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Living into God's Story

Charlie Boyd - 4/3/2022

SERMON SUMMARY

As we pick back up in Samson’s story, we continue to see a deeply flawed man, both morally and spiritually. In chapters 15-16, he continues his own ‘downward spiral’ of immorality and revenge-taking. With all his giftedness and blessings, Samson never woke up to the fact that God had called him to play a major role in his amazing story of redemption. That’s one of our greatest temptations, isn’t it? …to live for our own little stories rather than live into and out of God’s Big Story. The question is—Whose story will you live for? Yours or God’s?

SERMON SCREENSHOTS & KEY POINTS

Review last week — In Judges 13-14, the first part of Samson’s story, God’s grace shines bright—the angel of the Lord comes and announces his birth—he is specially chosen by God to live out a certain manner of life (as a Nazirite) and he’s called to live for a certain mission in life (“to begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines, cf 13:5). Also, Samson is divinely blessed and empowered by the Spirit. But with all those divine advantages, Samson constantly does what is “right in his own eyes.” He ignores his Nazirite regulations, and that causes much conflict and loss for this ungodly man who time after time gives into vindictiveness and sensual pleasures.

Judges 15:16-31 — This week we see in even more gruesome detail Samson’s vengeful “Golden Rule” in action—“Do unto others as they do unto you” (15:11). He makes a bet that his Philistine groomsmen couldn’t solve his riddle; they cheat him and beat him at the riddle; in retaliation, he kills 30 Philistines in a far-away town; in retaliation, the father won’t let him see his Philistine wife; in retaliation, he burns their fields; in retaliation, they kill his wife; in retaliation, he kills 100s more—in retaliation, his own people turn him over to the Philistines; in retaliation, he kills 1,000 more—in retaliation the Philistines employ Delilah to seduce him and find out the secret of his strength. And Samson caves in and completely repudiates his call from God. The Philistines gouge out his eyes and force him to grind their grain (remember, he used the flaming foxes to burn their grain fields). The man who did only what was “right in his own eyes” is now blind—a symbol that he had been blind to his own blindness all his life. Not even aware that God had left him, he finally dies, killing more Philistines in his death than in his life. But still, God will use that event to create even more unrest between Israel and Philistia. Yes, things are going according to God’s plan (cf14:4) in spite of Samson and Israel’s unwillingness to cooperate.

Samson was invited to play a major role in God’s huge, big, amazing story of redemption. But he chose to live in the little, itty-bitty, teeny-tiny story of himself. That’s our default mode as well. Every day, we are constantly tempted to play the starring role in our own little stories rather than live into and out of the Story that God has written for us and is writing for this world.

*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.