Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

The Great Grace of God 7/13/2014
Dear friend,

May the grace mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you now and forever. Amen.

If you typed in your name in an internet search engine, how many sites would come up? For me it was 6390. If we did the same search for the name Samson, how many sites would come up? 13,700,000

If one searched for his name in the Bible, it would be 36, with only one of them being in the New Testament. His name is found in chapter 11 of the letter to the Hebrews and it stand alongside the names of the other people of faith. Let us read a short portion of that account in order to get an idea of what kind of a testimony was given of Samson, the strong man.

As he is encouraging the persecuted believers in the early days of Christianity, the writer is pointing to the faith of those who came before and after mentioning Enoch, Noah, Moses and others he comes to the time of the judges, which was around 1300-1000 BC.

Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Samson was a man of faith, whom God allowed to be born into this world in order that through his life, God's purposes would be fulfilled. Samson's parents were told by God through an Angel that he would be born, that he would be born for the purpose of beginning to deliver His people from the bondage of being under the Philistines, and they were given specific instructions as to how to raise him for the Lord.

Samson was a man of faith, but it was through his weakness and tendency to live for himself that he came to understand the magnitude of the grace of God. We will see that as we recount his life today from the book of Judges.

Date - From 1425 to 1120 BC Approximately
Theme - 7 cycles of idolatry, oppression, repentance, and deliverance during the first 300 years in the land of Canaan
Types and Shadows - In Judges Jesus is the great judge and deliverer of His people


Grace:Unmerited Favor

When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage.

When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize.

When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award.

But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award—yet receives such a gift anyway—that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.


Grace: God's Riches At Christ's Expense

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.


Faith unites us to the Promises and Purposes of God.

After being visited by the angel of the Lord, and after being given specific instructions as to the raising of their son, the bible says this in the last verses of chapter 13..

KJV Judges 13:24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.
KJV Judges 13:25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

KJV Judges 14:1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

In our day of the New Testament, it is difficult for us to understand this place as Samson went directly against his parents, but it was the leading of the Lord. Perhaps it is good to remember the saying of "The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you." to help us understand what is going on here. The inclinations of Samson are used by the Lord to "bring an occasion" against the Philistines, the very ones whom Samson would begin to pester on his way to begin to deliver his people from.

On three occasions, the "Spirit of the Lord" came upon Samson. Here they are:

14:6 And 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.

14:9 And 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.

KJV Judges 15:14 And 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.

God was moving his plan forward to use Samson, things were heating up between Samson and the Philistines which eventually would lead to Samson being in prison grinding for the Philistines.
God used the weakness of Samson to accomplish His purpose in the life of Samson. So after all is said and done, we find Samson grinding in the mill having had his eyes put out......As he went round and round, what was he thinking? Had his parents told him that he would be a deliverer? As he thought of his mother, and how they had warned him not to marry the woman from Philistia, who turned against him, what was he thinking? Many thoughts of disappointment in himself would most likely have filled his mind and heart as he went round and round.....round and round, who knows how long it was, for it could have been months.....but....but God was working by His grace, for His purposes will always be fulfilled, in His time and in His way. Please check out and consider the huge significance of this little verse hidden in the story. seeminglly buried in between the important verses.....

ESV Judges 16:21 And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison.
ESV Judges 16:22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
ESV Judges 16:23 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."
KJV Judges 16:24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.

In between all that was going wrong, God was working by his grace. Perhaps Samson was sweating, and as he went around and around, he wiped the sweat off of his head, and suddenly he felt some hair growing. We cannot be sure what really happened, for if the Philistines would have been worried about his hair growing back, they would have cut it everyday. Or perhaps Samson had a hood on his head. We just do not know. But we do know this that God was working to bring about his purposes and He extended grace to Samson and sign of it was that his hair began to grow back. This is kind of like a story that we read in which there are a couple of plots which switch back and forth. As the Philistine Lord and their subjects were rejoicing that their god had delivered their enemy into their hands, the Most High God was working quietly behind the scenes to accomplish His purposes through His weak and sinful vessel, Samson.

In the exhuberance, they called for Samson to make sport for them, again according to God's plan as He uses sinful men like pawns to accomplish His purposes. They bring Samson out and place him just where God wants Samson to be. By now faith has reconnected Samson to the promises and purposes of God, and he ask the lad to place him between the pillars so that he could lean upon them. The house was filled, with 3000 on the roof to watch the spectacle of their humbled prisoner making sport. For the Philistines, life could not be better, their enemy was serving them, they were having a wonderful party, and all because their god had delivered Samson to them. They must have been thinking; "Life is good, let us drink and be merry."

But Samson, having tasted of the wonderful grace of God and now reunited to God's promises and purposes by faith, prayed and said:

"O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes".

Samson then did what he had been born for in the purposes of God, for now he used his strength one last time, to serve the Lord.

ESV Judges 16:29 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.
ESV Judges 16:30 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.
ESV Judges 16:31 Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.

O how I pray that you have been blessed by this story of the man of faith, Samson, who for the most of his life probably thought that he was not being used by God, but was living for himself. We do not know of course what he thought, but we do know that God used the weaknesses of Samson to accomplish His purpose in the life of Samson. Let us remember what God told the parents of Samson:

KJV Judges 13:5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

It was a rocky road that let Samson to the place that he needed to be in order to accomplish the purpose of the Lord concerning his call to begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. For some of us, we may struggle even knowing what God is leading us to do, it may seem like we are serving ourselves in many ways, but behind all of that God is working his deliverance plan. It may be in our home, it may be in our church, it may be in our work place, it may be in our community, it may be in our church federation and so forth.

Through weakness that we struggle with, perhaps a doorway is being opened which will provide an opportunity to bring deliverance to someone else that we come in contact with. Samson like us most likely at times was sick of himself as he considered his weakness of the flesh and at times surely felt like giving up. But God never gave up on him just like he never gives up on you or me. Through his weakness, Samson came to know his greatest strength and therefore in the end the grace of God was sufficient for his weakness. For in strength is made perfect in weakness, as Apostle Paul wrote in one of his letter to Corinth, for he knew that through that the power of Christ would rest upon him.

KJV 2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

"The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you."

Dear friend, be of good cheer today, for when we are weak, then we are strong, for it is then that the power of Christ rest upon us.

May the Holy Spirit illuminate your mind and heart and bring this message into your soul in a way that you will be reminded and refreshed in the abundant grace of God through Christ Jesus. And my you rejoice in your weakness, knowing that through weakness in ourselves the power of Christ rests upon us.

In His grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 13 Jul 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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