but as long as it is not in their own home town.

Verses 12-13 – The seven day feast was the custom in that day with Jewish weddings – they would feast for seven days. This is our celebration and consummation of our marriage to the Lamb as the Bride of Christ – the Bridegroom for a period of seven years. So while we are in heaven celebrating, the world on earth is in tribulation. That means that the rapture of the church of Jesus Christ has to happen before the seven year tribulation. It cannot be in the middle because you destroy the typology, and it cannot happen at the end because the wedding supper of the Lamb is after the seven days/years – then the bride and the groom would come out of the bridal chamber having consummated their marriage and there would be a huge wedding feast. 

It was customary for the groom to give gifts to the groomsmen. Samson is devising a scheme by way of a bet – he is posing his riddle, trying to figure out a way to wager what will eventually be 30 fine linen garments for his 30 groomsmen, so that he does not have to pay for it. A lesson that we can learn from Samson is that it is possible to be physically strong and he was, and mentally smart – apparently he was, yet he was spiritually weak and foolish.

Verse 14 – It has been three days, and they are still wracking their brain – they haven’t got a clue. They just cannot figure out the answer to the riddle which is why Samson posed it in the first place. Oh dear! Are they going to lose the wager and pay Samson for the privilege of them attending his wedding when he had no friends to accompany him? What an insult? What humiliation? How is this going to pan out? No – it cannot be said that the roles would be reversed whereby they end up paying him for coming to his wedding. Time is running out – something must be done – and done quickly.

 

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Don’t Park in Satan’s Backyard!

 

 

WEEK 44:

Judges 14:1-7 1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. 3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father; Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. 4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. 5 Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. 7 And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.

Verses 1-2 – We are introduced a woman at the beginning of this chapter – this woman is not Delilah – here is another Philistine woman. We are off to a horrible start in this chapter – Samson is experiencing lust – lust is not love. For Samson it is lust at first sight. He saw a woman and he lusted after the woman. Not only were Jews never to marry Philistines or foreign women, they also had to have their parents blessings first. For Samson’s parents this was a huge matter that he would take this posture with his parents and demand that they get him and bless him in taking a Philistine wife. He did not ask them – he demanded that they do it. It was all about I saw her – I want her, go get her for me.

While Samson may have been supernaturally strong physically, he was the antithesis of that strength both spiritually and morally, and it is for this reason that by the Holy Spirit we can learn numerous life lessons from Samson’s life, such that we can learn from his mistakes and his downfall.

First mistake: Samson’s first mistake is that he lusted after this woman. The litmus test to gauge whether it is lust or love is simply that lust takes – he wants to take this woman for himself, but love gives. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave…….

Second mistake: He has no regard for being unequally yoked with a non-believer. He is a Jew. She is a Philistine. What fellowship has light with darkness?

2 Corinthian 6:14-15 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

Third mistake: He has no regard as it relates to honouring his mother and his father – he does not seek their blessings…

Fourth mistake: He was the one who found the woman – it wasn’t the LORD who found her for him instead of him.

Fifth mistake: Not only does he not respect his parents God given authority, but he doesn’t respect God either.

Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

There is a difference between respect and honour.

Ephesians 6:1-3 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Why is it that of all the Ten Commandments, this is the only one that gives a blessing and a fulfilled life? There is no other commandment that has a promise attached with it. The first four commandments all start with thou shalt not. Then from commandment six to ten – “thou shalt not”.

Exodus 20:8-17 8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 13 Thou shalt not kill. 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15 Thou shalt not steal. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

What is the difference between honour and respect? Honour is given. Respect is earned. We give honour of our own volition, but respect has to be earned. Respect – like trust is sacred in the sense that it is ever so difficult to earn back that respect or trust – it is marred because it is so sacred. One can give honour, esteem to authority – in this case ones parents, but that is not the same as respecting them as the authority in his life.

Verses 4-7 – At first glance, it seems as though God is  compliant in Samson taking a Philistine wife – that is not the case. What is happening here – what God is doing here is in effect overriding or even overruling this act of disobedience and working it out for good.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Samson has been called – God has a purpose in Samson’s life – He is going to use Samson to deliver the Israelites out of the oppression from the Philistines. God is always in control.

Sixth mistake: Notice that Samson is in a vineyard – but he is a Nazarite – from the womb to the tomb! Nazarites just didn’t go anywhere near grapes or wine, or any such delicacies, because that is the Nazarite vow – to be set apart and sanctify them. What is Samson doing there in the first place? A lesson for us – DON’T park in Satan’s backyard – that is what Samson is doing here.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Satan will hunt and prowl that life that God deems precious – that God has a call on, a purpose for, and so there is a target on your back. Satan doesn’t mess around with someone who is not perceived to be a threat to his kingdom of darkness. He targets the ones he knows can do damage to the power of darkness.

He wants to thwart Samson, he wants to take Samson out – hence this satanic lion that comes to him in the vineyard which he shouldn’t have been in the first place.

1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Pride always precedes a fall. We are more like the devil when we are full of pride, and conversely, we are more like Christ when we are humble! Humility is attractive. Pride is repulsive.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

 

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