페이지 정보작성자 최고관리자 작성일15-11-27 16:53 조회1,115회 댓글0건
<Judges 16: 28-31>
Take a guess at the identity of the man of many failures that I’m about to describe. He declared for bankruptcy in 1831 after a failed business venture. He did not get elected in 1832 after running in the state representative election. His wife, whom he loved so dearly, died in 1835. After suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, he was bedridden for a period of time. He ran to become a Representative in the Congress in 1838 and 1843, but was defeated both times. He ran for the Senate in 1855 and 1858, but had to suffer through yet another consecutive bouts of defeat. In 1856, he ran as the running mate to the presidential candidate; he, along with the candidate, was again defeated.
Most people would have cut their losses and quit at about this point, but this man entered the Presidential Elections of 1860. He was eventually elected as the 16th President of the United States, and led the Union to defeat the Confederacy during the Civil War. Declaring that a divided house cannot stand on its own, he prevented the secession of the Confederate states from the Union while freeing the slaves through Emancipation Proclamation. Today, he is recognized as one of the greatest Presidents in US history. His name is Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). He suffered through countless failures, setbacks and defeats yet, he refused to give up and challenged towards his goals. He eventually succeeded in life.
People fail. No one succeeds in life without failing at some point in his or her life. We can fail on college entrance exam or promotion boards, and we can even fail in our business. When in love, all will seem well and destined; yet, we can still fail in our marriage. All people desire to befriend everyone around them and make no enemies; yet, interpersonal relationship is very difficult to maintain. We hurt others and, at the same time, we get hurt by others. We often despair when our relations with others fail. Failure, regardless of form, is a fate that we, frail humans, must endure. No one is free from failure.
The problem is that repeated failures lead to failure paranoia. Many people live in the midst of some abstract fear of failure. Karl Wallenda was a famous high wire walker and stunts man. In 1978, however, he lost his life in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in front of thousands of spectators after falling while performing on a 70-feet high wire. Why did Wallenda, the most skilled high-wire performer in the world, fail on that day? His widowed wife researched into this after his death. And her discovery, the reason for his failure, was quite simple. Few weeks before his death, Wallenda started to fear for his safety and began suffering from failure paranoia. His goal in life had always been creating and executing the most entertaining high wire act; however, after falling victim to paranoia, he began concentrating on how to protect his own body and his safety. Hence, he did not have positive thoughts in his head about a successful performance; rather, his head filled with negative thoughts about failure. This pessimistic fear of failure, which override any confidence one may have, is referred to as the Wallenda Factor.
Anyone can fail; the important thing is not to end our lives in failure. Samson, who appears in today’s scripture, was the most capable and able man among the judges of Israel. ‘Judges’ refer to the group who ruled and governed the people of Israel before the advent of kings of Israel they were the commanders in chief of Israel, as well as its supreme justices. Samson, from birth, was distinguished from others by being a Nazirite. Nazirites were people who were blessed with special graces from God; as a result, they had to make special, holy offerings to God throughout their lives. As a Nazirite, Samson could not drink wine or alcohol, could not cut his hair, and was not to go near a dead body (Numbers 6: 3-12). Samson also possessed supernatural powers, which made Philistines and other people around Israel afraid of him.
The mightily capable Samson, however, sunk to unprecedented depths. Enticement of Delilah, a Philistine harlot, spelled Samson’s eventual doom. When Philistines could not kill Samson, Delilah tempted and enticed Samson to tell her the secret to his powers. The secret to Samson’s power lay within his long locks of hair; unable to overcome Delilah’s lure, Samson told her this secret. Samson became prisoner of Philistines, who took both of Samson’s eyes out to blind him. They bounded and imprisoned him, and forced him to grind stones. Today’s scripture illustrates how Samson closes out the last chapter of his life as a prisoner of Philistine. Today, we must gain valuable lessons from Samson’s failures and the reasons for his failure, and how he recovered from this failure in the twilight of his life.
Samson possessed all the requisite potential to succeed in life. Let’s think about this. As a Nazirite, he was born into de-facto nobility, with prophecies of the angels blessing his birth. He was a handsome man, with enormous amount of strength. He was so strong that he ripped apart and killed lions like one would a young goat (Judges 14: 6). Once, he killed 300 foxes instantaneously (Judges 15: 4). That is not all. When the Philistines invaded and bound him with a strong rope, he broke from the rope bind and killed 1000 Philistines with a jawbone of a bird (Judges 15: 9-16). When the Philistines bound Samson with seven fresh, undried bowstrings, he broke from that bind with the ease of breaking yarn that touched fire (Judges 16: 4-9).
Samson was indeed the one with special blessings and grace of God. He had the potential to succeed in life at will. Yet, he could not capitalize on and maximize his potential; rather, he fell in the abyss of failure.
William Randolph Hearst, a news media tycoon, decided to buy the original painting of a copy that he took a great liking to in a gallery. He hired a private investigator to find the original painting. After several months, and tens of thousand dollars later, he was able to find the location of the original painting. Surprisingly, the painting was in the storage room of Hearst’s mansion. Not knowing that he already owned the painting, he expended a great sum of money to find the painting that he already owned!
It is true. We do not know of the vast potential that we possess. God gave everyone the potential to succeed. No one is outside of God’s blessings or grace. People fail because they do not utilize their potential correctly; rather, they expend their potential in the wrong places. Look at Samson! He had superhuman strength; yet, he failed miserably. He wasted the potential that God bestowed upon him. Then why did Samson fail?
Samson failed because of carnal desires. The ultimate reason for Samson’s failure is a woman named Delilah. She was a special agent, hired by the Philistine government. She was a harlot whose mission was to entice Samson to find out the source of Samson’s superhuman strength. The name ‘Delilah’ means ‘to be tranquilized.’ She probably possessed the drop-dead looks that tranquilized mortal men. The problem was that Samson’s interests did not stop at Delilah. He fell in love with two other Philistine women before he fell for Delilah. Samson also had an Israeli wife. The important fact is that Judges, chapters 14 through 16 illustrates and focuses on the fact that Samson chased many women.
What does this tell you? As a Judge, Samson was a leader who needed to focus on national affairs of Israel. He needed to concentrate on protecting the borders of Israel and govern his people through benevolence. Yet, the state of his mind, as a leader, was corrupted, as he spent his days satisfying his carnal desires. Samson failed because of women. The first two Philistine harlots didn’t do much damage; however, he completely lost his head over Delilah. He truly met his match!
Samson truly loved Delilah, but she did not feel the same way. She was a special agent hired to do work for her country. Unable to overcome persistent enticement and lure of Delilah, Samson confided to her that the true source of his powers came from his long locks of hair. When Samson fell asleep on Delilah’s knees, after getting drunk, Philistines shaved the seven locks from his head, thus rendering him powerless. He also lost both his eyes and was doomed to grind stones in front of the statue of Philistine god Dagon. How low had he sunk! Blinded by his carnal desires, he could not answer God’s calling; he instead became a ruined man, being humiliated in front of a pagan god.
What did Paul teach us? In Galatians 6: 8, did he not state, “for he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life?” Did he not state, in Romans 8: 13, “for if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live?” Did he not state, in Romans 8: 6-7, “for to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnally minded is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be?”
We need to know the reason for our failure in order to prevent future mishaps. Carnal living will lead to sure failure. But we will not fail if we live in God’s spirituality! Just as the proverb “the taste of sin is sweet, yet its fruit bitter” denotes, Samson did not tend to the affairs of the state; instead, he had to pay for following his carnal desires. The sweet taste of sin was brief and fleeting; yet, the price of sin was steep and exacting. But it is too early to classify Samson’s life as a total failure at this point. In the final moment, he accomplishes a great deed to overturn the wrong course that his life had taken.
Nevertheless, Samson redeemed his past sins by finding and returning to God. Samson, battered and abused, withstood great humiliations in front of Dagon, the Philistine god. The chosen Nazirite of Jehovah was kneeling in front of pagan god! There is no greater humiliation and disgrace. That is not all; in front of thousands of Philistine spectators, he performed in the temple of Dagon. About 3,000 Philistines watched Samson perform in the temple that day.
When Samson was at this abyss, and could not go any lower, he seeks Jehovah, our God. Take a look at verse 28 of today’s scripture. “Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once. O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”” Samson finally gained his conscience at this moment in his life. He had been blinded by carnal desires and forgot about God; but when he was about to drown in the swamp of failure, he found God again. He had the determination to not let his life end on such a low note. With every last bit of strength he could garner, he looked for God.
God answered Samson, when Samson cried out to God in the midst of his sweat, tears, and blood. He gave Samson strength! He allowed Samson to collapse the two middle-supporting pillars of the temple! In verse 30, it states, “So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.” Samson did not die as a failure; rather, he was victorious in the end. He died a valiant and glorious death! He protected his people from the Philistines in the end he was victorious in his death, accomplishing a great task of saving his people.
No matter how sinful and defeated in failure we are, God will forgive us and help us if we return to Him. When we call to God, with the determination that we will not let our lives end as failures, God will unfailingly answer our call.
We cannot let our only life end in failure. We have to make it succeed, no matter what it takes. When we return to God, we can turn our failure into success. It is because God helps us. God teaches us the method, the secret of true success.
As a pastor, I always try to remember this one story of Reverend Charles Spurgeon (1834-1992) as I lead this parish. A group of pastors from a county in the US visited England to listen to, in person, Reverend Spurgeon’s sermon. One Sunday morning, they visited City Temple Church, presided by Reverend Joseph Parker. Just as they have heard, Reverend Parker’s sermon was an eloquent and graceful one, delivered in front of about 2,000 people. The American pastors, upon leaving the church, could not help but to remark, “Joseph Parker is a wonderful preacher!”
That night, the group of American pastors heard that Charles Spurgeon will be delivering his sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle Church, and decided to attend that service. The building at this church was much bigger than the City Temple Church, and the size of the congregation was about twice its size. And just as they have heard, Reverend Spurgeon’s voice and sermon was out of this world. The American pastors soon forgot about the great building, the size of the congregation, the voice of the preacher, his gesture, and his eloquence. They soon forgot about comparing Reverend Spurgeon to Reverend Parker, whom they heard that morning. They had only one thing to say after Spurgeon’s sermon. It was “Jesus Christ is a wonderful savior!”
It is true. True success is understanding that Jesus is our Great Savior. There is no greater success in life. True success is discovering that we are sinners, and to find the embrace of Jesus Christ to ask for His forgiveness and live the rest of our lives in obedience to His will and wishes.
My fellow Christians, have you experienced bitter failure? Do you despair that you are at dead end of your life? Return to God! Call to God! God will help you! The same God who helped Samson when he called for Him will help you today.
There is no failure in Jesus Christ. True faith will lead us to beautiful and genuine success. We cannot fail this way! We cannot continue to fall in the swamp of failure because of our carnal desires! Return to Jesus. He will take responsibility of us all.
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