Samson, A Man of Contrasts
Dr. Joe Temple


The last time we were together, we began a consideration of the judgeship of Samson, so open your Bibles to the book of Judges and notice with us the portion that deals with this story. It is found in chapters 13-16.

Because this is a long portion of Scripture, we said at the very outset that we were not going to read it from beginning to end and thus try to assimilate all of the material that was contained in it; but since it is centered around the man, Samson, we are going to study the life of Samson and find exactly what God would have us learn in relation to him.

Perhaps you remember that we said to you that we would find that Samson was a man of contrasts and a man of contradiction. It is almost unbelievable that a man of God could be as Samson was. It is as though there were two men living in the same body. And though that is not true, Samson is one of the best illustrations of the battle that goes on in all of our lives between the flesh and the Spirit.

For example, we learned that Samson was a man of a godly heritage. My, what a heritage with which he was born. On the basis of Proverbs, chapter 22, verse 6, we would think surely he would be a great spiritual warrior; but as we are going to learn in this lesson, he was a man of spiritual power and yet at the same time, a man of fleshly passions. Though he was a man of fleshly passions, he was a man who prayed; and though he was a man who prayed, he was a man who prostituted God's gifts. That is, God showered upon him gifts, not in the same sense that believers today are presented the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but in the sense that God gave him gifts to be used in His service. And instead of using those gifts in the service of God, he prostituted those gifts for his own end. You see a contradiction because a man who would pray and accomplish things for God and yet prostitute God's gifts for his own end is certainly a man of contradiction.

Before we are through with our discussions, we are going to find Samson the pathetic man, a man who began with such promise, a man who began with such opportunity, who, before he reaches the end of his life, is the object of a nation's pity. In that sense, indeed, he is a pathetic man.

We are glad that before we close the story of Samson, we find him, in the Word of God, described as the penitent man, the man who repented, the man who acknowledged his need of the Lord, and the man who was ready to call upon God. This is our hope, that we can repent and not only that we can repent, but that God, in His mercy and in His grace, will forgive us if we do repent.

A Man of Spiritual Power

Without reviewing what we have said about Samson, the man with a godly heritage, I would like for us to begin our study by thinking about Samson, the man of spiritual power. You will find references to his spiritual power in chapter 13, verse 25, chapter 14, verses 6 and 19, chapter 15, verse 14. Turn in your Bibles with me to the book of Judges, chapter 13, and notice, please, verse 25.

Judges 13

25And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

If you relate this verse 25 to verse 24, you realize that very early in the life of Samson, the Holy Spirit began to work in his life. It is an interesting thing exactly how the Holy Spirit did work in the life of Samson. Will you notice there in verse 25:

Judges 13

25And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times…

I would have you notice the phrase, “at times,” and recognize that the Holy Spirit made a special effort in the life of Samson at special times, that the Holy Spirit exerted special influence at specific times in the life of Samson.

Specific Leading of the Holy Spirit

We are going to see, before we are through, though the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is not the same as the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, there is a parallel and an illustration that would be wise for all of us to follow. There are certain times that the Holy Spirit deals with us more specifically than He does at other times. Though we walk in the Spirit, though we are controlled by the Holy Spirit, He does deal with us more specifically sometimes than at others.

Let me illustrate what I mean by calling to your attention the phrase in verse 25: “and He began to move.” The Holy Spirit began to move upon Samson. Just what does that mean? What did the Holy Spirit do when He began to move upon Samson? I suggest to you that the word “move” comes from the Hebrew word paam , which has a very interesting translation. It may be translated by the word “tap,” like we speak of tapping someone on the shoulder to gain his attention. There were times in the early life of Samson when the Holy Spirit tapped him on the shoulder and spoke His message to him.

I don't want to overdraw the picture, but I do want to emphasize to you, Beloved, that the Holy Spirit can operate in that way in this Age of Grace. He has a way of tapping us on the shoulder. I wonder has He ever tapped you on the shoulder? You may ask, “Are you speaking of some kind of a mystical sort of tapping, like rapping on tables?” No, no, I'm not talking about anything like that. I am talking about the fact that the Holy Spirit is able, figuratively speaking, to tap you on the shoulder and gain your attention.

There are many different ways that He can do it. Sometimes in deep quietness when you are alone with the Lord you have a deep sense of deep impressions that certain things ought to be done, and you do it, I trust. If the Holy Spirit is leading–now wait just a moment before you jump to conclusions–let me remind you that that deep impression of which I speak will always be consistent with the Word of God. It will never be inconsistent with the Word of God. For example, if I tell you that the Holy Spirit last night tapped me on the shoulder and told me that I should bid my family goodbye and tell them to get along the best that they can, that I was going out to preach the Gospel around the world, it wasn't the Holy Spirit that was doing the tapping. It was somebody else, or something else, because the Bible says that the man that does not provide for his own household is worse than an infidel.

I mention this to you because when we're talking about things deeply spiritual, the devil has a way of getting in and misleading and misdirecting, and people have a way of misquoting. I don't want to be misquoted to say that I have been suggesting something to you that is eerie and unreal. I'm simply saying to you, Beloved, that the Holy Spirit can tap you on the shoulder.

This is the same thing that the Apostle Paul was talking about when he said that he made every effort to apprehend that for which he was apprehended of Christ. The word “apprehended”, in the second portion of that verse, carries the idea that we are talking about here, of being tapped on the shoulder.

I wouldn't want to say to you that God speaks in this Age of Grace in dreams and in visions, because He does speak through the Word of God. This is the complete revelation, but I would not want to rule out the fact that God can impress you, tap you on the shoulder, in a dream.

A Personal Illustration

I want to give you an illustration, if you will pardon the personal reference. I sometimes hesitate to use these personal illustrations, but as I have said before, I know more about myself and my family than I do about anybody else, and I can talk about us and nobody can get angry. If I talk about somebody else, somebody could get angry and say “Why don't you mind your own business?” The only thing that could happen when talking about ourselves is that you would become a bit bored. I hope you won't. I hope you will accept the illustration in the manner in which I give it.

When Cricket was in the hospital, she dreamed one night about a certain lady who had been going through a great trial, a rather sad case, and I had been counseling with the woman for quite some time. Cricket and I had prayed about it together, and she dreamed about her that night. The next morning, Cricket wrote her a letter and said, “I dreamed about you last night, and the dream wasn't significant. The only reason that I am writing you is that you were brought to my mind, and I want you to know that I am praying for you and holding you up before the Throne of Grace.” That woman called me because she said she didn't want to bother Cricket and she said, “Only God knows how badly I needed that letter when it came, because I didn't think anybody cared; I didn't think anybody was praying; I didn't think anybody at all was interested.”

Understand, Cricket didn't have a dream that told her to do a certain thing. I don't even remember the dream itself, but she interpreted it that perhaps she should write from the hospital to this woman a word of encouragement. This is what I am talking about, the Holy Spirit tapping you on the shoulder. Beloved, I'm not so much interested in how the Holy Spirit taps you on the shoulder, but I am interested in your being sensitive enough to feel the tapping when He taps.

If you learn to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He taps you on the shoulder, He won't have to tap you on the head. Remember that. Sometimes because we are not sensitive enough to feel that gentle tapping of the Holy Spirit on our shoulder, He has to clout us over the head. That is the only way that He can get our attention.

Persuasion of the Holy Spirit

Very early in the life of Samson, this man of spiritual power, the Holy Spirit began to tap him on the shoulder. This same word paam , which is translated by the phrase, “began to move,” is also translated by the word “impel.” The word “impel” conveys the idea of getting behind and giving a gentle push. I am so glad the Holy Spirit is able to do that. How many times have we been convinced that we ought to do something, we ought to say something to witness, we ought to do something, but for many reasons we don't and there are too many reasons for us to go into them now. You are probably more familiar with them than I am, because we don't all have the same reasons we hesitate to move when the Holy Spirit taps us on the shoulder, but how good it is that the Holy Spirit sometimes gets behind us and gives us a gentle push in the direction that we ought to go.

Don't be like a little child. How often has a mother told a little child to do something, and the little child doesn't obey immediately. Then the mother perhaps takes her hands and puts them on the shoulders of the child and gives him a gentle push in the direction that he ought to go. If he is like most children who are experimenting, who try things out to see how far their authority can be exercised, the little child will stiffen himself, and the mother will find herself, instead of gently impelling, pushing against almost an immovable object. Then, of course, it is time to quit pushing and do something about it. I bring that to our attention to remind you, Beloved, that it is best to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that when you feel that tap, you will respond; when you feel that gentle push from behind, don't stiffen yourself to where you find the Holy Spirit almost shoving you to do the thing that needs to be done.

There is another meaning of the word paam , and it is the word, “agitate.” The Holy Spirit agitated Samson early in his life, agitated him about the condition of Israel in relation to the Philistines' over-lordship. Remember, Samson's ministry, Samson's calling–I beg of you to keep this in mind throughout our discussion, today and successive lessons–was to deliver the nation of Israel from the Philistines. If you don't keep that in mind, you will not be able to interpret correctly some of the things that Samson did that apparently God justified.

I have been called to preach, and I ought to bend every effort toward that end. Samson was called to deliver the Israelites from the hand of the Philistines, and he should have made every effort toward that end. But, you know, many of us who are called don't respond or if we respond, we don't fulfil; and so the Holy Spirit has to agitate us; He has to stir us up.

I don't want you to answer this question today; I merely ask it to provoke your thinking, but how long has it been since you have seen a really agitated Christian? I'm not talking about a worried Christian. We ought to know the Lord and His Word well enough that we can rest without being worried, but I wonder about this matter of agitation. How concerned are we really? How concerned are we really that the forces of God are overruled by the forces of Satan? Are we agitated about it at all? Does it really matter?

Well, the Holy Spirit agitated Samson. Sometimes I get real hungry to see some agitated Christians, Christians who are concerned, Christians who are agitated enough to want to do something about the sad, sad things that we see in our world about us. That is all I am going to say about that because there is much that we need to think about.

The Certainty of God's Purpose

I want to call to your attention the second reference in the Word of God, to Samson's spiritual power. You will notice with me Judges, chapter 14, verse 5:

Judges 14

5Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
6And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.

Get the picture. As he was going down to Timnath–I want you to notice, he had no business going down to Timnath–a lion came roaring out on him. I wonder why that lion came roaring out against him. Do you suppose that it was that God was trying to deter him from going to a place where he ought not to have gone? Perhaps. And if you are thinking, immediately you are saying, “Well, if that is the case, why did God deliver him?” Will you learn something today? Until God is through with you, until God has accomplished his purpose in your life, He will prevent the roaring lion from devouring you, even if you are on the pathway of disobedience. Now, they ought to devour you. That's all that you deserve if you are going down to Timnath when you have no business going to Timnath. The lion roaring out against you ought to devour you, but nothing can interrupt the sovereign purpose of God. Oh yes, there can be many heartaches; there can be on the detour many sad experiences, and there will be scars that you will have to bear and sometimes wounds that are never healed. But until God is through, the roaring lion can't hurt you.

Samson, living in Old Testament times without the Spirit of God, was an ordinary man; and so we read in this text that the Spirit of God came upon Samson because he needed this special help. When the Spirit of God came upon Samson, he took hold of this lion and he tore him apart as you might tear a little baby goat that you might come across. The lion was no more powerful against Samson than a little baby goat. But why? Because, you read there in the text, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily.” Will you notice, as I suggested to you, the phrase, “came upon,” is a translation of the word tsaleach . This Hebrew word, tsaleach , may be translated by the phrase, “made to do something.” The Holy Spirit came upon Samson, and in the power of the Holy Spirit he was made to do something–not in the sense that he was forced to do something that he didn't want to do, but it was as if the Holy Spirit clothed Himself with Samson, and with Samson's hands tore the lion apart.

Beloved, in this Age of Grace, I emphasize again, the Holy Spirit operates differently than He did in the Old Testament. It is another illustration of what we through the Holy Spirit are able to do. “It is not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord.” It is when the Holy Spirit of God takes control, or perhaps more aptly, when we permit the Holy Spirit of God to have control, that great things can be done. Joe Temple in his own strength couldn't even tear a little goat apart, but Joe Temple in the power of the Holy Spirit could rend a lion asunder. Oh, how foolish we are to try to do things in our own strength when there is that available to us which will effect that which God would accomplish in our lives.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

This Hebrew word tsaleach may also be translated by the word “effect,” so that what we are not able to bring to pass in our own strength, the Holy Spirit of God can effect as we yield ourselves consistently to Him. Notice the statement there in verse 6: “The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him.” The word “mightily” is a word that should demand our attention because there are individuals who do not recognize the tremendous power of the Holy Spirit that is available to the believer when he is completely yielded to Him. We call to your attention that the word “mightily” comes from the Hebrew word chezqah , which is translated by the word “strength” and by the word “power.” So that you might read the text: “The Holy Spirit came upon Samson with new strength.” “The Holy Spirit came upon Samson with new power.”

This is the reason Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 31, the “year verse” which the Lord has so graciously given, has meant so much to me. “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength.” During these weeks of testing gone by, when I have been weary in the flesh beyond comprehension, and weary in spirit, I have found my strength being renewed. Yet it has not been my strength. It hasn't been as though God gave an injection to an old, worn-out body. It has been as though I have been possessed of a strength that I didn't even know existed. It's not a question of my strength; it's not a question of your strength; it is a question of the power of God. When the Holy Spirit comes upon individuals in the manner of which we are talking about, then indeed we are seeing God work in a mighty and a marvelous way.

Notice another passage of Scripture here that is brought to our attention in chapter 14, verse 19:

Judges 14

19And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.

We are going to have to read this passage of Scripture very carfully, because you will recognize almost immediately that the Spirit of God came upon Samson in a way that would seem that He came upon him for the purpose of doing something evil. May we remind you at the moment that Samson's call, Samson's ministry was the deliverance of the children of Israel from the hand of the Philistines. The only way that God could deliver these children of Israel from the hand of the Philistines, using Samson, was for the Philistines to be stirred about Samson that they came against him and the Israelites for the purpose of destroying them.

Setting the Stage for Deliverance

When you read that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him so that he could slay thirty men to provide the garments that were needed to pay a bet, if you get confused in your thinking, you will think that God is smiling upon gambling and that God is smiling upon slaughter. God is not. God is simply setting up the stage for the deliverance.

If you will look at Judges, chapter 15, verse 14, you will find the third reference in the text where this man was a man of spiritual power. It would be good to read beginning in verse 14:

Judges 15

14And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
15And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.

Are you thinking? I hope you have read this section. If you haven't, I hope you will read it so that you will be familiar with the portions that we are selecting out of it for discussion. We remind you that Samson here was out of fellowship. As we are going to see, he had broken the Nazarite vows, and yet the Spirit of God still came upon him, and with the Spirit of God coming upon him, with a jawbone of an ass, he was able to slay completely a thousand men. You say, “Is God approving a lack of fellowship? Is God approving murder?” No, God is illustrating what can happen when a man does walk in the Spirit.

Now, I would like to emphasize to you so that there will be no misunderstanding that it is very, very important to keep in mind that the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament came upon men for specific purposes and then left them. He came back on them when there was a need, and then left them, but in the New Testament, the very moment that we are born again the Holy Spirit comes to abide in our hearts and He never leaves. So you do not have to say, “Holy Spirit come upon me again.” All you have to do is recognize His residence in your heart and see to it that nothing prevents Him from taking control, and while He is in control, let Him effect through your life that which He wishes. Let Him so work through your life so that a simple thing like the jawbone of an ass becomes a mighty weapon in your hands.

Now the jawbone of an ass, as you well know, is a worthless thing; but in the hand of a man who is filled and who is controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, it becomes a most powerful thing. You recognize here again that the Holy Spirit is the one who receives the glory. That is the reason that God, in His mercy and His grace, takes the simple things of this world to confound the wise things.

A Man of Fleshly Passions

We said to you that Samson was a man of contridictions and contrasts. We have been thinking about Samson, the man of spiritual power. You have seen how the Holy Spirit can use even an unclean instrument like Samson. That leads me to suggest to you that the man who was a man of spiritual power was also a man of fleshly passions.

I want that to sink in, for it is very, very difficult for most of us to picture a man who is moved by the Spirit of God and moved by the flesh at the same time. I'm thinking of a preacher, and I'll not mention any names. That's not the purpose of my thought. But I can think of tremendous meetings that preacher had, evangelistic meetings. Tremendous numbers of people came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. This I know: it is not mere hearsay. This I know: in the hands of the Holy Spirit, he was a temendous instrument for God.

Listen very carefully to what I am going to say, because it may shock you a little bit, but that man was a very handsome man. He had even turned down a contract in Hollywood for movies to preach the Gospel. I remember the day he was saved. He was a very handsome man, and he was a man of fleshly passions.

There is a sense, of course, in which the passions of the flesh are always with us, but there is a sense in which some men have a battle with the flesh that other men do not have because of their very nature or because of the very physical appearance which God gave them. This man was such a man. He had a tremendous battle with fleshly passions. We will not take a great deal of time to talk about this, but this dear man surrendered to his fleshly passions once too often, and he ended up committing suicide. Some of our mutual friends said to me, “You know, God must not have been in that ministry he conducted, that ministry he carried on. God must not have been in that. I guess we were wrong about that.” I said, “How can you say a thing like that? The power of God was evident. We know the man.” I said to these mutual friends, “What we might be forgetting is that the man of spiritual power can also be a man of fleshly passions.”

Samson's Surrender to Fleshly Passions

Samson is one of the best illustrations that I know about, and he surrendered to fleshly passions once too often, and his end was a sad one. I want you to notice the way that he began to surrender to those fleshly passions. It's found there in chapter 14, verse 1, where he went down to Timnath:

Judges 14

1And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.

He had no business looking at the daughters of the Philistines. Somebody said, “Well, how could he help it?” People have said to me about the way women are dressing, “How can a man who is alive at all not be tempted to sin?” And somebody else said, “Well, he ought not to be looking.” How can you help but look? But you see, there is a difference in looking, and looking. The word that the Holy Spirit was pleased to use for the word “saw” in our text, is the Hebrew word raah , which means “to gaze.” Samson gazed at the women of Philistia.

These women of Philistia were evidently attractive women, because this whole story of Samson and his fleshly passions is built around the thing that happened when he gazed at these Philistine women. He wasn't satisfied with one, he wanted yet another; and through the lust of the eye, the old weapon of Satan, he was brought to the place where he was a man of fleshly passion, not walking at the direction of the Holy Spirit, but the man of fleshly passion walking at the direction of the flesh.

I know you are thinking an individual who could be so used of the Spirit of God, that with a jawbone of an ass, he could slay one thousand men, could become helpless when there crosses his pathway a beautiful woman and he does more than give a passing glance.

Beloved, I think before we become critical of people we need to recognize the power of the flesh. Don't become critical and sit in judgment of men who have been mightily used of God and perhaps even say, “Oh they didn't know the Lord to start with or they wouldn't have been that way.” We need to recognize the power of the flesh.

Here is the sad thing. When an individual such as Samson succumbs to the lust of the flesh, or the lust of the eyes, it seems as though he is ready to throw everything overboard, everything that is worthwhile, everything that is important, to barter everything for a moment's pleasure.

Do you recall when we first began our study of Samson, thinking about Samson's godly heritage? We told you that it consisted of a Nazarite vow. But Samson took upon himself the vow of a Nazarite, and we said that the vow of the Nazarite is composed of three things: You do not touch an unclean thing; you do not drink wine; you do not cut your hair.

Touching the Unclean Thing

When Samson saw this beautiful woman, he had the first little crack in the wall that resulted in the violation of his Nazarite vow. And the first actual violation of his Nazarite vow, step one, was touching the unclean thing. You'll notice back there in verse 8 of chapter 14:

Judges 14

8And after a time he returned (to Timnath) to take her [that is, this girl that he looked at] , and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.
9And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother…

Honey was a staple part of peoples' diet then. He was hungry. There is nothing wrong with being hungry, but if he had been in the spiritual state in which he should have been, he would never have taken the honey where he found it, because he had to touch a dead animal to do it. He had to touch a dead body to do it, and this was one thing that was related to the Nazarite vow. The individual who took upon himself the Nazarite vow could not come near a dead body. I wonder–I puzzled about this–could it be that Samson was so far out of fellowship–using a relative term now, not a Scriptural one–that he never thought about what he was doing? Perhaps that was true, because many, many times when people are brought into account for their sinfulness, they say, “I never thought. I never thought.”

You know, Beloved, it's true; when you are not walking in the Spirit, you don't think; you're not alert. The Devil does blind your eyes.

Or could it be that Samson simply didn't care? I wonder if it might not have been that, because you will remember up there in the early part of chapter 14, he said that he saw this woman and he wanted her for his wife, and he told his parents to go get her. They said, “Son, you know this is against the will of God. You shouldn't have a Philistine woman.” And he said, “I want her; get her.” Open rebellion. Could it be that when the thought came to him, “Remember your vow, Samson; remember your vow,” he said, “I don't care about my vow. I'm going to do what I want to do.”?

Drinking the Forbidden Wine

I wonder how many folk wind up in the same sad situation in which Samson wound up. He took the first step, touching an unclean thing, and it wasn't very long until the next step of breaking his Nazarite vow came into appearance. You read in chapter 14, verses 10 and 11:

Judges 14

10So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.
11And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.

What's wrong with inviting your friends out to dinner? Nothing. But the word for “feast,” here in our text, is a word that speaks of a drunken revelry, a feast where wine was the chief item on the menu.

And what was the second thing that Samson, in relation to his Nazarite vow, was not supposed to do? He was not to touch wine. He was not supposed to drink wine, any amount of it, any description of it. He was to have nothing to do with it, and there he was at the feast giving wine to his brethren and drinking wine himself. The second step in the vow was broken.

Abandonment to Sin

I'm not at all surprised then to read what I read in chapter 16, of the book of Judges, verse 1:

Judges 16

1Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.

I have referred to that as the “complete abandonment to sin.” I'm not surprised that he could go into a house of prostitution, without even looking over his shoulder to see if somebody was seeing him go in. I'm not surprised that he could lie with his head in the lap of a prostitute and make light of the last thing that related him to his Nazarite vow, his long hair. That was the last thing that related him to his Nazarite vow, the last thing that he hadn't done to break the vow completely. He had already broken two parts of the vow, so he wasn't hard for him, I repeat, to lie with his head in the lap of a prostitute and make light of the last thing.

Can you understand what I am going to say right now? I want you to, and I don't want you to misunderstand me. I'm not nearly so concerned about that last step as I am the first step. I am much more concerned about Samson when he touched the carcass of the lion than I am when he lay with his head in the prostitute's lap.

Does that sound strange to you? Why am I more concerned about touching the carcass of a lion than I am about laying his head in a prostitute's lap? If we were to discuss this in dialogue this evening, you would be quick to tell me, right away you would tell me, “But to put your head in a prostitute's lap, to visit a house of prostitution is much much worse than touching the dead body of a lion.” Yes, yes it is, but which has done the greater damage?

What I want to say to you is this: Beloved, if Samson had never touched the carcass of the lion, in all probability, he never would have laid with his head in the lap of a prostitute.

That is why we should be so concerned about our young people, not because our young people are bad, but because they are alive. Most of us have been over the path. There's not too much that we can do. Most of us have been over the path, but our young people are just starting. How many times have I heard parents excuse, figuratively speaking, the fact that their child touched the carcass of the lion.

“Oh, they didn't do anything much,” they say. “They didn't do anything too bad.” They just sort of dismiss it, excuse it, compensate for it, rationalize it. But the thing that worries me is that unless something is done, they will be lying with their head in a prostitute's lap, because you can't touch the carcass of the lion and break that inititial agreement with God without eventually breaking the whole agreement.

Most of us don't get concerned until we see the head in the prostitute's lap, do we? Most of us don't get concerned until the individual has gone the whole way. That's when we get concerned.

Well, we are studying a man of contradictions, and I do want to take a little time to think with you about another interesting thing about this man Samson. We have just been talking about the fact that he's a man of fleshly passions. A man who would spend his time in a house of prostitution is certainly yielding himself to fleshly passions, isn't he?

A Man of Prayer

Now, let me ask you something. Do you think a man like that would ever pray? Do you think a man like that would ever talk to God? Oh, Beloved, how much we have to learn. How often we just write people off by the company that they keep, the things they do. “Oh,” we say, “they couldn't even think about praying.” This man who lay with his head in a prostitute's lap, was a man who prayed. And he prayed in such a fashion, and God answered his prayer in such a fashion, that there was a tremendous miracle performed, and a lasting memorial raised to him as a man of prayer.

I never read the life of Samson without being amazed at the grace of God. I would be the last one personally to say that there ought to be a monument built to Samson as a man of prayer. I would be the last one to say that and yet God built a monument to this man, because he prayed.

Will you notice with me what is recorded here in chapter 15 of the book of Judges, the paragraph that begins with verse 9:

Judges 15

9Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi.
10And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us.
11Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.
12And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.
13And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock.

Now, get the picture. Samson had tied the tails of foxes together, and set a brand between them, set them on fire and burned down the wheat fields of the Philistines. The Philistines came up to conquer the Israelites, and the Israelites said, “Why blame us? Why don't you blame Samson?” They said, “Well, we are going to take you or Samson, either one.” And they said, “Let us go see what we can do.” And they went up, three thousand of them, and said to Samson, “Samson, if you don't come down, the Philistines are going to kill all of us.” And Samson said, “All right, I just want one word from you; and that is if I permit you to bind me, you won't kill me while I am bound. You'll deliver me to the Philistines.”

Deliverance From God

Keep in mind, Samson's one calling was to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. They said, “All right, we won't hurt you.” They bound him with two new cords, and now notice beginning with verse 14:

Judges 15

14And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
15And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
16And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
17And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi.
18[Notice carefully] And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
19But God [and oh, how interested we are in those two little words. You ought to circle them in your Bibles everytime you come across them. But God. On one side, you see the utter futility of the power of men, and on the other side you see the mighty power of God. On one side of this phrase, But God, there was a man dying of thirst, on the other side, a miracle] clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.
20And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

Get the picture. He has won the battle, but he was weary in spirit. Because he won the battle with a jawbone of an ass, he called the place “Ramath-lehi,” which means “the hill of the jawbone.” It was an historic place, just like the individuals who were interested in preserving the history of this particular area are putting up historical markers on certain historical sites. This particular hill became an historical site. It was know as the Hill of the Jawbone, because it was there that with a jawbone that Samson killed a thousand men.

Then you will notice, Samson prayed to God and said, “God, I am dying of thirst. Is it right for me to have killed all these men and just because of the need of a little water I fall into the hands of these uncircumsized people, and they kill me? God help me!” And God helped him. And how did God help him? As strange as it may sound, God caused a spring of water to flow out of a jawbone that he had used as an instrument to kill all of the people that we referred to. A spring out of a jawbone. How could it be? Well, Beloved, we are talking about God; and when we are talking about God, it seems kind of silly to me to say, “How could it be?”

Of course, there are some individuals who can't quite understand how God could cause a spring of water to come out of the jawbone of an ass, so they say, “Oh, what he is talking about is the hill. Samson had called them the 'Hill of the Jawbone,' and so what they are saying is that God made the spring to spring up out of the hills.” Maybe He did, I don't know, but to me, it doesn't make a lot of difference.

It is no more difficult for my God to cause water to come up out of the jawbone of an ass or make it come up out of the dry ground. It doesn't make a whole lot of difference. You believe what you want to believe; God supplied the water.

But the interesting thing to me is that God laid there an everlasting memorial, because that place was called Enhakkore , which means, “the spring of him who prayed.” Evidently that spring of water continued. And what did people call it? “The spring of him who prayed.”


Beloved, do you have any monuments to your prayer life? Can people look at some individual and say, “Do you see that person right there? Do you know why he is still here? Do you know why he is still in the land of the living? Because somebody prayed.” You see this building in which we worship? What do people say about it? I hope that they say what we know to be true: “That's the building of the people who prayed.”

Do you have a monument to your prayer life? Think about that and let the Spirit of God minister that truth to your life.

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