Strengthened by Grace

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This is the archway going into the ancient Olympic Stadium in Greece  It was built around 776 BC and Samson lived hundreds of years before this during the time of the Judges from 1200-1000 BC.  

1Cor 1:8 He will keep you strong til the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Cor 1:4-9 I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus for in Him you have been enriched in every way.  In all your speaking and in all your knowledge because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.  Therefore, you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for your Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will keep you strong til the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God who has called you into fellowship with His son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Read 2Corinthians 12:9-10, Ephesians 3:7,Hebrews 4:16  This says that we are to glory in our weaknesses, because when we are weak, God’s able to use us to demonstrate his power and glory through grace, by strengthening us.  For example, if you are afraid of something, this is a weakness, and if everyone knows you are afraid, but then you face your weakness in spite of your fear, and overcome it, then everyone will know that God is with you and has strengthened you.  You are responsible to give God the  glory when this type of strengthening occurs in your life. 

Read Judges Chapter 16 The story of Samson and Delilah.  Samson is a very interesting person.  He is a bit tricky. (The full story of Samson actually starts in Chapter 13 and is certainly worth reading, as he is a very interesting person…reading the rest of the story will tell you why the Philistines hated Samson so much, but for the purpose of this lesson I focused on the part of his story about Samson and Delilah.)

Okay, so there are some things about the story of Samson and Delilah that really catch your attention.  They each treat the other as if they were a fool, and they both actually act toward the other in a foolish manner.  Delilah is relying on Samson’s infatuation with him to try and make some money on the side…that tells us that she really doesn’t love Samson at all…she is trying to make use of him.

The incredible thing about this is that Samson seems at first to realize it and plays with her by continually giving her misinformation about the source of his physical strength.  Each time she fails to guard the information he gives her and tries to use it against him in order to get the Philistine’s money….incredibly he keeps playing, then his pride makes him give in to the temptation at first to give her a little bit of the truth….he tells her that if she weaves his hair into the loom and puts a pin in it that he will lose his strength.  He is telling her that it is his hair, but not giving the whole story, and then even after she betrays him time after time he still ends up telling her the real truth  because of her nagging day after day.  The thing is that he really was very prideful, he was proud of his ability to trick her time after time, and so he gave him due to his pride, and he never actually gave God the credit for his strength.  His relationship with God was the true source of his strength, this caused God to give Samson over to his own foolish pride.

When we take a look at the Philistines after they have captured him, they also suffered from pride…and if they knew that the source of his strength was his hair they were foolish to let it grow back.  They thought that since his eyes were gouged out and he was tied up and had become their prisoner that they could just display him without a worry because he was weak. They were guilty of underestimating their enemy, Samson.

In the end, Samson is humbled after being the Philistine’s prisoner, and wants to get justice for the loss of his eyes.  Samson is a person who was vengeful and very definitely believed in meeting out his own version of justice on those who wronged him.  Looking at the other chapters about his actions we can see that.  However, in the end, when Samson is up there being displayed by the Philistines he prays to God that he can get justice on them for the injustice they perpetrated against him!  The Philistine’s pride in disregarding Samson because he was their prisoner became the source of their undoing.  When he asked to be lead to lean against the pillars that held the roof of the building someone led the poor blind man over there and then Samson said his prayer to God for strength “one last time” in humbleness, and requested to die with the Philistines.  God was gracious and granted Samson the strength to push those pillars apart and cause the roof to collapse and kill them all.

It wasn’t until Samson was too physically weak to take care of it all on his own that he became humble enough to rely on and acknowledge that his strength came from God.  At that point God was gracious to Samson and demonstrated his love for him by giving him enough physical strength to mete justice out on the Philistines.

God hates the prideful and will humble them, but loves the humble and will strengthen them.  There are over 100 verses in the Bible that mention the words Pride, Proud or Haughty and they are all mentioned in the context of it being a sin.  Pride is one of the easiest sins to fall into also because there is a fine line between being satisfied with a job well done, or a talent well used, and starting to think that you, yourself, are the author and maker of those talents.  So we have to be ever on our guard against it, because pride is a very sneaky sin…you can have it before you even realize it!  We need to always be careful to acknowledge as the song “Jesus Love Me” tells us, “We are weak, but he is strong, Yes, Jesus, Loves me!” We need to acknowledge our weakness and glory in it because God uses the weak to show his strength.

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