Our Biggest Enemy - Riverside Indonesian Fellowship

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Bible Study 2022
Our Biggest Enemy
Have you ever stepped back after you have done something and said, why did I do that? Why did I do this thing? What was I thinking? Why did I say yes to this thing instead of no? Why did I fill up my schedule with that? Why did I respond that way? I did not mean to. Now I am paying for the way I responded. Or why did I just not walk away from that situation? Why didn’t I just tell the truth?

Why did I look at that when I know I shouldn’t have? Why did I do that? As a Christian everyone is considered a leader, because we need to lead ourselves. Every day when you wake up, and you look in the mirror, you are looking at the greatest enemy to ruin that day. Most of the time we want to blame others, but ultimately, we cannot control others but we have to control ourselves.

When we look through the bible we see the failures of some prominent men. Today we are looking at Samson. When I read the Bible I like to study people that I can relate to. If they all are perfect. I know that I cannot be that. But I, like them, fail more times than I succeed. There is nothing in Scripture that tells us how big Samson was, just how incredible strong he was.

I see a lot in Samson that we all have in common with him, and I’m not talking about his strength. I’m talking about him doing whatever he wants and whenever he wants without listening to advice. Samson’s problem was not that he lacked strength to do what God wanted him to do. Samson sabotaged his leadership because he always did what he felt like doing without thinking.

The problem that Samson had is that his strength ultimately led to his destruction. Has that ever happened to you that God’s gift to you has led to your destruction? Sometimes we do with our gifts what God does not want us to do. Samson was an answer to prayer even though Samson did not live up to what he was supposed to do. Samson was given this Nasserite vow, to be separated by not cutting his hair.

God separated Israel to be holy and so was Samson with this Nasserite vow. Israel was always drawn to foreign gods, they build a golden calf, and Samson was the same, his foreign gods were women that were not Israelites. Samson is literally telling Israel’s story with his own life. And if we are honest, we can see similarities in our life and our responses to what God is calling us to do as well.

We too are often drawn to foreign gods, idols, in our life. Sometimes we set aside these gifts that God gives us, and do not do what we are supposed to do. Sometimes we make these commitments, these vows, I will never do this thing, until my flesh becomes too strong and I do it anyway. We know we are to be set apart, but we often do not act that way and are not holy.

Our greatest enemy in our life is ourselves. Your greatest failure in life is the failure to lead yourselves. Turn with we to Judges 14, 15 and 16 and we will jump back and forth a bit and you will see why. We want to see how the failures of Samson apply to our life today. There are three primary things that Samson failed to do: 1. Samson failed to lead himself. He did not have any self-control.

In America today we are taught to have zero impulse control. We are not taught to say no to things. We do not teach our children to say no. We wind up doing those things that we should not do and Samson does this with the women that he chooses. Turn to Judges 14:1-2, “Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines.”

2 So he went up and told his father and mother, saying, “I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.” Dating was easy back then. I don’t care what you think, just get her. Now, you might think that this is the only time this happens. Look at Judges 16:1. His first wife died after her father in law died. “Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.”

Judges 16:4, “Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.” We know the story of Delilah, but there is a lot that happens before that. Again Samson did not do what God wanted him to do. And quite frankly, this is us. When you look at the statistics of people into drugs, alcohol and pornography you see that they have no impulse control.

And Samson’s lack of self-control backfires on him. But this is no different from Israel. They worshipped other gods. Now he wants to plan his wedding celebration, this is a great party but he goes where he is not supposed to go. Judges 14:5, “So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah.” This is where he plans the feast with wine.

So he neglects his Nasserite vow. Verse 5 continues, “Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. 6 And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.” Now here he is touching a dead lion.

Verse 8-9, “After some time, when he returned to get his wife, he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion. And behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the carcass of the lion. 9 He took some of it in his hands and went along, eating. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they also ate. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.”

No one could overcome his strength. Samson kept defeating them on numerous occasions. So the Philistines came up against Judah and the men of Judah asked them why. They said they wanted to arrest Samson. So three thousand men of Judah said to Samson, why have you done this to us? So they came to deliver him to the Philistines. So he said, swear to me that you will not kill me.

Judges 15:13-15, “So the men of Judah spoke to him, saying, “No, but we will tie you securely and deliver you into their hand; but we will surely not kill you.” And they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. 14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him; and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax,

That were burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand and took it, and killed a thousand men with it.” Samson has zero impulse control. Sometimes this vindictive nature of our behavior in our lives also overpowers us. Sometimes we are no different than Samson. He is always failing to lead himself.

You need to say yes to the 5% life that a believer should be following. One percent of your day should be spent in prayer or reading the Scriptures, it is about 15 minutes. One percent of your week should be spent in gather time, being with other believers about an hour and a half. One percent of your month in group time with other people that will help you as a believer, which is about six or seven hours.

Then there is one percent in grow time in a quarter that you need to spend to grow spiritually, by studying the bible and teaching others. Then there is this go time in the last one percent per year that is serving your time in mission, locally, nationally or internationally. That is about a month or so. I don’t know what is on your schedule but I know this. You need to live your 5% life as a follower of Jesus.

2, Samson failed to listen to others. Turn back to Judges 14:3, right after he told his parents to get that woman, “Then his father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” Verse 3 continues, “And Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she pleases me well.” He like her looks.

Samson does not want to listen. Did you notice that when he returned to get her, he went off by himself to see this carcass? Do you know that your enemy wants you in isolation? That is not what the Lord wants, He wants you to be with in a community. So you know what others go through in their life, and that you are not alone in dealing with trials and disappointments.

The enemy wants you to think that your situation is harder than anybody else. And that is not what we see through the lens of Scripture. We are supposed to live our lives with one another to see that others have similar issues and that solutions come not at our time but at God’s time. We should learn to live by faith and not by sight. But Samson was on his own doing his own thing.

When you are involved in a connect group, like a bible study, you have a group that thinks about you and shares with you and prays for you. You are not supposed to be isolated, because then the devil has an easier time in attacking you. When you are involved you are looking in the eyes of others to know what is going on. We are the most informed generation of all time.

We can google everything, but where are the answers coming from? You can ask any question and you can find people that agree with you, even though it might not be right. Satan is just as clever in leading you astray as anyone. One TV station tells you something that they claim is right and another TV station can say the opposite and claim that they are right. The real truth is in the Bible.

Did you know that we live in a lonely city? The loneliest city is Washington DC, the second loneliest city is Las Vegas and the third loneliest city is Denver. We need to be a city where people say, you guys are different, you are all connected, you guys know each other’s names and kid’s names and your story, your jobs and careers and you are praying together and holding each other accountable.

We fail to listen. Usually there are two failures, you can listen to everyone, or you can listen to no one. When you listen to two opposite viewpoints, you are trying to decide which one is true. You need to listen to somebody that knows you and loves you. When you listen to no one, you become your own god and that is disaster. You should not do either, we should learn from what happens to Samson.

3. Samson failed to learn from his mistakes. Why did I do this again and again? We all have made mistakes in the same way, right? If you go back to Judges 14, and his first wife and the lion carcass. After he kills the lion he is pretty proud and he says to himself, I’m telling people a riddle. So he tells this riddle that nobody can decipher, till the last day of their wedding feast.

Judges 14:12 – 18, “Then Samson said to them, “Let me pose a riddle to you. If you can correctly solve and explain it to me within the seven days of the feast, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing. 13 But if you cannot explain it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing.” And they said to him, “Pose your riddle, that we may hear it.”

14 So he said to them: “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” Now for three days they could not explain the riddle. 15 But it came to pass on the seventh day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband so that he may explain the riddle to us, or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us in order to take what is ours?”

16 Then Samson’s wife wept on him, and said, “You only hate me! You do not love me! You have posed a riddle to the sons of my people, but you have not explained it to me.” And he said to her, “Look, I have not explained it to my father or my mother; so should I explain it to you?” 17 Now she had wept on him the seven days while their feast lasted. And it happened on the seventh day that he told her. Why?

Because she pressed him so much. Then she explained the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down: “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” And he said to them: “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle!” So he killed 30 men and took their clothes to give the people.

Then Samson’s wife was given to his best man and for revenge he caught 300 foxes and put torches between them to burn up the wheat fields as well as the vineyards. So the Philistines burned her and her father. Did Samson learn from what had happened? They had foreign gods and their women were different. But no, Samson had another torrid relationship with Delilah.

She wants to know the secret of why he is so strong. And not only that, the people around her are bribing her so that she is willing to find out the secret. They are tired of him killing all their men. She asked him several times and each time he was able to break free. First it was bowstrings and that did not work. Then it was new ropes but he broke them easily. Then it was weaving his locks but that also failed.

So look at Judges 16:16 - 17, “And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, 17 that he told her all his heart. And said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

Verse 18-19, “When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.” So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. 19 Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head.”

Samson did not learn, he is trusting his philistine wife. This way Delilah made him helpless, and his strength left him. Then in verse 20, she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.” He did not learn from his mistakes.

He did not even realize that the Lord had left him. Isn’t this what happens to the sin on our lives? We start out wanting to have a little fun, doing things we know we are not supposed to do, failing to lead ourselves, and failing to listen to others. We do more and more and the trajectory of sin in our lives cause us to be no longer lead by the Holy Spirit. We no longer do the things that God wants us to do.

We are powerless without the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. This is where Samson was. Our greatest enemy is that we do not lead ourselves. But let me share with the beautiful part. It is never too late to cry out to God. I don’t care where you are, I don’t care what you have done, I don’t care what failure you are walking through right now, you are never too lost for God.

Samson’s story does not end here. Verse 21-22, “Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and they bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22 However, the hair of his head began to grow again.” Verse 23, “Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god. And they said: “Our god has delivered Samson our enemy!”

So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.” Verse 27, “Now the temple was full of men and women, about three thousand men and women on the roof were watching Samson.”

Samson’s hair began to grow back. God brings new mercies every morning. Maybe Samson began to think about why he did not follow God. Verse 28, “Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!” And God heard his prayer.

And God hears your prayers too. And He is not done with us either! Verse 30, “Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.” Because God is faithful even though we are not, and He gave him back that strength.

So here is the picture, your failure, your misstep, your situation that you are in right now, is never and will never be too much for God to overcome. He has already done that through the work of Jesus. God sends His only Son to live a perfect life even in the midst of people that failed Him over and over, just like Samson did and you all do, and because Jesus lived a perfect life, He is murdered.

Jesus is crucified on a cross, He is put in a tomb, and He raises on the third day. And because of that, if we believe that to be true, and if we ask Him to forgive us of all our sins, He is faithful to forgive and if we ask Him to help us lead our life, than we will have a right relationship with God forever. That is the story of Samson. It is a picture of our own lives, and our need for restoration and redemption, Amen? Let us pray.

© 2017 Ferdy Gunawan

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