Judges 16:23-31 – Samson: Just Another Example of Screwed Up People Being Used by God

Posted: September 21, 2017 in Book of Judges
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Judges 16:23-31
Samson’s Final Victory

One of the ironies being a redeemed Christ follower is that often when you seek ministry jobs at established churches is that your past can sometimes be a factor. Isn’t that just the oddest thing? Certainly, I can understand that if you are currently not walking the walk and talking the talk, the church has every right to exclude you from leadership. However, I have heard of churches that will automatically exclude a person seeking to go into full-time ministry if they have been divorced? What if that divorce or divorces occurred before you accepted Christ as your Savior and Lord. What if you had indeed been living selfishly and seeking to please oneself before Christ but have been seeking to please Him since salvation. The Bible is full of people that have made major mistakes but have gone on to become great men and women of the Bible.

Let’s look at the examples. Adam through his wife under the bus when confronted about the fruit thing. Abraham was a liar to save his and Sarah’s lives. Jacob steals his brother’s birthright through grand deception. Joseph was proud and lorded it over his brothers. Moses’ mom sold him down the river. Moses was a murderer and he stuttered. Rahab was a prostitute. Tamar seduced her father-in-law to have sex with her so she could bear a son. Gideon doubted God’s sovereignty. Samson was addicted to sex and it literally cost him his eyesight. David was an adulterer and an accessory to murder. Solomon was addicted to the pleasures of women and married them all. Ruth was formerly a pagan idol worshiper. Jonah ran from his calling and almost caused the deaths of an entire boat of sailors. Jeremiah suffered from depression. Elijah got burned out and went and lived in a cave. Hosea’s wife was a prostitute. And the people of Israel themselves, man! They constantly screwed up even though they were God’s chosen people. John the Baptist was a loudmouth who didn’t know when to shut up and made really poor fashion choices. Mary was pregnant before she got married. Mary’s Joseph wanted to divorce Mary even before they got married. The disciples of Jesus were from professions that were typified by either gruff and rough attitudes and language or by cheating others by overcharging them on their taxes. The disciples were clueless and argued about who was going to be the greatest. They couldn’t stay awake when Jesus was having a moment. They scattered to the wind when Jesus was arrested. They didn’t go the the crucifixion and had to be represented by women. Thomas was a doubter even though he had witnessed everything. Peter flat out lied about Jesus to saved his own skin and had a hot-headed temper. Paul was a murderer. John Mark crapped out on a mission trip and couldn’t take it anymore and when home. Talked about your messed up people. The Bible is full of characters that had checkered pasts.

Each of these biblical men and women ended up being used by God in a mighty way even though they had questionable pasts. They had all failed God in some way or another. It is the character of God to redeem and restore. He will even redeem and restore nature to its original Edenic state when Jesus returns. It is all about that redemption (sorry, that song “Its all about that bass” jumped into the sound system in my head). Who better to be a minister that a person who has been redeemed from his own past. Who better to identify with those who walk through the doors of the church he serves. Who better to demonstrate redemption to those who need redemption that a person who has been redeemed from his own flaws and mistakes and decisions and put to the good work of the Lord.

It was that idea of redemption that came to mind as I read the conclusion of the Samson story. Samson did not deserve anything from God, but God still granted him his desire when he came to the Lord in humility. God redeemed Samson though he had so many, so many character flaws and had made so many mistakes caused by his lust for women. Let’s read the conclusion of Samson’s story here in Judges 16:23-31:

23 The Philistine rulers held a great festival, offering sacrifices and praising their god, Dagon. They said, “Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!”

24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us is now in our power!”

25 Half drunk by now, the people demanded, “Bring out Samson so he can amuse us!” So he was brought from the prison to amuse them, and they had him stand between the pillars supporting the roof.

26 Samson said to the young servant who was leading him by the hand, “Place my hands against the pillars that hold up the temple. I want to rest against them.” 27 Now the temple was completely filled with people. All the Philistine rulers were there, and there were about 3,000 men and women on the roof who were watching as Samson amused them.

28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, 30 he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.

31 Later his brothers and other relatives went down to get his body. They took him back home and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, where his father, Manoah, was buried. Samson had judged Israel for twenty years.

Here, in this passage, we see that, in spite of Samson’s past, God still answered his prayer and destroyed the pagan temple and worshipers. God still loved him. He was willing to hear Samson’s prayer of confession and repentance and use him this one final time. One of the effects of sin in our lives is not only the suffering of the consequences of our actions, as the blinded Samson here proves, but also that it often makes us feel too guilty or ashamed to pray. But perfect moral behavior is not a condition for prayer. Don’t let guilt or shame over sin keep you from the one means by which we can seek restoration to God. No matter how long you have been away from God, He is ready to hear from you when you approach Him with a pentitent heart and you confess your sins before Him in all honesty. He will restore you to a right relationship with Himself. Every situation can be salvaged if you are willing again to turn to Him. If God could still work in Samson’s situation, He can certainly make worthwhile out of yours.

Do you think that God will not hear you when you repent? Do you think that you are too far gone for God to love you? Do you think that you have done too many things wrong in your past for God to use you in any way? Just know that God loves you. All He asks is that you come to Him and quit lying about your sins and how you can handle it all. He wants your humble heart before Him and confession that you have made a mess of things on your own. And ask for forgiveness through the price that Jesus paid on the cross for you. He will welcome you into the family. He will send the Holy Spirit to live in you and change you from the inside out over the remainder of your lifetime. He will convict you and call you to His service. God can make even the worst into his best servants. Come to him now.

Thinking of that old, wonderful hymn now, O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing, where it says:

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Come to Him now. He has a use for you. He is all about the redemption. God is in the redemption business. He can redeem you. He redeemed me. He has given me my past to be part of my ministry in my future to help bring others to the cross. He will use your past as your ministry too.

Amen and Amen.

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