For the month of February, during children’s church, we have been covering people who were used by God in amazing ways, even though they were unworthy of God’s favor. None of us are worthy of God’s favor but praise Him that He does not look upon us because of our merits. He does it because of His grace and mercy. Here is a list of the previous people/lessons:
In all of these stories, we see God connecting with people, teaching them how to have a relationship with Him, and then challenging them to connect with others so that they can teach others how to connect with God.
This week, we are going to take a look at a man who was trained to be a great leader for the Lord. He is different from Gideon and Ruth. God set him apart even while he was in his mother’s womb. God had connected with his parents and taught them how to walk with Him. God then instructed them how they were to teach their son to connect with Him. They trained their boy to know God and follow God. They shared the great calling that the Lord had for him and taught him how to accomplish it. Have you guessed who our next person is?
In the book of Judges, specifically in chapter 13, we are introduced to Samson. He starts out to be a hero but never really lives up to his full potential.
The children of Israel are being rebellious to the Lord, yet again. God raised up the Philistines to conquer and subdue Israel. They are now under pagan domination. They were under pagan rule for 40 years. Two entire generations grew up under pagan rule. Chaos abounded. God has been all but forgotten. This where the story picks up. God finds a family that hears His voice and is ready to obey Him. He teaches them how to live, specifically, how they are to raise their son in such a way that the pagan society will not influence him to follow the crowd. God has to remind them of the laws of the Nazirite. The people were supposed to know this because Moses taught it to them in Numbers 6. The people are now so far away from God that they do not know or remember these teachings. As God teaches them, they are to teach their son to be God’s servant. In Amos 2, we are taught that God’s servants take God’s message to the people so that they will hear and obey the Lord. This is part of the mission that Samson is being trained to accomplish, to take God’s message to the people so that they can hear, understand, and obey leading them to change their wicked ways and change the future of their society. The second part of Samson’s mission is to deliver the children of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
Parents have a huge role in educating their children to know how to walk with God, to know God’s calling, and to train them to grow up and answer that calling. God could have done all of this by Himself yet He chose to involve the parents. Samson learned his calling from an early age. He was taught to obey God, to take the message of God to the people of his nation, and to free them from their oppression.
Our children today are growing up in a pagan like society. Our job as parents is to walk with the Lord and teach our children of the awesome calling that God has for them. We are not to let the world around us determine how our kids are going to live. We must educate them in the ways of God so that as they grow, the Lord’s calling for His servants will become their calling in life. We must walk with God and allow God to teach us through His Word so that we can teach them.
Samson received great training and he was well prepared to accomplish God’s great calling. He walked with God. He knew God’s will and he was ready to accomplish it. The most important aspect of being able to carry out God’s great calling was to have the Holy Spirit. Samson was filled with the Spirit of the Lord. Being filled with the Spirit does not always equal being led by the Spirit. Samson made some terrible mistakes in his service to the Lord. God has left them on the pages of Scripture so that we can learn from them. Here are some of the things that Samson chose to do that kept him from fully accomplishing God’s calling:
- Married a pagan woman. He was attracted to her beauty and overlooked her paganism. Marrying a pagan was against God’s law. Samson willfully chose to disobey God’s Word.
- He was controlled by his anger. Being angry in itself was not a sin but he acted out of that anger so much that it began to control him. He became a slave to his anger and did some very stupid things. This is why Jesus tells us that if we are controlled by anger we are no different than the man who physically murders someone.
- He touched a dead body.
- He was not honest with his parents.
- He is not totally obedient to God in the little things and this leads him to even bigger sins.
- He ends up sleeping with a prostitute.
- He trusts in his great strength instead of trusting in the One who honored him with that great strength.
- He cohabitates with a pagan.
All of these sins begin to add up. Samson had huge potential in the very beginning but he could not live up to that potential because of all of the sin in his life. He was filled with the Holy Spirit but he did not obey the Holy Spirit’s leading in his life. As a result, sin enslaved him and led him to become a literal slave to the Philistines. Once he is humbled by the enemies of God, he turns back to God in repentance. God hears his prayer and allows Samson to use his strength one last time to take revenge on the Philistines. Samson killed many Philistines yet he never really accomplished his calling. He was supposed to set the Israelites free from the Philistine rule. This he never did.
As you can see, being equipped is not enough. You still have to make daily choices, moment by moment to obey God instead of listening to your sin nature. Samson did not and his sin nature dominated him. Parents must do all that they can to train and equip their children but at the end of the day, the children decide for themselves if they will follow God fully or not.
III. Grave mistake and consequences
We have already seen the mistakes that Samson made. He was not honest with his parents. He was not faithful to the Lord in the little things and that led to faithlessness in the big things. He shamed himself by his actions. He also caused the name of the Lord to be blasphemed by the enemies of God. Is that something that you would like to be remembered for? Samson also sets a bad example for the people whom he is supposed to be leading. He does not give a proper estimation of who God is. He actually disqualifies himself from leadership by his actions. As a result, he ends up losing his God given position. This is the legacy that he leaves for the people. What kind of legacy are you leaving behind you? Temptation will always be there but the Lord has given us His Spirit and that Spirit prompts us to obey God and say no to temptation. If you are not faithful in the little things, then it will get worse in the big things. One of the biggest temptations for any leader is sexual temptation. That is something that will always be there and it will ruin you if you give in to it. Again, Samson is remembered for his great strength yet he never really accomplished his calling. He gave in to temptation and it cost him everything, even his life. I pray that we all learn from Samson’s example and not repeat his mistakes.
How are you doing in the little things? Are you quick to obey God in every situation or are there minor things that you are able to overlook? What are you allowing your eyes to see and your ears to hear? What is your mind dwelling on constantly? Are you teaching your children how to walk with God, leading by example? How are you doing with the battle against the world for your child’s heart and mind? Are you teaching your child the Word of God? Do you constantly tell your child of the awesome calling of the Lord that he or she will get to join when he is old enough? May the Lord help us learn a lot from Samson!