Title: Judges 16. Samson part 10 - The decline and fall of Samson.
Samson's fall and death
Samson will deliver Israel no longer. It will take Samuel to finally remove the yoke of the Philistines, thus completing their 40 years of oppression.
The closing verse of Jdg 15 is the close of any hope for Samson's life or his future. From now on is the record of the terrible consequences of using God's gift for self-indulgence, and then of betraying and losing it.
Betrayal and loss are ever the consequence of taking for self what is meant for God.
This is one of those very important points that gets deep into the way of Christ. If we ask ourselves about what in God's plan is meant for us and what is meant for God, we have to think deeply about that plan.
The plan of God for my life is meant for me. The fruit of that plan was meant for God.
The results of Samson's strength was meant for God's glory. The Spirit was given to me. I am to use His power and wisdom from the word. The fruit of the Spirit is meant for Him.
JOH 15:1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
JOH 15:2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.
JOH 15:3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
JOH 15:4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
JOH 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.
The believer benefits greatly from the fruit of the Spirit but how that fruit is used or manifested is completely up to God.
My relationships have been given to me: the good ones and the bad. They are meant for me, but the fruit of them are meant for God.
We have been made branches that have been given the vine. Christ was given "for you." So we can confidently and happily say that Christ was meant for me. The promise is that if we abide in the vine then we will bear much fruit. However, we are not to take the fruit for ourselves. The fruit is for the Father, the vinedresser, and He will use it as He sees.
When we try to take the fruit for ourselves, we lose it.
Let's say a great relationship develops in your life, either romantic and headed towards marriage or friendship. God gave it to you and it was meant for you. It developed into something special because you were following God and had capacity for it since a great relationship demands virtue. The fruit of the relationship, which is always prosperity of soul and often material prosperity, developed. But then you wanted the fruit for yourself. The fruit of happiness, which is for God, started to become something you saw as for yourself. Rather than simply enjoying being happy and happily occupied with Christ, you started to focus on how much happiness was coming your way, how much more of it you would like, the things your partner does that potentially diminishes that happiness, etc. Your focus changed from the vine to personally possessing the fruit of the vine. The relationship was certainly for you, but you started to see the fruit of the relationship as for you and soon the relationship became all about you. Quickly the dynamics of the relationship were only thought of in light of how they effected you. Although you might not lose such a relationship, you will definitely lose the good fruit of that relationship.
Happiness can be a tricky thing. It is for you, but the fruit of it is not for you.
Think of the fruit of a happy person. He is a blessing to those around him. He is free to think creatively and clearly, he is not hindered by pessimism and so sees the potential in everything. He trusts in God's future. He doesn't despair when things seem to go wrong.
There is much more. What does he do with all this fruit? He reinvests it as one continually filled with God's joy. When other people are blessed by his service, he allows God to use the fruit of that service in whatever way God chooses. He reinvests it in the kingdom of God by not trying to take it for himself.
If he did attempt to take the fruit for himself he would become prideful when any accolades came his way, He would have sought for approbation, and if he received it, he would have sought for more of it.
With the clear and creative thinking that comes from happiness, we are to pursue more of God's will and knowledge and we are to consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. But when we attempt to take the fruit of a sound mind for ourselves we seek to use it for personal purposes and the thought of Christ and others goes away. That clarity and creativity belongs to God and so we reinvest it in the kingdom of God for God to use it as God sees fit.
In every case where I try and take the fruit of God for ourselves, the fruit becomes about us and it is lost.
The fruit of happiness, as any divine virtue, must be continually reinvested in the kingdom of God. It must never be cashed in and taken for self.
Another fruit that grows from the plan of God is gratitude. That is given to God. We are the tax-gather who says "God, be merciful to me, the sinner," in the temple and not the Pharisee, who said, "God, I thank You that You have not made me like other people."
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship
you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ
I am to never take the fruit of the Spirit and go celebrate it outside of the plan of God. In the plan of God there are no such thing as cosmic vacations. When we have accomplished something in the will of God and then, once the service of God and others is complete, we are not to go outside of the will of God and celebrate our accomplishment. Our calling is not part time.
We are to allow God to use the fruit of our accomplishments as He sees fit, as we continue to reach ahead to our upward call and continue to remain in His will. In this way, we reinvest the fruit.
After the island of Cyprus was fully evangelized by Paul, Barnabas, and John-Mark, Paul was headed to Anatolia and John-Mark was ready for home. Who would blame Mark, he helped evangelize a very large island and it was time to go home and rest and celebrate. Paul saw the plan of God clearly. There would be no rest for him and no time for celebration. The Gentile churches needed to strike their foundation in the Roman Empire as soon as possible.
See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men.
This coming stage of Samson's life closely follows that of Israel. Israel claimed their prosperity and their land for themselves. They used the gifts of God for self and not for glorifying Him. They rejected the law of God and chose rather the laws of the pagan idol worshippers while they demanded the same blessings from God. Worship is due to God and not self. When worship turns to self without correction there will always be betrayal and loss.
God made Samson a Nazirite just as God made Israel a nation. Yet both will take the gift, forget God, and use it for themselves.
JDG 16:1 Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.
JDG 16:2 When it was told to the Gazites, saying, "Samson has come here," they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. And they kept silent all night, saying, "Let us wait until the morning light, then we will kill him."
JDG 16:3 Now Samson lay until midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts and pulled them up along with the bars; then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain which is opposite Hebron.
Samson could have found a wife among his own people. This is permitted under the law since he is a widow. However, giving into lust over and above God's law, he chooses a harlot. As one commentator roughly puts it, "Samson could break the rope around his wrists but he could not break his own lust."
Gaza is deep within Philistine territory, being right on the Mediterranean coast, it was as far and as south as you could go.
Lying with a harlot is another violation of his Nazirite vow.