Samson had a lot of potential. He was reared in a Godly home, he was given supernatural strength. He could have been a super hero of urban legend proportions. People would still be talking about him in reverence if he had led Israel to impressive victories and complete freedom. Samson could have been so much more, but he ended up as a flash in the pan. Yes, he did something spectacular occasionally, but he never rallied the people of Israel to do God’s will. In the end he was exploited and ridiculed by his enemies. If he was a manager today, he would probably be terminated for failing to meet any of his objectives. But was he a failure? My answer is no. Samson’s story teaches us that just because you failed at something does not mean that you are a failure. A failure is an event, not a person. Samson failed over and over and over again. And when it looks like he failed way too much for God to ever use him, God accomplishes His purposes through a man that repeatedly could not get it right. Just because you’re down, you are not out. God can still use you for His purposes.
Bottom line: A failure is an event, never a person.
Something To Talk About:
Samson’s life shows yet again that a man can make spectacular blunders and still walk in God’s blessing. God takes faith and commitment very seriously, and what faith and commitment Samson had was genuine. His failures kept him from fulfilling his calling, but God never abandoned him.
- A man’s greatest fear is failure and greatest pain is regret: Men hate to fail. It goes against our DNA. We want to measure up. We want to be successful and we want to be admired. When we play a game we want to win. Samson was the poster boy for “shoulda coulda woulda.” Samson’s story reminds us that man’s greatest fear is failure, and his greatest pain is regret. We have all failed, so fortunately, failure is an event, not a person. No matter how badly you’ve messed up in your life, you probably could not match Samson. Samson failed individually, but he also failed a nation. Remorse is where a lot of men stop. Remorse is when you say, “Boy, I wish I hadn’t done it; I really feel bad about what I did; I’m a bad person.” Repentance is where you say, “I’m going to change; I’m going to do something different.” In fact, repentance literally means, “I’m going to change direction.” In the end of Samson’s story, as you’ll see, he finally used his strength for God’s purposes instead of his own. Don’t try just to “be a stronger man.” Satan loves making strong men weak. God loves making weak men strong. Don’t try just to “be a better man.” Be God’s man. Stop trying to tell your story. Start telling His. It’s not about you. It’s about Him. Push those pillars down. Die to yourself so you can live for Him.
- Even in our failures, God can still accomplish His purposes: Sometimes we fail. Even the best of us have experienced failure at one point in our lives. The issue is not whether we fail, but how we deal with the failure. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (TLB) tells us, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” Paul was knocked to the ground many times, but he was never permanently grounded. Through all the trials, struggles and failures God always, through Christ, gave him the strength to get up and get back in the race. Just because you are down doesn’t mean you are out. God is working in your life to fulfill His purpose in your life. The life of Samson reminds us of that fact. While you cannot change your past, you can change your future. Samson realizes this: When they stood him among the pillars, 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.” (Judges 16:26) “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.” Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, 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.” (Judges 16:28-30) It goes to show you, even with all your failures, God can still use you. Even though you’ve messed up, it’s not over yet. You are not what you did, you are what God says you are. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
- What’s one of the biggest mistakes you’ve ever made? What started you on your path towards making that mistake?
- What is the one thing you struggle with the most that could drive you down a dangerous path? Why do you think so many people continue to make the same mistakes when they fully understand the consequences?
- How have you rationalized your own sin throughout your life in the same way Samson did?
- The message asked, “What pillars are you pushing down?” What are your thoughts?
- As you turn towards God, what are some of the first steps you’ll need to take to leave your sin behind?
- What is the one thing we can do this week to move toward God?
Take One Thing Home with You
What pillars are you pushing down? Or in other words, what obstacles are standing in the way of you following the path that God has set before you? If you’ve got a pillar of pride that says I can handle it by myself, push it down. If you have a pillar of anger that makes you mad at the world and everybody in it, push it down. If you have a pillar that keeps you from intimacy with God, push it down. If you have pillar of a marriage that is failing, push it down.
When we push down the pillars that get in the way of God’s purposes, amazing things happen: They give their lives to God daily. They give their lives to their wives daily. They give their lives to their kids daily. They give their lives to their church daily. They give their lives to their community daily. They give their lives to the job daily. My prayer is that God will use the Samson series to help the men and women in our church push down the pillars daily in our own lives that keep us from being fully committed to Jesus Christ.