Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

                                                            22 February 2006

 Stupid is as Stupid Does
  Judges 16:1-16:31

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asked an assistant to prepare an analysis on a special assignment.

The assistant worked night and day.

An hour after he gave it to Kissinger, he got it back.

There was a note attached that said “redo it.”

The assistant stayed up all night redoing the report.

Again he submitted the report, but again Kissinger asked him to redo it again.

After redoing the report three times, the frustrated assistant asked to see Kissinger.

He pleaded his case to Kissinger; he told him that he was tired of working on the report, and said, “Besides, I’ve done the best I can do.”

Kissinger replied, “In that case, I’ll read it now.

The lesson today is about one of the best known men in the Bible.

Samson was the most gifted, powerful, and feared judge that Israel ever had, but he failed to give his very best to God; he squandered much of what he had been given and only redeemed himself at the very last minute.

The last war that took place during the era of the Judges was an ongoing war with the Philistines.

Time and again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years, which was the longest duration of suffering in the land, before Samson appeared on the scene.

What does God expect His servants to do with all that He has given them?

All the talents, gifts, and opportunities?

God expects His servants to live life with dignity and decency.

Judges 16:1-4says that "One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her.  The people of Gaza were told, "Samson is here!" So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, "At dawn we’ll kill him." But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron. Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.”

1988 was a disaster waiting to happen for Christians, especially in this country.

Two of the biggest TV evangelists - Jimmy Baker and Jimmy Swaggart - had a very ugly, public fallout that reverberated till today.

They were Christianity’s media darlings, biggest fundraisers, and the most charismatic, powerful, and visible stars.

First, Jim Bakker made a stunning announcement that he was stepping down as head of PTL and Heritage USA in anticipation of a newspaper’s revelation of an affair Bakker had with a church secretary.

America’s first televangelist paid some $265,000 to cover up the affair.

Later he was convicted of misspending millions of his follower’s dollars.

Rival preacher Jimmy Swaggart called the Bakker scandal a cancer.

Next to fall was Jimmy Swaggart, the Pentecostal preacher who preached to 7,000 weekly in his congregation.

A short three months later, Swaggart was photographed entering and leaving a New Orleans motel where, it was later divulged, he had hired a prostitute to pose nude for him.

The woman who later posed for Penthouse magazine said of Swaggart, “He was "kind of perverted...I wouldn’t want him around my children."

Two years later Swaggart was stopped by the police in California, again with a prostitute in his car.

The Chinese have a saying, “A hero has difficulty overcoming a woman’s beauty.”

Samson had no problem resisting power, fame or money, but he let sex, lust, and temptation ruin him.

He lived a life of self-indulgence, covitness, and pleasure.

In private and when he went out in public, he was promiscuous, vulgar, and depraved.

He was the master of men but the slave of women.

He was a savage with Philistine men but a pussy cat with their women.

He had strong physical strength but fatal moral weaknesses.

Samson’s steps took him to sleazy places, dirty beds, and narrow, crooked, and run-down streets, where a fast buck would buy him a cheap thrill and a night’s rest.

Even worse than that, he had no sense of decency, guilt or shame.

He did not even wear a hat, a wig, or a cloak to conceal his identity or cover his tracks.

He did not know, wonder, or care if others knew what he was doing.

Discretion, good manners, and secrecy did not cross his mind and were not his concern.

He was a man of low morals, bad taste, and poor choices.

And he had a ravenous fondness for Philistine ladies.

His dead wife was a Philistine.

One day he visited a prostitute in the Philistine city of Gaza, and he fell in love with Delilah who was probably a Philistine.

Samson tested the waters of morality, blurred the lines of goodness, and cut corners in integrity.

He loved to live his life on the edge with women, and to throw caution to the wind with sex, and to walk on the wild side of vice.

Even when he was hurt it didn’t mean a thing to him, because he expected to have nine or more lives.

Don’t be like Sampson, live a life of obedience and discretion.

I’ll tell you some more of the story.

Then she said to him, "How can you say, ’I love you, When you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength." With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.  So he told her everything. "No razor has ever been used on my head," he said, "because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man." When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, "Come back once more; he has told me everything." So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I’ll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him.  Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison.”

I am among the minority who had little interest in the original Star Wars movie, but I do have a liking for the sequel story of the man called Anakin Skywalker in Episode I and II.

Anakin, who was later involved with the sinister Darth Vader, was a cute, helpful, and giving 9-year-old boy in Episode I.

In Episode II, he appears as a twenty year-old man who was skillful, gifted, and a daredevil Jedi apprentice who considered his mentor’s instructions overbearing, therefore he sidestepped the rule that forbids romance for Jedi Knights.

In one defining moment, when Anakin and his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, were chasing an assassin in a space ship at night, Anakin sped dangerously, with no regard for the crowd or his own safety and chased the suspect through the crowded streets and airspace.

No turns, speed, or altitude were off limits for Anakin.

Just as they had lost the assassin’s ship, Anakin threw himself overboard, glided his body through the air and air-traffic, and landed his body perfectly on the suspect’s space ship.

Obi-Wan Kenobi could only mutter, “I hate it when he does that!?

In another incident, Anakin massacred a whole village, including women and children, to avenge his mother’s death at the hands of intruders.

The writer for the movie is a man by the name of Lucas.

He explained to Time magazine why Anakin turned into the evil Darth Vader.

He said, “He turns into Darth Vader because he gets attached to things. He can’t let go of his mother; he can’t let go of his girlfriend. He can’t let go of things. It makes you greedy. And when you’re greedy, you are on the path to the dark side, because you fear you’re going to lose things, and that you’re not going to have the power you need."

Samson’s passion, aggression, and lack of restraint were getting him into deep trouble.

He was the Philistine’s number one public enemy, but he frequently ventured into enemy territory in utter disregard of the many ambushes set up there.

Last-minute escapes, no-holds barred fights, and dog-eat-dog reactions were routine.

He did not abide by the rules, follow a routine, or listen to any restrictions.

He toyed with dead bodies, gave hair tips to Delilah, and turned his back on his religious heritage, responsibilities, and disciplines.

Samson was a high roller in life who not only failed to control his hormones but also failed to discipline his muscles.

Nothing was sacred to him.

He did not uphold the discipline of godliness or the exercise of goodness, and his life was a total mess.

He ultimately abandoned, violated, and betrayed God’s trust in him.

Samson’s life was also a big, fat lie.

In the passage I read to you there are more references to lies than any passage in the Old Testament.

He made bets, misled people, and misrepresented facts.

Samson and Delilah played a cat and mouse, fact or fiction, truth or dare, all or nothing game back and forth.

He was so smitten, infatuated and lovesick, that he could not see or think or act straight.

It did not occur to him that their love was one-way, that Delilah was double-crossing him for eleven hundred pieces of silver.

He was so undisciplined that the Philistines were able to stake out the house, occupy the next room, and even chop off his hair without him knowing it.

Sadly, Samson didn’t even feel a breeze or a coolness or the lightness of his head.

He loved and hated Delilah’s shy whispers—“Tell me now” and “Tell me.”

And her direct accusations— “You lied to me!” and “You have made a fool of me.”

And her nagging questions, “How can you say, ‘I love you”’ or “How can you tell me you love me?”

Samson told Delilah everything that was in his heart.

The phrase “all his heart” occurs three times in verses 17 and 18, demonstrating an alarming condemnation of Samson’s betrayal of what God had entrusted him with.

It was a naked moment.

He was exposed.

The Lord’s strength had left him.

Samson walked the path of danger, followed the way of fools, and the course of destruction and as a result became a slave, an entertainer, and a clown.

Don’t be like Sampson, live your life with purpose and self-control.

Now for the rest of the story.

But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, "Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands." When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, "Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain." While they were in high spirits, they shouted, "Bring out Samson to entertain us." So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, "Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them." Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the LORD, "O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes." Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.  Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years.

I don’t know if you like basketball or not, but I want to tell you about NBA superstar Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers.

He is the team’s franchise player, the number one pick in the draft, a talented scorer who won many individual awards.

In the 2000-2001 season he won the MVP award, his coach Larry Brown won the coach of the year, and the team stormed to the NBA Finals, only to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The following season, he couldn’t take the team past the first round when they lost to Boston.

The coach and management talked publicly about trading him.

But why trade your best player and risk becoming a mediocre team?

Because he was offended by all the talk, Iverson wouldn’t practice.

Coach Brown said: “My problems with Allen have been the same for six years.” 

"I love him, his competitiveness. The issues are things he has control over, and he’ll have a problem with me if he doesn’t take care of it. He has to be at practice. He has to set an example. He knows that if he’s willing to do that, he’ll be a Sixer for life.”

Iverson did not get it.

He defended himself, “I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re in here talking about practice. Not a game; we’re talking about practice. How silly is that? I know I’m supposed to be there. I know I’m supposed to lead by example. I know that. I know it’s important, but we’re talking about practice. ... How can I make my teammates better by practicing? They are supposed to be used to playing with me anyway. So my game is going to deteriorate if I don’t practice with those guys?"

Samson was kind of like Iverson; He was a talented but troubled man who had no game plan on how to use the talents, gifts and opportunities God had given him.

Though he did accomplish a lot, much of his success was a reaction to the aggravation others caused him, and a testimony to the Lord’s grace.

He got the wrong idea about his destiny since he believed that all his life he would have a silver spoon in the mouth.

His talents and gifts were used unpredictably, erratically, and distastefully.

He failed to live up to his potential, to uphold the Nazarite vow, and to fulfill the hope of his parents.

In fact, he was a parent and a parent in-law’s worst nightmare.

His parents grieved and his wife died.

He did not need an army to fight with him or want his parents to tell him what to do.

Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Samson’s kamikaze death with the Philistines was not a glorious one.

Any kind of death in association with their enemies was unacceptable to the Israelites, and burial with them was absolutely unthinkable.

Just like the brave men of Jabesh-gilead who braved capture to bring home the dead body of Saul who died at the hands of the Philisitines, Samson’s brothers and his father’s family did the same.

Contrary to what he said in his prayer before dying, God did not forget Samson.

Samson was the one who forgot that God was with him during his imprisonment, affliction and humiliation.

His hair began to grow again after it had been shaved.

God’s grace also provided for the possibility that the Philistines would forget, misjudge or overlook Samson’s secret—he was getting stronger.

Talent, ability and confidence did not invite trouble, but pride, arrogance, and self-satisfaction did.

The text painstakingly pointed out that Samson was an ordinary man in God’s eyes and that his strength was exceptional, but not great, not the great strength that his enemies or Delilah had made him out to have.

From his prayer, it seems that even Samson knew it, but Delilah’s dangerous seduction appealed to his ego and pride.

She attributed to Him the phrase “great strength” that belonged only to God.

Samson’s reign, unlike Deborah’s and Gideon’s, did not bring peace to the land.

Samson thought he had made a fool of Delilah three times but he really made a fool of himself many times.

As Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”


What is your life like?

Does it include lies and open deceit?

Or are you in better spiritual shape than before you were saved?

Do not think you are alright.

The Chinese say, “There is always a higher mountain.”

The Bible warns those who think they are standing firm to be careful that they don’t fall (1 Cor 10:12).

For God’s children, repentance is never too early or too late and better late than never.



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