Samson Part 3
Look further why it is that Samson managed to get himself into such trouble.
Part of the leadership team of Spring Harvest – spent 18 months of his life in a Butlins chalet. Because of doing that, he has a flat outside Polburgh in Sussex.
Was in a train and did not have a ticket, the ticket collector was not having a good day, indeed was not having a good decade “Tickets! Tickets!”
Had a couple of badges in his lapel, one was a fish and one was a dove.
“Are you a Christian?”
“Do you get to a Church round here?” “Yes”
“How’s it going, is it going well?” “It’s not good”
“Why is it not going well, I have been going to a conference, and I am more advanced than the rest of the Church, and they can’t keep up with me.”
“How do you come more advanced? I attend this conference, I am now more advanced, it is called Spring Harvest.
“I do a bit of work with Spring Harvest,”
“Oh well, if you know, Jeff Lucas is at the next station,
“Well that’s me, it’s on the credit card,
“no you’re not,”
And off he went, more advanced.
Samson becomes proud, “I am the servant of the Lord”
Samson only ever prays two prayers – one for water, and one for strength in fighting.
He is somewhat presumptuous.
He caused a fight at the reception, called his wife a heifer, stormed out, and then shows up a year later with the gift of a goat, and expects a romantic evening.
And this time he has another fight, and things are ready to go again.
So the trinity of pride, arrogance and disappointment cause great harm before he ever meets Delilah.
Disappointment with “our own” can be devastating
Python-esque: at last 3,000 men are rising up, at last the strength of Israel has showed itself, and they are going to attack the Philistines, and they are going to arrest Samson.
They are 3,000 of them, they are obviously expecting a bit of resitance
Verse 12 “Tell me that you won’t kill me yourselves”
One of the saddest verses in the whole narrative.
He is hopeless, and when he is hopeless, his holiness is up for negotiation.
We who are hopeful can be devastated when Church lets us down.
There is plenty that we can irritated with sometimes at Church
If you are in Church for 6 months and noone has irritated you yet, then you are probably dead.
The Bible’s analysis of human behaviour is this, “we are sheep”, we are thick. We might go to seaworld, but we are never going to sheep world are we.
We are human beings and we can do some pretty stupid things.
Some real transcripts in court rooms
“She has three children right?”
“How many of them were boys?”
“Were there any girls
“You are going to have to kill you because you are going to identify me?”
“Did he kill you?”
Or autopsy questions it is possible that he could have been practicing law somewhere…. *** Get from internet ***
Next time these things happen in Church, just say “Sheep, sheep”
We are a consumer culture,
We used to be able to offer coffee.
Now we need a PhD in caffeine to ask for coffee.
But we are consumers, and we want things
“We want to go to the non-clapping section.”
Then you ask for that section, non-capping, non-enjoying, non-flag waving,
That section is already full
Sometimes on platforms and people say the weirdest and most hurtful things
A man saw a mark on your head,
I believe it might be the mark of the beast.
And then another place where Jesus was laughing
And then in Plockton, and a message with mime,
And this weird
And this is God delighting in you
And you have been hurt
And Jesus says you are doing this
The Church is a place where we go to be angry,
And take our stand and can do no other on the wildest things.
The word of the Lord is “Lighten up”
Be a pillar of the Church and not in the way that a pillar gets in the way and blocks the way
Living for vengeance is exhausting
An episode when he was desperate to kill the mice that been in his garage.
Can you imagine catching 300 foxes and then an extended time of fox tail braiding.
Every piece of know genius that Samson has learned in the Israeli scouts, and then set torches in their tails before sending them in the crops.
But bitterness is hard work, and it weighs you down.
Chris the doctor and his friend looks after him,
And shows no respect,
He makes rude comments, you need an X-Ray, there’s a doorway down the left, and you go down there and you have an X-Ray. You don’t really listen to what the person is saying, and this lead apron is there
What is the apron there for
“It is there for the protection of the gonads”
“What would they be?”
Couldn’t think what they were, a North American tribe,
We bring peace.
And I thought she said “Put these round your neck?
And tied the largest knot
The woman came back in, took one look and she just said
And we have these loads round your neck, and God says “noooo”
And you have a go at that invisible person, chuntering,
Really yelling at this person after Church,
Really giving off and came to a set of traffic lights,
And he turned round and there is this chap looking at him
And pretended he had handsfree phone
And pressed an imaginary button,
And switched the hazards on.
Innocent people get hurt in all this,
He attacks them viciously,
We have come to do to him what he has done to this
And Samson says “I did to them what they did to me”
The escalation of conflict, because bitterness has not be resolved
“Everyone says forgiveness is a nice idea, until they have something to forgive” CS Lewis.
We look at people who are forgiven,
And the like of Nelson Mandela, went to Verwoerd’s home
And the Green’s (Denise Green) said about Alderhey hospital, Alan Milburn said “wh happened is unforgiveable” and Denise Green said “What has been done is out of my control, and what happens now in my control.”
In Shoah, “If you could lick my heart, it would poison you”
We have to be careful about forgiveness, just forgive right now,
That is particularly difficult for women being told what to do,
Some times we just need to come to God and I have no desire to forgive,
But God will you take me in a direction,
Will you start to tell how to forgive.
People caught up in “premature forgiveness” because they were made to say a mantra for which they were not ready.
We have to avoid disappointment in the house of our friends
We have to be willing to go that direction
“Forgiveness is a journey, today you can forgive, and tomorrow you can feel pain all again”
“I distinctly remember forgetting it” – there is a choosing in forgiveness.
God wants us to go in a forgiveness direction,
Lest we be trundling around with 25lbs of lead around our necks.
Pride Really Does Come Before A Fall
Judges 15:16 (I think the jawbone of Samson”
Conflict brought out the truth of what was in her heart.
Got a phonecall from our son.
Came to car crash,
He started shouting.
First of all he sings a song in celebration of himself,
And he sings a song about jawbones of asses, and there is only one person conspicuous by their absence.
Then he names the place Jawbone hill,
Then he uses language reminiscent of Moses “The servant of the Lord”
He is so self-deceived in his arrogance.
When was the last time he used this phrase “uncircumcised” when he as puffed up and arrogant (even though he ignored this term when choosing his wife)
Pride and arrogance and bitterness are really embarrassing.
Jeff Lucas, at Spring Harvest, a thing happened
Had spoken one night in the big top, and it had gone well,
And the next morning went to the place where people were buying tapes
And they were signing books, and folk were pointing and they could feel pride begin to hijack soul, he had his pen ready to sign books
And he was walking along
God said one sentence “Famous in Butlins for a day are we?”
Didn’t want to tell that story, wanted to hide that story,
We all struggle with the same things.
There will come a day when this sad man called Samson, who never ever knew anyone very much, he tells his secret, because we all want to be known,
It was not just about lust, and temptation, and the faultlines of pride and bitterness were already in place,
The other thing that happened on that train
The advanced Christian wandered on down through the train,
Wondered if he will ever meet him again,
As he walked on down, an thinking about advanced Christian,
At the next station, there was a young family,
And he is listening in,
And these people are thinking,
And they had not much, and they had an Eastern European accent, and the baby started to sing the lullaby,
Didn’t recognise the words, but knew the tune,
And the burden of the heart
At the foot of the cross
Wanted to communicate to her that we were part of the same family
So looked at her and smiled her crooked smile,
Smiled and nodded back,
And as the train trundled in through the smoke stacks,
I want to stay here,
I don’t want to be an advanced Christian
Just keep me close to the cross,
The cross speaks to us of outrageous grace that forgives
Why would be cling to bitterness when we stand in the shadow
At the cross, at the cross when we first saw the light.
My prayer for you,
Your prayer for me
It isn’t about ministering or writing or platforms,
Pray for me “Jesus keep us near the cross”
A man of alive is a man who stays close to the instrument of death
And realises it is the place of resurrection power