Well we’re still in the book of Judges and tonight we finish up the Samson narrative. And the end of the Samson story, Judges chapter 16, is one of the great stories of Judges, certainly, and it’s one of the great, very popular stories of the whole Old Testament. It’s one of those stories that makes it into all the children’s storybook Bibles. And one of the reasons for that is because Samson was so strong. He comes across in 13 to 16 kind of like the original superhero. So far in the past two weeks we’ve seen Samson tear a lion apart with his hands; we’ve seen him reach into the lion’s carcass, into a beehive and pull out the honey with not a care in the world about the bee stings. We’ve seen him – you know, when he comes to choose a weapon he doesn’t go for the sword; he rips out a jawbone from an animal. He catches foxes and he ties their tails together. I didn’t know that was possible, but he did it! And in our passage he rips a city gate down and then later he pulls down an entire temple with his bare hands. And you know that, on top of the fact that his hair is like kryptonite. And so the only conclusion we can draw so far about him, I think it’s got to be that he must have done CrossFit. That’s the one thing we know!
Look, he’s a hero, by definition, because a hero is somebody who saves a people that they’re set out to save. And Samson saves Israel from the Philistines. But in literary terms, Samson is the definition of an anti-hero. An anti-hero, in literary terms, is the opposite in some ways of a conventional savior, of a conventional hero. A conventional hero saves people by following the rules, by being morally upright, by delivering people through doing all the right things. But an anti-hero saves people just like the hero, but gets there in bad ways. You know the anti-hero is usually incredibly selfish, morally bankrupt, and in the end they do indeed do the good thing, they do save the people they’re set out to save, but they get there in all the wrong ways. And some of the most popular anti-heroes of modern fiction are Ironman, Wolverine, James Bond, Scarlet O’Hara, my favorite, Severus Snape, Jack Sparrow, Sherlock Holmes. Hopefully there was a character for everybody somewhere in that list! But these are the anti-heroes of modern fiction.
Samson was a real life anti-hero like many of the judges. He was a womanizer; we see that over and over again in these chapters. He was motivated by revenge; we see that multiple times in these chapters. And yet, he saves Israel, he was anointed by the Spirit, the text repeats throughout, his birth was announced by the angel of the Lord, the Son of God Himself. And when you come to Hebrews 11:32 it says that he is one of the great men of faith. And so he was a man of true faith. How so? We’re back to the same question that we faced with the Jephthah story. And so let’s pray and then we’ll read this famous story together and think about it. Let’s pray.
Lord, we come now and ask for help. We do pray what Stephen prayed earlier – that You would open the eyes of our heart, our spiritual eyes, so that we may hear Your Word and obey Your Word. And we ask for that help by the Spirit in Christ’s name, amen.
We’re going to read Judges 16, verses 4 to 30 tonight. So let’s hear God’s Word:
“After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, ‘Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.’ So Delilah said to Samson, ‘Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.’
Samson said to her, ‘If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.’ Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
Then Delilah said to Samson, ‘Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.’ And he said to her, ‘If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.’ So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
Then Delilah said to Samson, ‘Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.’ And he said to her, ‘If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.’ So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.
And she said to him, ‘How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.’ And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. And he told her all his heart, and said to her, ‘A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.’
When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, ‘Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.’ Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 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. But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
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.’ And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, ‘Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.’ And when their hearts were merry, they said, ‘Call Samson, that he may entertain us.’ So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, ‘Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.’ Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.
Then Samson called to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.’ 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. 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.”
This is the Word of our Lord.
So two things tonight. Samson, as all the judges we’ve seen so far have been, is, we’re told in the New Testament, a type, a shadow of the one Judge, the new Judge that is to come. He’s a type. And as a type, he teaches us, the Samson story teaches us that salvation is about a cosmic war. And then secondly, Hebrews 11 tells us that he’s also an example of faith. And we learn there that he’s an example that his real strength is in his weakness.
Salvation is about Cosmic War
So the first thing Samson teaches us in this passage is that salvation is about cosmic war. So here in the story he loves Delilah, and Delilah is a woman of the Valley of Sorek we’re told. She’s a Philistine woman and the Philistine lords entice her with silver to entice Samson to give his secret away, how he could be defeated. And three times he tells her something not true – fresh cords, new ropes, braid my hair in seven strands and pin it up. And all three of those times it fails. Every time, Delilah betrays him and every time he breaks the chains and is victorious over the Philistines. And then she says over time, “Come on, please, you love me – tell me, tell me, tell me!” And he tells her and he says, “I’m a Nazarite, set apart” – and we’ll come back to this later – “to God. So if you cut my hair, then I will lose my strength.” And so she lays him over her knees in the night and has someone else shave his head while he sleeps.
So he was betrayed for silver pieces, his head was shaved like one condemned and prepared to die, and the Philistines take him and they gouge out his two eyes, the text tells us. He’s made bald and blind and weak and wounded and sent to the prison temporarily, very briefly. And in the prison they treat him like a beast of burden. He is made to, probably in the ancient Near East, grind a circular millstone. So he would have pushed a wooden mill around a rock just like a donkey or some kind of beast would have. And so he’s made to grind the wheat, the grain, and prepare it. And then the lords of the Philistines call him into – and this is important – the temple of Dagon, the principal deity of the Philistines, the principal god. And they do it because they’re preparing a worship service. It says in our text in 22 that they’re going to make a sacrifice. And so they bring Samson in to be part. The language here of “entertain us” in Hebrew connotes the idea of ritual worship dancing. And so it’s likely that they’re bringing Samson in to mock Samson before their god, Dagon, as a form of worship, as a form of ritual before their god.
And so verse 23 is absolutely pivotal to the whole Samson story. The lords of the Philistines, they gather to offer a great sacrifice and they said this, “Our god has given Samson, our enemy, into our hand.” And they praise their god in 24. They said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country who has killed many of us.” In other words, this verse tells us that for the entire Samson narrative it’s all been coming to this one point, and at this one point the author here casts the narrative. In the eyes of the Philistines this has been about God’s man, the anointed one, the one filled with the Spirit, Samson, the man of Yahweh, the man of the Lord, verses Dagon, the god of the Philistines. You see, in the eyes of the Philistines this whole story has been recast to God of the Bible, the God of Israel, verses the principal deity of Philistia, Dagon. And what the Philistines are saying in this moment is, “Look at us now! Dagon has won, Yahweh, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Samson, has lost. He’s been defeated! Dagon is the great god. Dagon is the god above the God of Israel!” See, in other words, what’s happening here is this story is being recast as an issue of cosmic proportions, a cosmic battle between God, the God of the Bible, the God that we know, and this god, this one power, this one principality, this one that the New Testament would call “demon.” The Philistines have named Dagon as being cast in cosmic language, language of a cosmic battle between the true God of the Bible and the god of Philistia.
Now it’s important to note that Dagon, for Philistia, is known as the god of grain and wheat. And so whenever Samson is put into the prison like a beast to walk around in a circle and grind the grain and grind the wheat, he’s being humiliated. It’s being cast as if he’s actually worshipping Dagon, as if he’s the one that’s finishing the produce that Dagon, the god of grain, has provided Philistia. And so the entire time, the savior, the yeshar, the judge, what Judges calls “the redeemer of God,” the anointed one blessed by the Spirit, born of the woman, his birth announced by an angel, he is betrayed with silver, he is shaved, stripped, beaten, his eyes gouged, prepared for sacrificial slaughter, humiliated, and the power of darkness that he stands against thinks in this moment that he has won, that he has defeated Yahweh, that he has defeated the God of the Bible, that darkness has overcome the good, that Samson’s God has been defeated.
You see what’s happening. And then the irony of redemption, the irony of redemption – Samson, God’s chosen savior who is called the deliverer, lifts up his heart in prayer and it says that he stretched out both of his arms, he stretched out both of his arms and he said to the Lord, “Remember me. May I die so that this darkness can be defeated.” Verse 30, “By his death, he was more victorious than by his life.”
Now we have said over and over again, week after week in this series, as we come to the final judge that the judges all are types and shadows of the one Judge that was to come, the one Redeemer, the new covenant Samson. He was betrayed by pieces of silver, He was beaten, stripped, humiliated, and with His arms spread in prayer He said, “Take me in death, Lord, to defeat the powers of darkness!” The Samson story is teaching us that salvation in Jesus Christ means victory over the powers of darkness. What the Samson story is doing is casting salvation in the image of a cosmic battle between the God of the Bible and who the Philistines thought was the strongest god, Dagon. And it’s telling us when Samson is a type, a shadow, a picture of the Christ, the new Samson that was to come, that salvation means that – salvation in Jesus Christ means Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness; that the cross is something about cosmic proportions.
Now this brings us back to the classic question – does it get more important than the question, “What is salvation?” And the answer to that in the New Testament is multiple, it’s manifold. It comes at us all sorts of different ways. What’s the purpose of the cross? All of us, I think, if you’ve grown up in the church you’re very ready to say that the purpose of the cross is for the forgiveness of sins. We talk about this in theology in the language of vicarious satisfaction. Vicarious satisfaction – at the cross, at the cross Christ propitiated; Christ was our propitiation. He turned God’s wrath away from us. He, Romans 3, Christ died in the flesh, He condemned sin in the flesh and when He did that my flesh was condemned. God says I am free of guilt when Jesus Christ died on the cross. The cross is about God’s satisfaction, vicarious satisfaction for us. It’s about the forgiveness of sins. But in the New Testament, the language of the New Testament tells us more, gives us more even than that; it gives us language like the Samson story gave us. It talks about salvation, the cross of Christ, in the language of Christ winning a cosmic battle, winning a cosmic war against all the powers of darkness. Christ came – Samson is telling us this – Christ came to destroy the works of Satan, to build an ultimate kingdom. So He came to overthrow the god of this world – that’s what the Samson story is pointing us to – to dispel the powers of darkness, to put away what Paul calls “the powers, principalities, the ruler of this world, the elemental spirits” are all being cast down in the cross of Christ.
And so we say, “What does the cross mean for us?” It means Christ is our substitute. In Him we are pronounced innocent, guilt free, forgiven, amen! And Christ is also victorious over all the powers of darkness and evil. The ruler of this world has been defeated and cast back in the cross of Christ. And the Samson story is pointing us to that as one of the principle elements of what it means to say we are saved. Satan no longer has a grip on us. Irenaeus, one of the great Church fathers, he put it like this. He said, “At the cross God says the devil cannot be allowed to have any rights over men any longer. He is a robber, a rebel, a tyrant, a usurper, unjustly laying hands on that which does not belong to him. Christ has spoiled him and annihilated death. Christ, the victorious One.”
Just think about some of the verses, even from the Old Testament. Genesis 3:15 – the first great prophecy of the boy that was to come that was to come and win salvation. What does it say? The boy would do what? What did He come to do? He came to “crush the head of the serpent,” that ancient beast. Right? John 12, Jesus, before He goes to the cross – He says it in two sentences; He puts both ideas into two sentences. First he says, “Now,” as He turns His eyes towards Jerusalem, “Now is the time for the world to be judged.” In other words, “In Me, sin is about to be judged forever.” That’s vicarious satisfaction. That’s forgiveness of sins. And then He says, “Now the ruler of this world, the devil, will be thrown out.” That’s Christ the victor over the powers of all darkness. Right?
You see, Jesus Christ at the cross is our substitute and our victor. Theologians have been talking about this for 1,000 or so years in the language, in the Latin of “Christus Victor” – “Christ the Victor” over all the principles of darkness; what Paul calls in confusing language, “the elemental spirits,” over the devil himself. Colossians 1:13, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of God.” At the cross, He delivered us from the domain of darkness. Hebrews 2, “He partook of the flesh that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, the devil.”
Now just to close this point. One of the reasons that ethics, how we live our lives, is so important, is so serious, one of the ways it’s talked about in the New Testament is that Paul casts the Christian life and the way we chose in our day to day lives to live in the language of “Christus Victor,” of going to war against Satan in our daily lives. That’s the way Paul often talks about the way we live our normal life. You know we sang, “O Church Arise” a minute ago and it’s based off Ephesians 6. And this is what it says. “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to”- do what? “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” And then it casts it in the language of war – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers, the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil, even in the heavenly places.” In other words, the New Testament says that for those who have turned to Christ as their substitute, who have rested in the forgiveness of sins from the cross, now participate in Christ the victor over the powers of darkness by witnesses to the one day coming when He will fully and finally dispel all the powers of darkness. You do it in the way you live your life, in the way you get serious about the commands of the New Testament. And so the way we live – it’s so serious – the way we live as Christians is a matter of cosmic significance Paul is saying.
Samson as an Example of Faith
Alright so secondly, two brief points. Not only is this Samson story about the type that he is of Christ, the victor over the powers of darkness, in Samson, Dagon is defeated through Samson’s death, the great irony of redemption, and at the cross, Satan and the powers of darkness are defeated in the irony of Christ stepping into the darkness, but the passage also tells us, Hebrews 11 tells us that we can also look to Samson as an example of faith. And just two brief things to say about that. He shows up in 11:31 and 32, Hebrews 11:31-32 in a lineup of questionable characters; we dealt with Jephthah a few weeks ago. But how can he be – he was motivated by revenge almost this entire story and there are clear moments throughout where he committed great sins against the Lord – how can he be called one of the great heroes of the faith, one of the examples of the faith? And I think the way to understand it is through actually looking at the whole story – don’t worry, we’re not going to go through it all! But one element – and that’s the fact that he was set apart from his birth as a Nazarite.
Now it was announced from the angel of the Lord that he was to be a Nazarite and his mother was told even to follow the rules of the Nazarite vow. A Nazarite is a person, typically a man, who is not a Levite, so who is not born to be a priest and serve at the temple, but by being made holy before God through these rules is made able to serve at the temple in a particular way. So that’s the role of the Nazarite in the Old Testament. And there are three rules to be a Nazarite. It’s a whole life commitment. The first rule of the Nazarite is “Do not drink alcohol.” The second rule of the Nazarite is “Do not touch a dead body.” And the third rule of the Nazarite is “Do not cut your hair.” This is what has set you apart as a non-Levite, semi-priest among the people of Israel. That’s what a Nazarite did.
Now if you look back at the Samson story in chapter 14, one of the first things he does is he touches the carcass of a lion. In chapter 15, he comes back around and touches the carcass of a donkey when he rips the jawbone out of its mouth. So the second rule, mentioned first, “Do not touch a dead body,” he breaks it very early. Second rule, “Do not drink alcohol.” In chapter 14 when he decides he’s going to marry a Philistine woman he throws what the text tells us is a seven day party, feast. The language of feast in the Old Testament is referring there to a place that had alcohol. And he undoubtedly, I think the text is telling us is breaking the vow in throwing the great feast. So he touches the dead body, he drinks alcohol, and then our final chapter, this story, chapter 16, he gives away his hair.
Look, a lot of commentators will say, “How could he tell Delilah the truth because obviously three times he tells her a lie and the Philistines are waiting in another room to kill him, to bind him? Of course Samson knows that Delilah is behind all of it. He knows that he’s being betrayed and yet he tells her anyway.” And in the text we see that he loves her, and that’s one of the reasons, but I think there’s something else going on. And if you look at the whole structure of the Samson story, each story focuses in on how he breaks one of the three commands of the Nazarite vow. And look, he’s a reluctant believer. He does not desire God. I think he tells Delilah about the secret to his hair to complete his mission to get out, to get out from his calling. This was something appointed to him from before his birth and his entire life he does almost everything he can while being the yeshar, the judge of Israel, to get away from it – to touch the dead body, to drink the alcohol, to have his hair cut. He is reluctant to be the man of God that God had called him to be. If there was every somebody – in New Testament terms – if I looked at their life, looked at Samson’s life in these three chapters, I would say, “I don’t think that guy is a Christian,” to put it in New Testament language. And yet Hebrews 11:32 – he shows up; one of the great heroes and examples of the faith.
And what that, I think, says to us tonight is that look, we have to take care and be very slow to make pronouncements about who is in and who is out of the kingdom of God. We have no access to the names written in the book of life and no idea what God is doing in people’s lives, even in the midst of their sin and their patterns of sin. And you know Paul, absolutely Paul indeed tells us to seek blamelessness in our life, to be assured in our faith by growing with a new obedience, by putting on the fruits of the Spirit, by being renewed in ourselves, to look for that and to warn people who are walking away from that. Paul tells us that many times. But at the same time, this story, Hebrews 11 – if you go through it – everybody is questionable. And it means that we cannot measure salvation. We don’t have the ability to do it.
The Samson story reminds me of a newer rendition, a newer melody that’s in a newer setting of Psalm 15 by some hymn writers called “My Soul Among Lions” that I really appreciated. And I think the way they structure it really captures the point of Psalm 15. This is how they sing the lyrics in their version. “Who will stand, O Lord, upon Your holy hill? Who will dwell on Your holy hill?” And here’s the answer; it’s a chorus. “He who walks with integrity, all his works are righteousness. He who speaks the truth deep within his heart. He who does not slander with his lips. He who loves all his neighbors well. He who does no wrong unto his friends. Who shall dwell on God’s holy hill? The one who is honest in all they do and seeks no unrighteousness.” Psalm 15 – what’s it saying? It’s rhetorical, right? “Who will stand on God’s holy hill?” Nobody, if we measure it!
Psalm 130, from “The Depths of Woe,” the great song we love – “If you keep a mark of my secret sins and misdeeds dark, O who should stand before Thee?” It’s rhetorical, right? Nobody! And I wouldn’t have thought Samson, looking at these stories. And that means we have to be slow to talk about people’s sins and whether they’re really Christians or not. He didn’t want to be God’s man. He was a reluctant believer. He didn’t desire God. And Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, some Fridays, I don’t either. It’s a struggle for all of us. Ralph Davis, in summarizing the Samson story, puts it like this. “If God’s grace was given only when we prayed for it, only when we asked for it, only when we desired God, only when we had sense enough to seek it out, what paupers and orphans we would all still be.”
The second lesson and the final thing as we close. A lot of times we come to the Old Testament stories and we’re asking the question, “How can we say, ‘Kids, be like Samson,’ or ‘Be like David,’ or whatever?” The first answer to that question is always, “No. Don’t!” But then the second answer is always, “But yes. Hebrews 11 says they are indeed an example of faith.” So how is it specific here to Samson? Hebrews 11 includes a list of accomplishments. It names Samson, Gideon, Jephthah, King David himself, and then says this – “Who, by faith,” for this long list of men and women, “conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness was made strong, became mighty in war, and put foreign armies to flight?” Now commentators come to that and say there is one little phrase in that list that’s probably specific to Samson. And maybe you caught it. It was, “from weakness was made strong,” that most commentators attribute to the Samson story in Judges 16. Now the whole of the Samson story, his strength was his strength. And Hebrews 11:32 tells us his strength was his weakness, and that’s the example, that’s how he is an example. He had to lose his strength in order to find it.
And what it means is that at the moment of his death he finally looked up to the Lord and found humility. That’s what it means. His strength, in the end, was his weakness in that he finally learned humility before the Lord. And humility before God is the ground of all virtue. Humility before God is the ground of all virtue. And the Samson story here teaches us that, well, the commentators say often that only in the final moment of his death, when he loses everything before the Lord, loses his life in order to claim victory for his God, does he look morally – not only as a salvific shadow of Christ – but also morally he looks like Christ. You remember Jesus on the night of His betrayal He got down on a knee and He washed the feet of the men who were about to commit treason against Him. He went low. He was the most humble man who ever lived. Samson, in finding humility in the very last moment, is not only the shadow of Christ the Savior but he’s also a shadow of Christ the example. Jesus said that night, “Do this. Go low. Serve one another. Be as humble as possible. Care about other people more than yourself, just like I am doing right now.” Jesus Christ the substitute, the Victor, is also the example, and He says that to us.
That brings together two classic phrases that the Samson story draws. Jesus Christ is “Christus Victor” – He is Christ the victor over all evil – and He calls us to the “imitatio Christi” they say – the imitation of Jesus Christ. If He is our substitute, and He is our Victor, then we are called to imitate Him in going low, in putting on humility as the primary virtue.
Now the last word is in Philippians 2. Paul takes the humility of Jesus’ work in salvation and combines it with a call to imitate Him. Listen to what Paul says. He says, “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility regard everyone else as more important than yourself.” Have this attitude in your heart because Jesus had this attitude in His heart. That’s what he says. He says, “Who” – Jesus Christ – “although He is God, He did not consider equality with His Father a thing to be grasped. He made Himself nothing. He took on the form of a slave,” the text literally says, “in human flesh.” It’s saying Jesus was so humble to become our substitute and our victor, to die for us, Jesus Christ regards me – that’s what Philippians 2 says – Jesus Christ regards me as important enough to die for, to battle against Satan for, to push back the principalities of darkness for, to dispel the darkness for, that I’ve got to walk around in Him counting other people more significant than myself. Because to Him, I was more important than even His heavenly life. That’s what Paul is saying there. And so the Samson story, the Samson story is Romans 12 – “Do not be overcome by evil but by good, and in doing so, you indeed fight the powers of darkness.” Let’s pray.
Father, we ask for help that You would help us to cast our own lives in the cosmic language of going to battle against the powers of darkness. You do it in Romans. You do it in Ephesians. You tell us, Lord, through the Samson story that Jesus Christ has ultimately defeated Satan and the powers of death and that in our lives we witness to it by the way we live. So we ask for help, Lord, that we would believe it, that we would have so much desire to live for it now this week. And we ask for that help in Jesus’ name, amen.
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