The Scarlet Thread - Pt. 7 Judge Samson

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The Scarlet Thread
Pt. 7 Judge Samson
Judges 13:1-5; 16:23-30

Well, here we are. The final installment of the Scarlet Thread series. The shadows of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament are sometimes a little difficult to find. But we know now that there is indeed this Scarlet Thread that has been woven throughout the entire Bible. In this final article, we’re going to look at a very familiar story, but we’re going to look at it in a fresh way.

After the Israelites entered into the Promised Land, they needed some form of government. For a while they were considered a “Theocracy” meaning they took orders directly from the Lord by way of the prophets. But there came a time when they needed more. So for a period of time, God chose to govern over the nation of Israel by way of Judges. Judges were only a temporary form of government until the Kings were established. These judges were each appointed at a certain time for only a certain period. There were 12 judges in total, with Samson being the very last, and probably the most well-known, of them all. His story starts like this…

Judges 13:1 “And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.” Kind of a lousy way for your story to begin, right? Now remember, Israel represents Christians today. They were freed from the slavery of Egypt, and they made it into the Promised Land, showing how Christians are freed from slavery to sin. Some Christians never quite make it to live in Christ and enjoy His power and manifest presence. But other do make it into that Promised Land.

Once a Christian reaches the Promised Land to enjoy God’s power and presence, they are not completely free of temptation or trials. Even to this day Israel does not live in peace. They are constantly defending themselves in their land from surrounding countries that are trying to take their country. It just so happened, not long after Israel reached the Promised Land, that they were attacked from the Philistines. Unfortunately, Israel lost their faith in God, and did what was evil in His sight rather than trust in Him. And so God allowed them to be taken captive.

Read this carefully, you might have once enjoyed Christ’s power and presence, but that doesn’t mean you are free from trials and temptations. Satan still wants you. You still have a sin nature. And the world still attempts to persuade us that we’re wrong. Many of us, right now, find ourselves being taken captive again and again. The Philistines in this story do not represent Satan, they represent your flesh, your sin nature. And when you allow your flesh to make your decisions for you you’re willingly giving control of your life over to your sin.

And just like always, the Israelites could not free themselves from this problem. They needed a hero just like we STILL need a hero.

Judges 13:2-5 “There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” A woman for whom it would be impossible to be pregnant is promised a son. This son would be special and would save the people. Doesn’t this sound a little familiar? Like the virgin Mary perhaps?

The story of Samson is a bit twisted. He is a shadow of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. But he was imperfect. He sinned pretty badly. So he’s only a 2-dimensional shadow. Not a perfect image of Christ. Yet throughout Samson’s life he did some incredible things. He basically waged guerrilla warfare on the Philistines singlehandedly. He killed a lion by ripping it apart. Caught 300 foxes, tied torches to their tails, and sent them running through the Philistines wheat fields. He fought an army of Philistines and killed 1,000 of them with the only thing he could find; a donkey’s jawbone. He tore the city gates off their hinges and carried them up a hill for everybody to see.

This man was the number one enemy of the Philistines. Remember, the Philistines represent your sinfulness. You cannot defeat your sinfulness on your own. You need a hero. And throughout the life of Jesus Christ, He proved that He has the power to defeat the strongholds of sin in your life.

But then tragedy strikes. Samson is betrayed by a person he trusted, and he is taken prisoner. Sound familiar? Jesus Christ was betrayed by a person He loved and was taken by soldiers. This all sounds like terrible news. It’s like the part in a movie where the hero gets amped up, he goes to battle the villain, and something goes wrong. The villain seems to prevail. But read this.

Judges 16:23-30 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.”[b] 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.

In Samson’s death, he did more to defeat the enemy than while he was alive. His death brought a victory for Israel, and a blow to the enemy. Now, what does this have to do with us today in 21st Century America?  Check it out, this is a picture of when Jesus Christ died. When He died, it was the enemy of sin that was defeated. Christ’s death brought our victory. Jesus was taken, beaten, and crucified in our place. We were supposed to go to Hell, but He died for us. His death bought our freedom. His sacrifice gave us victory and satisfied the law.

The reason all of the Bible has a Scarlet Thread running through it is because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to our faith. If you do not build your life on the Gospel, then nothing will feel in place. This life is designed to only function properly when we have centered our lives on the Gospel. Not just as a means of getting us to Heaven, but even to give us peace with God now. To give us a satisfactory relationship with God, even after we had fallen short of Him.

In Italy, the Tower of Pisa began construction in 1173. The foundation was laid, and then abandoned due to war. Two floors were built by 1178. The weight of these two floors began causing the tower to sink. The foundation was thin and the soil was soft. Again, construction was abandoned due to war. After 199 years of construction the tower was finished. Because of the lean, the architects made one side taller than the other so the building is now actually curved.

A decade ago, they determined the tower was on the brink of collapse and so efforts were made to stabilize the building. Now architects say it will stand another 200 years minimum. At this point, the tower itself is safe for tourists to visit and get pictures of. But the foundation will eventually cause the entire structure to crumble. It’s a ticking time bomb. But not all is lost. The foundation can be fixed.

The Gospel Thread runs throughout the entire Bible because the foundation of Christianity is about bringing you back to Jesus. If you’ve tried Christianity and it has failed you, could it be that you have fallen out of alignment? Do you feel lost, burdened, depressed, and confused? Could it be you’ve built your life on something other than the Gospel?

Return to the Gospel. Thank God for His sacrifice. Thank Jesus that He satisfied God’s wrath. Thank God that you can know Him because of His death and resurrection. And place yourself back on the secure foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

James Robinson has been the Youth Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, TX since June 2014. He was drawn to work with students because he believes teenagers are in a highly moldable stage of life where it is absolutely imperative they allow the Gospel to identify who they are. As a Student Pastor, James says he has the inexpressible joy of regularly speaking that life-shaping Gospel into the students' lives.