High Cost of Low Living
Biblical Passage: Judges 16: 4-31
Intro: When Benjamin Franklin was seven years old, a visitor gave him some small amount of money. Later, seeing another boy playing with a whistle, young Benjamin gave the boy all his money for it. He played the whistle all over the house, enjoying it until he discovered that he had given four times as much as the whistle was worth. Instantly, the whistle lost its charm. As he grew older, Franklin generalized this principle. When he saw a man neglecting his family or business for political popularity, or a miser giving up a friendship for the sake of accumulating wealth, he would say, ‘He pays too much for his whistle.”
The above story has an excellent lesson in it: Too often we pay too great a price for something that looks so good and promises so much. Fish are hooked because they are attracted to something that looks like food and would make a good meal only to become food themselves. Do not be fooled, the world offers you whistles that are not worth the price.
In our text, we are given the tragic end of a man who “paid too much for his whistle.” Samson lost his power, his position and his testimony because he valued the sin in his life more than he valued the God of his life. I would like for us to take a closer look at the life of this man and see where he failed and how we can avoid the same kind of trouble in our lives. That will may not end up paying too much for a whistle that was never worth it, after all.
A. THE POTENTIAL OF SAMSON’S LIFE
- He Was Extraordinary In His Advent– (Judges 13:2-7, 24-25) – The birth of Samson was announced by a visit from the Lord, Himself. Just for the record, the child of God has had a miraculous “new” birth – 1 Pet. 1:23; John 3:3, 7; 1 John 3:1-3.
- He Was Extraordinary In His Accomplishments– Samson is remembered as the strong man of the Bible. Strongest per se!
- His Energies– He killed a lion – 14:5-6; He performed many great feats of strength – 15:4-7; 16:3.
- His Enemies– Samson was always battling the Philistines, to prevent them from having control of Israel. He killed 30 Philistines one time, 14:19. Another time he killed 1,000 with the jawbone of a donkey, 15:13-17.
- His Evidences– Samson proved he was a man of God by the power of the Spirit that rested on him, 13:25; 14:19; 15:14. He enjoyed miracles from the hand of God – 15:18-19. He was a servant of the Lord’s for many years – 15:20.
(Note: Just like Samson, the child of God lives an extraordinary life. Redeemed from sin by the grace of God, indwelt by the Spirit of God, privileged to hold and read the Word of God and able to fellowship with God through prayer and the sacraments. Our lives are marked by many victories and many advantages. Things which we do so often that we have come to take them for granted, like prayer, service to the Lord, witnessing, attending Mass, etc, all prove that we are different and that we have a God-given potential to achieve great things through Him! We just move from victory to victory as His children – 1 Cor. 15:57.)
B. THE PROBLEMS OF SAMSON’S LIFE
(ll. As great as Samson’s strength and potential might have been, he was a man faced with many spiritual problems. These spiritual weaknesses overrode his physical power to make him the weakest strongman in biblical history.)
- He Faced Powerful Adversaries– Judges 14:1-7 – Samson may have battled the Philistines for over 20 years, but his greatest enemy was Samson! His own flesh and his fleshly appetites proved to be his undoing. Instead of surrendering body, soul and spirit to the will of the Lord, he allowed his flesh to control his life and he paid a high price. (Note: You and I can fuss about the devil, or about this enemy or that enemy, but the greatest enemy we all face is our own selves! As one man said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!” It’s true, but every problem we face with temptation and sin in our lives, does not come from an external source, it originates within, James 1:14-15. That is a hard thing to swallow, but it is still true! It isn’t the devil out to get you, it is you out to get yourself! Folks, your flesh is never going to get any better – Eph. 4:22. However, we are not to give in to it, we are to fight it every moment of every day – 1 Cor. 9:27.)
- He Faced Powerful Attractions– Judges 14:8-10 – Samson was a Nazarite, Judges 13:7; Num. 6:1-8. His was to be a life dedicated totally to the Lord. Yet, he lived for himself, taking his vows for granted. He was deceitful, he was lustful, he was proud and arrogant. (Note: Of course, that could describe any of us! The Old Testament uses three words to describe our sins, Psa. 32:1-2; 5. There is the word sins – which refers to our shortcomings in the sight of God., It means “to miss the mark“. Then there is the word transgressions. This word means “to step over a boundary“. It refers to intentionally breaking the Laws and commandments of the Lord. Another word is iniquity. This word means “bent or crooked“. It refers to the bent within human nature toward evil! There is a natural tendency within each of us to seek the lowest levels of life. (What Jacob said to Reuben – Gen. 49:4 – Like water always seeks the lowest level, a man acting according to his flesh will always seek the lowest levels of living!)
- He Faced Powerful Addictions– Judges 16:1-2; 4-20 – Samson, by the end of his career, seems to be living a total lifestyle of sin. He has reached a place where he treats his testimony like a trinket and his reputation like rubbish, 16:1-18! (Note: Your testimony is the most valuable thing you possess in this world! Guard it with your life. If you ever allow your testimony to become tarnished, you will never be able to restore it to where it was in the eyes of those who saw you fail! God will forgive the repentant sinner, but men will remember it to their dying day! Same reason why the Church frowns at scandals)
C. THE PRODUCT OF SAMSON’S LIFE
(Ill. Because of his sinfulness and his failure to control his fleshly desires and impulses, Samson paid a terrific price.)
- The Losses In His Life– The context of his sins with Delilah. As a result of his sins, he suffered some pretty significant losses.
- He Lost His Vision– 16:21 – (Blind) – Samson lost his physical sight. When a child of God lives his or her life under the control of the flesh, they too will lose their eyesight. They may keep their physical vision, but they will lose the spiritual. They will lose their vision of the Lord, His Word, His house, His Spirit etc.
- He Lost His Vitality– 16:20-21 – (Bind) – Samson lost his physical strength when he disclosed the secret of that strength. For the believer in our day, the danger of losing one’s spiritual power is great. Imagine not being able to get a hold of the Lord for your needs or the needs of others. Imagine not having the peace of God. Imagine being bound down by sin so that you cannot worship, cannot experience God, cannot enjoy Him, His Word or His people. Low living carries with it the high price of sapping your spiritual strength and leaving you weak before the Lord!)
- He Lost His Victory– 16:21 – (Grind) – Samson is made to do the work of grinding corn. This was women’s work and was given to him to humiliate him and is an indication of how weak he had become! Can you see the great man of God grinding corn for the Philistines? He has lost his power and he has lost his victory. He is a pitiful spectacle! Nothing is anymore sad than a believer who is out of fellowship with the Lord Jesus! They lack joy and peace. They are no happy. They are defeated, discouraged and demoralized. Sin will literally grind you to powder!
- The Lessons From Samson’s Life– For all of the pain this man experienced, there are some great lessons that we can take away from the life of Samson.
- A Lesson About Ridicule– Samson is ridiculed by the enemies of God! If we must endure persecution and ridicule, let us do so only for the cause of Jesus and not because of foolish and sinful living – 1 Pet. 4:12-17; Matt. 5:11-12.) (Note: Don’t give Satan the pleasure of mocking a child of God!)
- A Lesson About Repentance– Before he died, Samson made things right with the Lord. However, he did it when it was too late to salvage much of anything for the glory of God. You and I need not make the same mistake! If we recognize the presence of evil in our lives, the time to deal with it is now, 1 John 1:9; Pro. 28:13, before we are forced to pay the ultimate price for our sins. Repentance can take place at any time!
- A Lesson About Restoration– Samson received his power back from the Lord. Whatever we may lose to sin, in a spiritual sense, the Lord can and will restore if we will repent. However, we need to know that we will never gain back everything we lose in the eyes of men! But, thank God, He can cleanse us and He can use us for His glory once more – He used Simon Peter even after his denial of Christ!
Conc: Friend, please do not pay the high cost of low living! Dare to be different. If things in your life are not where they need to be today, you can come before the Lord and find the help and forgiveness you need. Just like the Prodigal Son found a loving, forgiving father back home, you will find a heavenly Father who loves you and is ready to forgive you and restore you to the place you ought to be.
GOD BLESS YOU