1. Let’s turn to Judges 13.
2. The hero in our story is one of those individuals in the Bible that can perplex us.
a. Concerning the Russians, Winston Churchill said in a speech in October of 1939, “It is a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma.”
b. Samson is a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma.
· He is indicative of the double minded man that James talks about who is unstable in all his ways.
· He was bold before men, but weak before women.
· As Warren Wiersbe said, “He fought the Lord’s battles during the day and broke the Lord’s commands by night.”
· His name means “sunny” but he ends up in darkness, yet the writer of Hebrews lists him in the hall of faith –riddle/mystery/enigma (Hebrews 11:32).
3. God is at work in our lives even when we can’t see it.
4. We are continuing in our study of Judges.
a. We have seen God work in the lives of some unusual characters (Ehud, Gideon, and Jephthah).
b. Tonight, we are beginning a 3 part study of one of the enigmas of Scripture – Samson.
· The commencement of Samson’s ministry – the God is at work even when it cannot be seen.
· Next week, the continuation of Samson’s ministry as he begins to deliver the nation from the Philistines.
· Finally, the conclusion of Samson’s ministry in apparent failure at Dagon’s temple.
5. Tonight as we begin to examine the life of Samson, I want us to see that God is at work even when we cannot sense it.
I. God was preparing the ground to deliver his people from the Philistines.
A. Israel continued in unexplainable foolishness.
1. They did evil in turning to the idols.
a. Our English Bibles translate a Hebrew idiom as “again” implying that these events followed those of Jephthah.
b. It can also mean that they continue to do evil.
c. The Philistines and the Ammonites began to oppress them around the same time.
d. God sent discipline to the people from the east – the Ammonites and from the west – the Philistines.
e. Who were these Philistines?
· They were a powerful sea people that settle the coastal strip of SW Palastine.
· They came from Caphtor (Crete) (Amos 9:7 and Jeremiah 47:4).
· Political – 5 city league – Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gath.
· Economic – they were prosperous due to the fertile farmland on the coast.
· Military – they had the ability to make iron weapons giving them an advantage.
2. Interestingly, the divinely chosen leaders were part of Israel’s problem rather than a long lasting solution.
a. Each of the leaders had human failures that caused problems for the nation – Gideon’s ephod being worshipped for example (Judges 8:27).
b. The divinely chosen judge would bring temporary deliverance to the people who would then begin to serve the Lord only to fall back into idolatry upon his death.
c. There problem was related to a lack of personal relationship
d. Samson is a perfect example of a leader with human failures.
B. God was sends a child with unbelievable promise.
1. The Angel of the Lord appears to the woman in Dan to announce God’s plan.
a. The woman was to follow the requirements for a Nazarite.
b. Samson was to be a Nazarite: no wine/grapes, no contact with death, and no hair cuts!
2. The woman tells her husband who prays for God to reveal this plan to him.
3. The Angel appears again and instructs Manoah and his wife.
C. Samson is a champion with undefeatable power.
1. The boy Samson grew and was blessed of the Lord.
2. The Spirit of the Lord began to stir him.
II. God is at work in our lives even when we can’t see it.
A. In our story tonight, we can see several implications in the text as we wrestle with the idea of God working behind the scenes.
1. We bring trouble down on ourselves because of our unexplainable foolishness.
a. We do wrestle with three enemies: the world, the flesh, the devil.
· Most times, our troubles are our own making.
· Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.Galatians 6:7-8
b. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes just as the divinely chosen leader was a problem for Israel, we can look to Christian leaders to try and solve our problems.
· Instead of always relying on humans, let’s look to Christ.
2. We can follow the example of Manoah; let’s pray for God’s guidance in our lives.
a. Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.”Judges 13:8
3. We can follow the example of Manoah in seeking God’s way to raise our family.
· Send the man who will teach us how to raise the child (Judges 13:8).
4. We need to remember that children are not machines; Samson had a godly upbringing, he chose to go after the Philistine women.
· We are not Christian determinists with our children: Proverbs 22:6
· What’s the difference between a promise (Romans 10:9) and a proverb (Proverbs 26:4 and 5)!
· Our children have choice – even godly families can experience a prodigal.
B. God is at work in our lives even when we can’t see it
1. We can be ready to see God’s hand and direction in our lives.
2. We can ask God for a deeper understanding of his plan.
a. Manoah prayed and asked God for
3. God deliverance sometimes is a process not an event.
a. God’s deliverance with Samson required pregnancy, birth, growth, and the Spirit’s work in the life of an adult man.
· And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. Judges 13:25
b. God deliverance in our lives can sometimes be a process.
· Many of us want to go to a meeting, counseling session, concert, etc and get something that will make all our problems go away.
· God can work through an event such as the man of the tombs (Mark 5:1-
1. God was preparing the ground to deliver his people from the Philistines.
2. Beloved, God is at work in our lives even if we can’t see it.
· Let’s daily do our part and watch God take care of the rest.