This message was part of the ‘Judges’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Fallowfield in early 2018. The full series included the following sermons:
This sermon was based on Judges 13-16. Judges 16:23-30 are shown below.
The Death of Samson
23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.” 25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.
28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.
We are called to be set apart
- We don’t have to follow loads of laws anymore like what we should and shouldn’t eat, or how we should wash or how we should pray. But we are called to be different to the world around us.
- The story of Samson’s life shows what can happen when you choose to conform with the world around you. Some of his decisions really shocked many of the people around him and got him in a bit of difficulty. Samson asked for things that he knew were against what God had said, he was selfish and was only after the praise and affection of others. He allowed himself to be tricked several times by Delilah until he eventually gave her the secret to his strength which led to his capture and death.
- Everything in us wants to fit in – we want nice normal jobs and comfort and to have a good group of friends that we can slot into. But we are called to be different to the world and stand out in following what God has for us.
God uses us despite our weaknesses
- Often we assume that amazing gifts and talents are only given to those people who also have good character. But talent does not equal character. Samson had amazing strength but he broke laws, was selfish and driven by lust and anger. But God still used him despite all this.
- We shouldn’t keep sinning with the attitude that we will be used by God anyway but the fact that God chooses to use us should motivate us to be a better person. It also doesn’t matter how you see yourself, God loves you and can use you in any part of His amazing plan.
Rely on God – not our own strength
- God is the one who puts the talents in us and we have a responsibility to use them for God’s glory and not for selfish gain. How can we serve others with our gifts and talents even if we go unrecognised?
- In Judges 16:23-20, we see how Samson finally turns back to God and remembers that God was the one who gave him his mighty strength and power. Samson calls out to God one last time and allowed God to use what was Samson’s greatest downfall to become Samson’s greatest triumph by killing more evil men in his death than in his life.
- In all situtations, we should come to God in reverance and want every second of our days to be saturated with Him.