“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord.” – Romans 12:19 (reference Deuteronomy 32:35)
Text: Judges 13:1-16:31
Prop: a bottle of vitamins (or alternate, picture of former Twin Towers in New York City or poster of The Bondage Breaker)
Summary: Samson was a hero of faith. God gave Samson the strength to fight his enemies.
Today I brought some vitamins. (Show bottle of vitamins.) Vitamins are in the food you eat. Some people take these vitamins to help them stay healthy. It is said that a multi-vitamin with the mineral iron will make you strong. Have you ever seen a really strong person? When I think of someone strong, I think of a big man with lots of muscles. I think of body builders and wrestlers like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hulk Hogan, and The Rock. The Bible tells of a strong man that lived about 3,100 years ago (1100 B.C.). His name was Samson.
Samson was the last of the great judges (leaders) over the people of Israel. He judged them for 20 years. He is listed among the heroes of faith in the Bible (Hebrews 11:32). Samson was dedicated to the Lord before he was born. He was born during a time when God punished the Israelites for doing evil things “and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.” (Judges 13:1) Samson took an oath as a Nazarite to let his hair grow and not to drink wine or strong drink. This was a sign of devotion to God.
Some people thought Samson gained his strength from his long hair, but it was the Spirit of the Lord that came upon Samson that delivered him from danger. As a young man Samson tore a lion apart with his bare hands. In one battle he killed one thousand Philistines. He was a mighty man and a fierce warrior. One night he escaped an ambush at midnight and tore off the doors from the gate of the city, “and put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.” (Judges 16:3)
He displeased his parents by asking for a wife from among the Philistines, the enemies of Israel. Many of his personal problems were because he chose to trust Philistine women instead of God. His love for Delilah led him to trust her and she betrayed him. Samson was captured, bound, blinded, and put in prison. Strangely, the Lord turned this in favor of the Israelites. In the end “Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord” was worked out against the Philistines by the Lord.
Samson was taken in chains into the Philistine temple of Dagon, where they laughed at Samson and were glad he had been captured. In one final act of faith, Samson prayed to God to let him avenge himself against the Philistines because they had blinded him. “And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines.” He laid his hands on the pillars that held up the temple, and pushed against them with all his might. With God’s help the roof fell in and killed about 3000 men and women. “So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” (Judges 16:30)
What can we learn from this story? Always listen to and obey your parents. Trust the Lord Jesus, who gives you strength and will guide you. Acts of vengeance should be discouraged.
©2005 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.