True Freedom: What Does the Bible Say About Freedom?

The Story of Samson

I want to talk to us about and share the story of Samson. I think this is good for us to hear the stories of some of the heroes of our faith but then look back and realize, wow, God actually used them and him. I would say while Samson was this guy who exhibited great strength, he was also possibly one of the morally dumbest human beings in the history of the planet. While he did some amazing things for God, he was not the sharpest tack in the drawer. You'll see why as you go into the story.

The story of Samson is actually found in Judges 13-16. When you hear that Samson was a judge, I don't want you to picture Samson as like courtroom judge. It's more of a tribal leader kind of a thing. He was the protector of the people. We want to picture in our head somebody who was the person they all ran to when trouble hit. The person like the chief of that time, of that tribe, of that place. This was before the kings and before those things had taken place.

Samson had parents, and they mentioned Manoah and his wife. They don't give mom a name. They were unable to have children until the angel of the Lord appeared to them. The angel said, "You're going to have a son." He said, "I want you to raise your son as a Nazarite from birth." Now, that doesn't mean a whole lot to us necessarily, but the biblical origin of a Nazarite and the Nazarite vow can be traced back to Numbers 6. You can go to chapter 6, verses 1 through 21, and it gives all kinds of specific instructions for what it meant to be a Nazarite.

They were to dedicate themselves, holy to God. They had a high level of purity and separation from worldly influences that they were supposed to uphold. It was voluntary. It was not something that you were commanded by a teacher or a leader or a priest to do. The key components of the Nazarite vow were that he had to refrain, or she had to refrain from drinking wine or any alcoholic beverages, had to avoid any form of contact with dead bodies, and had to make sure that they did not cut their hair at all in any way, shape, or form during the vow.

The Most Unlikely Hero

Now, again, here's the thing that trips me out when I read the story Samson. He was an Nazarite from birth. He was given to do all of these things. He was supposed to be this very special guy, this very special scenario, this very special person set apart. Every time I'd see some of the stories about Samson, I see that he compromised something in some way in every part of his life. He was an Israelite. Israelites, very clearly, were not supposed to marry date, engage in anything outside of the children of Israel. Yet he kept finding his way into bed with Philistine women, and not just individual women, but it sounds like he was out there. You know what I mean.
Then on top of it, he's reaching in and eating honey out of a dead carcass. He's reaching and grabbing a jawbone from a dead animal. He's breaking his Nazarite vow on a regular basis. Yet somehow God still chose to use him.

This week on our pack trip, we all talked about people that we're praying for, people that were asking God to rescue their hearts, to bring them home to Him. One of the things that we talked about was my totally undeniable and unquenchable belief that God is going to do what God is going to do with whom He's going to do it in His timing, in His way, in His work, in His power.

There's nothing that I can do more than declare His goodness, His faithfulness, and His mercy, and shine the light, introducing people to Jesus as often as I can so that they can find a home in Him.

One of the things that we talked about was people who are just, it seems like they're right there, but there's something covering their eyes that they can't see the truth. We pray and we say, "God, would you do this?" I said, guys, I'm preaching on Samson on Sunday, the most unlikely hero. He did everything wrong, and yet God still used him.

I think there's some of our friends that are living in darkness that God is going to unveil their eyes and open their hearts and change their lives and use them for His glory in unique ways, but it's going to be on His schedule, in His time, and in His way.

Purpose is a gift from God

I want to know what the story of Samson has to say to us about living in freedom and truth.

The first one that I need to remind us of and as a church we need to grab hold of is that purpose is a gift from God.

From his very birth, Samson was told, you're a gift and a blessing to this nation. You're going to be set apart, different from everybody else and I'm going to empower your life. Each and every one of us has something that God has emboldened, empowered us, or gifted us to do. 

That purpose in a country like this where you can freely worship, you can freely praise, you can freely do anything you like to do in general needs to be revealed because if anyone has the opportunity to fulfill their purpose is us as God's people in this nation.

It says that Samson, in all that he did, had regular reminders of God's design for his life. Let me tell you, if you want to experience true freedom, not just national rockets' red glare freedom, begin by embracing the purpose that God has given you. If you want to know what it really truly looks like to be free, ask God, what have you given me to do?

If you want to know true freedom, live into the purpose that God has put into your heart.

Temptation and compromise is never safe.

Secondly, the road to temptation and compromise is never safe. Let me just tell you that. Temptation always looks good, but it's bad for you. Anytime you compromise, you may get away with it for a moment, but it will always come back to get you. If you read the story of Samson, you can see the things that he knew to be true, and yet he tried this and it didn't hurt him. He didn't try this and it didn't hurt him. He tried this and it didn't hurt him.

 We all find these roads of temptation. All of these little compromises: well, a little won't hurt there, a little won't hurt there. I know I'm not supposed to get drunk, but it's a special holiday. I know I'm not supposed to hang out with these people, I know it's not a good idea to DM that person right now in this place, but it's a special day. It's a special time.

We compromise little things and I don't think God's sitting up there trying to throw lightning bolts to kill people when they do things that are wrong, but it will play out in your life. It is never safe.

Samson's story exists so that we can learn that temptations are there to catch us, to entangle our lives, to hinder our progress toward the freedom God desires from us. They won't keep God from doing what He wants, but by golly, it will take a very long and sometimes tragic road to accomplish His will if you decide to do it a different way.

Temptation and compromise is never safe. 

Selfishness always leads to slavery

Selfishness always leads to slavery. Samson's life, he became a slave. He went from the most powerful guy in the universe. He-Man, if you will, to being someone that was locked up in chains with his eyes gouged out hoping to have an impact in the world one more time. Can we, will we learn from Samson's mistakes? See, selfishness causes a prison to surround you and cut you off from the rest of the world.

In our culture in the United States of America, we have freedoms galore, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and people have decided that their appetites now trump morality. I don't mean Trump by the-- you know what I'm talking about.

We have to understand that just because we're free to do the things that God has given our country and our people freedom to do doesn't mean we have to throw it back in His face and say, "I desire all these things, so why don't you give it all to me pleasure and everything that I desire." In our country, people identify themselves by their appetites, physically, emotionally, sexually. There is only one identification: I am saved by the grace of the one who calls me His own. You are either His or you are not.

Our country has borne the burdens of people mistreating people and we see the history that's played out that it is not good to enslave people, but guess what? We do it to ourselves every single day when we selfishly chase our appetites and willingly take on the shackles of self.

True strength is found in surrender.

True strength is found in surrender.

Here's what I ask. Would you and I learn from Samson today? Would we understand that true freedom is found when we surrender all?
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