Concerning the previous post I did not attached it. it is all copied in

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Does God know everything and does He control the outcomes?

I was asked a question about if God knows all things and if He causes them to happen. The answer is attached. The individual wanted a written response, so this is long and detailed.

Understand that Theologians have debated our amount of Freewill for centuries but in the end the Scriptures affirm a great and awesome God. Scriptures affirm a God who knows all and is all powerful and all presence. This must mean that He is in control even in how much freewill He gives us.

This sermon by John MacArthur may help, though it does not directly touch on this subject.

https://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/43-15/Twin-Truths-Gods-Sovereignty-and-Mans-Responsibility

As you look below I have repeatedly referenced a Theology text by Wayne Grudem, you will see this in the footnotes. I tried to summarize but in some cases it was easier just to let him say it. Check the underlined sections especially.

I was asked for a written response so I know it is long. We can talk more with question. Take your time.

Does God know everything that will happen or does He make everything happen?

My gut response is, “Yes.” I want to see this is both, but I really wish to give some Scriptural support.

God certainly knows everything. Psalm 139:1-3 is important for this. Also, 1 Samuel 15:10 God does not need to change His mind about things. He knows everything. One think that I would say about this is God’s omniscience (this means God knows everything) is coupled with God’s timelessness. God is outside of time. In Genesis 1:1-2 God created time, space and matter. God created time. Sometimes I am caught up thinking, “Who created God?” But that question shows that I am stuck in time. I am thinking in a linear way. I am thinking on a timelines because I have never been outside of time. God created time, the whole concept is God’s. C.S. Lewis has written of this in Mere Christianity; however, I would say, as I think he does, it is as if we are in a book and God is the author. As the author, God can turn to any page He wants at anytime. The only difference is that, as a Divine Author, God can somehow mix in our freewill with His writing. This is because God is great. Job 36:26 is good about God being outside of time. I would want to say that God’s attributes of Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence are linked and very important.

The ESV Study Bible has some nice charts about some attributes of God:

Omnipresence: God does not have spatial dimensions and is present everywhere with his whole being, though he acts differently in different situations. “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jer. 23:23–24; cf. 1 Kings 8:27Ps. 139:7–10Isa. 66:1–2Acts 7:48–50). God can be sought anywhere regardless of place. Believers should never feel lonely, and the wicked should never feel safe.
Omnipotence:God is able to do all his holy will. “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Isa. 46:9–10; cf.Ex. 6:3Job 37:23; 40:2; 42:1–6Ps. 24:6; 33:10–11; 91:1;Dan. 4:34–35Matt. 28:18). God’s ultimate will is never frustrated by evil, so there is peace and confidence in the face of suffering for those who trust God.
Omniscience:God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible—past, present, and future. “Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20; cf. Job 28:24; 37:16Ps. 139:1–3; 147:5Isa. 55:8–9Matt. 10:29–30Rom. 11:33–341 Cor. 2:10–11Heb. 4:13). All God’s thoughts and actions are perfectly informed by perfect knowledge, so he is perfectly trustworthy.

God is eternal God said He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end (Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:16 and see also 4:8). Notice also that the Father and God the Son both say the same words about Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end. But see since God is outside of time this goes hand in hand with Him knowing everything. Think about John 1:1-14 and how everything came into existence through God and by God. See also Col. 1:15-20; see also Heb. 1:2 and 1 Cor. 8:6: all things exists by Him.

See Isaiah 45:21: “Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me”[1] and also:

For I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me

declaring the end from the beginning

and from ancient times things not yet done

saying, “My counsel shall stand,

and I will accomplish all my purpose.” (Isa. 46:9–10[2]

Wayne Grudem writes about God’s omnipresence:

Yet there are also specific passages that speak of God’s presence in every part of space. We read in Jeremiah, “Am I a God at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the Lord” (Jer. 23:23–24). God is here rebuking the prophets who think their words or thoughts are hidden from God. He is everywhere and fills heaven and earth.

God’s omnipresence is beautifully expressed by David:

Whither shall I go from your Spirit?

Or whither shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me,

and your right hand shall hold me. (Ps. 139:7–10)[3]

Omniscience: Wayne Grudem writes:

God’s knowledge may be defined as follows: God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act.

Elihu says that God is the one “who is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16), and John says that God “knows everything” (1 John 3:20). The quality of knowing everything is called omniscience, and because God knows everything, he is said to be omniscient (that is, “all-knowing”)[4]

The definition also says that God knows “all things actual.” This means all things that exist and all things that happen. This applies to creation, for God is the one before whom “no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13; cf. 2 Chron. 16:9; Job 28:24; Matt. 10:29–30). God also knows the future, for he is the one who can say, “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done” (Isa. 46:9–10; cf. 42:8–9 and frequent passages in the Old Testament prophets). He knows the tiny details of every one of our lives, for Jesus tells us, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8), and, “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30)[5]

1 Samuel 23:11-13; Matthew 11:21-23; 2 Kings 13:19: shows that God knows all things possible as well.  See this from Wayne Grudem:

Similarly, Jesus could state that Tyre and Sidon would have repented if Jesus’ own miracles had been done there in former days: “Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Matt. 11:21). Similarly, he says, “And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day” (Matt. 11:23; cf. 2 Kings 13:19, where Elisha tells what would have happened if King Joash had struck the ground five or six times with the arrows).

The fact that God knows all things possible can also be deduced from God’s full knowledge of himself. If God fully knows himself, he knows everything he is able to do, which includes all things that are possible.[6]

Isaiah 55:9: God says “My thoughts are not your thoughts…”

I think we have set some boundaries recognizing that from the Bible God knows everything, God is present everywhere and He is all powerful.

Now, the real question:

This concerns God’s providence:

The Bible does not endorse Deism which teaches that God created things and then stepped back and let them go. We are not a clock that God simply wound up and let it go. The Bible teaches that God has an intimate relationship with creation. For example read the book of Acts and we see that in Acts 1:8 the Holy Spirit is brought up. In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit enters the church. The book of Acts could be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit. The Bible does not endorse Pantheism (pan means all and Theism means God) which means that all IS God. No, God is separate from His creation. God is distinct from His creation.

God makes inanimate creation continue:

Psalm 148:8; Job 37:6-13; 38:22-30 teach us that God is involved making inanimate creation continue.

Ps 104:14-15

He makes grass grow for the cattle,

and plants for man to cultivate–

bringing forth food from the earth:

God takes care of the animals: Grudem writes:

Scripture affirms that God feeds the wild animals of the field, for, “These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed” (Ps. 104:27–29; cf. Job 38:39–41). Jesus also affirmed this when he said, “Look at the birds of the air … your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matt. 6:26). And he said that not one sparrow “will fall to the ground without your Father’s will” (Matt. 10:29).[7]

Nothing happens outside God’s will:

Ephesians 2:10:

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 1:11: Paul says that God “accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will.”

Random and chance:

Grudem writes: From a human perspective, the casting of lots (or its modern equivalent, the rolling of dice or flipping of a coin) is the most typical of random events that occur in the universe. But Scripture affirms that the outcome of such an event is from God: “The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly from the Lord” (Prov. 16:33)[8]

So, what about our day to day lives?

Grudem writes:

God plans our days before we are born, for David affirms, “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Ps. 139:16). And Job says that man’s “days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his bounds that he cannot pass” (Job 14:5). This can be seen in the life of Paul, who says that God “had set me apart before I was born” (Gal. 1:15), and Jeremiah, to whom God said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5).[9]

All our actions are under God’s providential care, for “in him we live and move” (Acts 17:28). The individual steps we take each day are directed by the Lord. Jeremiah confesses, “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). We read that “a man’s steps are ordered by the Lord” (Prov. 20:24), and that “a man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9). Similarly, Proverbs 16:1 affirms, “The plans of the mind belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”3

Success and failure come from God, for we read, “For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up; but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another” (Ps. 75:6–7). So Mary can say, “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree” (Luke 1:52). The Lord gives children, for children “are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Ps. 127:3).

All our talents and abilities are from the Lord, for Paul can ask the Corinthians, “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” (1 Cor. 4:7). David knew that to be true regarding his military skill, for, though he must have trained many hours in the use of a bow and arrow, he could say of God, “He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze” (Ps. 18:34).

God influences rulers in their decisions, for “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov. 21:1). An illustration of this was when the Lord “turned the heart of the king of Assyria” to his people, “so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel” (Ezr. 6:22), or when “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia” (Ezr. 1:1) to help the people of Israel. But it is not just the heart of the king that God influences, for he looks down “on all the inhabitants of the earth” and “fashions the hearts of them all” (Ps. 33:14–15). When we realize that the heart in Scripture is the location of our inmost thoughts and desires, this is a significant passage. God especially guides the desires and inclinations of believers, working in us “both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

All of these passages, reporting both general statements about God’s work in the lives of all people and specific examples of God’s work in the lives of individuals, lead us to conclude that God’s providential work of concurrence extends to all aspects of our lives. Our words, our steps, our movements, our hearts, and our abilities are all from the Lord.

But we must guard against misunderstanding. Here also, as with the lower creation, God’s providential direction as an unseen, behind-the-scenes, “primary cause,” should not lead us to deny the reality of our choices and actions. Again and again Scripture affirms that we really do cause events to happen. We are significant and we are responsible. We do have choices and these are real choices that bring about real results. Scripture repeatedly affirms these truths as well. Just as a rock is really hard because God has made it with the property of hardness, just as water is really wet because God has made it with the property of wetness, just as plants are really alive because God has made them with the property of life, so our choices are real choices and do have significant effects, because God has made us in such a wonderful way that he has endowed us with the property of willing choice.

One approach to these passages about God’s concurrence is to say that if our choices are real, they cannot be caused by God (see below for further discussion of this viewpoint). But the number of passages that affirm this providential control of God is so considerable, and the difficulties involved in giving them some other interpretation are so formidable, that it does not seem to me that this can be the right approach to them. It seems better to affirm that God causes all things that happen, but that he does so in such a way that he somehow upholds our ability to make willing, responsible choices choices that have real and eternal results and for which we are held accountable. Exactly how God combines his providential control with our willing and significant choices, Scripture does not explain to us. But rather than deny one aspect or the other (simply because we cannot explain how both can be true), we should accept both in an attempt to be faithful to the teaching of all of Scripture.

The analogy of an author writing a play may help us to grasp how both aspects can be true. In the Shakespearean play Macbeth the character Macbeth murders King Duncan. Now (if we assume for a moment that this is a fictional account), we may ask, “Who killed King Duncan?” On one level, the correct answer is “Macbeth.” Within the play, he carried out the murder and he is rightly to blame for it. But on another level, a correct answer to the question, “Who killed King Duncan?” would be “William Shakespeare caused his death”: he wrote the play, he created all the characters in it, and he wrote the part where Macbeth killed King Duncan.

It would not be correct to say that because Macbeth killed King Duncan, William Shakespeare did not (somehow) cause his death. Nor would it be correct to say that because William Shakespeare caused King Duncan’s death, Macbeth did not kill him. Both are true. On the level of the characters in the play Macbeth fully (100%) caused King Duncan’s death, but on the level of the creator of the play, William Shakespeare fully (100%) caused King Duncan’s death. In similar fashion, we can understand that God fully causes things in one way (as Creator), and we fully cause things in another way (as creatures). (One word of caution however: The analogy of an author (= writer, creator) of a play should not lead us to say that God is the “author” (= actor, doer, an older sense of “author”) of sin, for he never does sinful actions, nor does he ever delight in them.) 4

Of course, characters in a play are not real persons—they are fictional characters. But God is infinitely greater and wiser than we are. While we can only create fictional characters in a play, our almighty God has created us as real persons who make willing choices. To say that God could not make a world in which he (somehow) causes us to make willing choices (as some would argue today; see discussion below), is limiting the power of God. It seems also to deny a large number of passages of Scripture[10]

[1] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 172.

[2] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 172.

[3] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 174.

[4] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 190.

cf cf.—compare

cf cf.—compare

[5] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 190.

cf cf.—compare

[6] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 191.

[7] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 318.

[8] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 318.

[9] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 320.

3 David J.A. Clines, “Predestination in the Old Testament,” in Grace Unlimited ed. by Clark H. Pinnock (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1975), pp. 116–17, objects that these verses simply affirm that “when it comes to conflict between God and man, undoubtedly it cannot be man who wins the day.” He says that these verses do not describe life in general, but describe unusual situations where God overcomes man’s will in order to bring about his special purposes. Clines denies that these verses mean that God always acts this way or that these verses represent God’s control of human conduct generally. Yet no such restriction is seen in these passages (see Prov. 16:1, 9). The verses do not say that God directs a man’s steps in rare instances where God needs to intervene to fulfill his purposes; they simply make general statements about the way the world works—God directs man’s steps in general, not simply when there is conflict between God and man.

4 I. Howard Marshall, “Predestination in the New Testament” in Grace Unlimited by Clark H. Pinnock, pp. 132–33, 139, objects to the analogy of an author and a play because the actors “are bound by the characters assigned to them and the lines that they have learned” so that even if the dramatist “makes [the characters] say “I love my creator’ in his drama, this is not mutual love in the real sense.”

But Marshall limits his analysis to what is possible with human beings acting on a human level. He does not give consideration to the possibility (in fact, the reality!) that God is able to do far more than human beings are able to do, and that he can wonderfully create genuine human beings rather than mere characters in a play. A better approach to the analogy of an author and a play would be if Marshall would apply to this question a very helpful statement that he made in another part of the essay: “The basic difficulty is that of attempting to explain the nature of the relationship between an infinite God and finite creatures. Our temptation is to think of divine causation in much the same way as human causation, and this produces difficulties as soon as we try to relate divine causation and human freedom. It is beyond our ability to explain how God can cause us to do certain things (or to cause the universe to come into being and to behave as it does)” (pp. 137–38). I can agree fully with everything in Marshall’s statement at that point, and find that to be a very helpful way of approaching this problem.

[10] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 320–322.

by Faith Samson

Introduction:

I’ve heard of people saying, “I would not believe in a god who…”  then they say something, such as … “would allow suffering.”

First of all, we, as in humanity, cause most of the suffering, but we don’t have a choice who God is. We aren’t His judge. He doesn’t report to us for roll call every morning. The whole statement is humorous, “I can’t believe in a god who doesn’t fit my standard.” Do we realize that our standard changes over time anyways?

Ravi Zacharias was asked on a doctrinal questionnaire: “God is perfect, briefly explain.” Really, how does one explain that attribute of God briefly? He wrote:

“He is the only entity in existence whose reason for existence is in Himself.  Every other entity exists for God.”

Wow, that statement still gets me. God exists for Himself, every other entity exists for Him.

We exist for God and so God is God, we have no choice who He is as He is self existent and we exists for Him. Thankfully, we find out about Him in His Word. God has revealed Himself to us. (Deut. 29:29; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)

As I look at Samson I see that God used Samson. Samson trusted God, Samson, did have faith, seemingly selfish faith, but God worked in his life. Samson existed for God. But I do as well.

Let’s talk about Samson, first let’s read Heb. 11:32:

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets…

Look at Judges 14:4: (I’ll explain it in a minute)

 (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)

See Samson’s prayer in Judges 16:28:

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

My theme is:

By Faith, Samson, Trusted the Lord and the Lord worked through him. (Hebrews 11:32; Judges 13-16 especially 14:4)

Theme: God carries out His plan. God was in control, even in Samson’s freewill.

Application: Surrender to God daily, you have no choice who God is.

We cannot talk about Samson until I summarize his messed up life:

  1. First: Through chapter 15 are Samson’s Ten Feats of Strength and Heroism Part 1:

Three mentions of the “Spirit of the Lord”

  1. The killing of the lion: 14:5–9“The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him” (14:6).
  2. The killing of 30 Philistines: 14:19“The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him” (14:19).
  3. The burning of the fields: 15:4–6
  4. Another slaughter of the Philistines: 15:7–8
  5. Escape from ropes and killing of 1,000 Philistines: 15:14–17“The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him” (15:14).

Part 2: No mention of the “Spirit of the Lord”

  1. The Gaza-gate incident: 16:3
  2. Escape from the bowstrings: 16:9
  3. Escape from the new ropes: 16:12
  4. Escape from the loom: 16:14
  5. Final destruction of 3,000 Philistines: 16:28–30 Judg 14:1

Judges 13-16 in a nutshell:

  1. In Judges 13:1-25 we have the birth of Samson.
    1. In verse 1 we once again have the common phrase in the book of Judges: 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.
    2. Verse 2: Samson’s father: “Manoah’s” wife was barren.
      1. Moody Bible Commentary: Manoah’s wife was barren, but Ps 113:9 cites the classic image of God blessing “barren women” who became “joyful mothers.” This miraculous conception and birth echos Isaac and prefigures the Messiah, with the point that life always comes from the Lord.
    3. I notice another account where God intervenes with a woman a couple who is barren (1 Samuel 1-2; Luke 1)
    4. The rest of chapter 13 an angel of the Lord visits Samson’s mother and father and declares the baby to come.
  2. Chapter 14:1-15:20 is Samson and the Philistines part 1.
    1. Samson marries a woman of the Philistines. Apparently, he did not care about the whole idea of not marrying someone who is a foreigner. Exodus 34:16 instructs against marrying foreign women (also Deut 7:3). Of course in the New Testament 2 Cor. 6:14 instructs not to be unequally yoked. My social Psychology professor said: “opposites attack and birds of a feather flock together.”
    2. ESV study note says that usually in that day the marriages were arranged, but in this case Samson demands the wife that he wishes. (14:3) However, verse 4 says that in this case the Lord was going to use this for good.
      1. Notice that. God is in control.
      2. We do have freewill, but isn’t it cool that God is in control even in our freewill?
  • Is it awesome that you cannot mess up God’s plan?
  1. Is it awesome that our God can never fail?
  2. Is it awesome that God is powerful?
  3. God is a strong God.
  • Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing that our God can’t do. The mountains are big, the valleys are big, the stars are His handiwork to. Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing that our God can’t do.
  • Do you believe that? Do you really believe that?
  1. Sometimes we have that in our head, but do we have that in our heart? It has to go from our head to our heart.
  2. How did Samson have faith? I believe when he fought the Philistines in battle in the core of his being he had no doubt, none at all, that God would give him strength.
  3. Listen to how God works in his mess.
  1. The marriage is a mess but Samson retaliates with the Philistines. At his wedding feast he tells the Philistines a riddle and they cannot solve it. He had made an arrangement that if they solve the riddle he will give them 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes, but if he solves the riddle they must give him 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes. So, the Philistines enlist his wife to trick him. He eventually gives the answer and they win the riddle. Samson retaliates by killing 30 Philistines. He killed 30 Philistines to get the 30 linen garments and changes of clothes.
  2. He is the only man who crashed his own wedding party.
  3. In Chapter 15 Samson finds out that his wife was given to his best man. Samson, in anger caught 30 foxes, or they might have been jackals, he ties their tales together, puts a torch between each pair of tales and lets them go in the standing grain. He also set fire to the stacked grain, standing grain and olive orchards.
  4. The Philistines are now mad so they attack the people of Judah. So, Samson allowed 3000 men of Judah to tie him and take him to the Philistines. In 15:14-17: The Philistines come out and he kills 1000 of them with the jawbone of a donkey.
  5. In chapter 16:1-3 he goes in to a prostitute. The Gazites were told that Samson was here. So he arose at midnight and took hold of the doors of the city, picked them up on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill which is in front of Hebron. This is about 40 miles. He might have carried them the distance or towards that distance.
  6. Notice that Samson is a mess, he has broken all but one of the Nazerite vows. He does not appear to be following God. Is he going to mess up God’s plan?
  7. Delilah enters the picture in verse 5 and she is paid to seduce him to discover his strength.
  8. In 16:7-9 she uses seven fresh bow strings.
  9. In 16:11 they use new ropes. This is how the people of Judah captured him in chapter 15 but he broke free and killed 1,000 Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone.
  10. 16:13-14: seven locks of his head made tight with a pin.
  11. In 16:16-22 he tells her that a razor had never touched his head. At the end of verse 20 the Bible says that he did not know that the Lord had left him.
    1. Isn’t that a telling statement?
    2. Aren’t you glad that you don’t have to worry about that.
  • You see in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would come upon a person for a task or tasks. In the New Testament we have the Holy Spirit for life. (John 14-17; Acts 1:8)
  1. The Holy Spirit left Samson and now he will get captured. So, who allowed Samson to do everything? God did.
  2. The main character in this passage seems to be Samson, but the main character is really God.
  1. 16:21-22: the Philistines capture him, gauge gouge out his eyes and he was to grind at the mill in prison.
  2. 16:23-31: his hair grows back, the Philistines make a mockery out of him, he prays: “SovereignLord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
  3. Whose strength enables him to finish what he started? God’s strength. Samson was trusting the Lord so that he could finish well.
  4. Samson says to the young man who was leading him around that he wants to feel the pillars. He gets in between and pushes them apart. He kills 3,000 that day.
  5. We have archaeological evidence of a temple that was destroyed with pillars fairly close together.
  6. Any man or woman could take a vow to become a Nazirite, to separate himself or herself to God (see Numbers 6). It was to be voluntary (Num. 6:2), for a limited time (Num. 6:5, 8, 13, 20), and involved three provisions: (1) abstinence from wine, strong drink, or anything associated with the vine (Num. 6:3–4); (2) no cutting of the hair (Num. 6:5); and (3) no contact with the dead (Num. 6:6–8). If a person became unclean, there were elaborate cleansing rituals (Num. 6:9–21). Three things are unusual concerning Samson and this vow. First, he did not take it voluntarily; it was his lot from the womb (Judg. 13:5, 7). Second, it was not limited in time; it was to last to the day of his death (vv. 5, 7; cf. 1 Sam. 1:11; Luke 1:15 for similar situations). Third, he broke every one of its stipulations: his head was sheared (Judg. 16:17, 19); he associated with the dead (14:6–9; 15:15); and he undoubtedly drank at his wedding feast (14:10–20; see note on 14:10). Judges 13:5[1]
  7. He judges Israel for 20 years. (16:31)
  • Was Samson a puppet in God’s hands? Are we puppets?
    1. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQC5bQKPj6o
    2. Listen, we don’t have strings, see consider this: without the possibility of sin we would be puppet’s on a string. But we have the possibility of sin which equals freewill.
    3. We all have freewill so in that sense, Samson was not a puppet. He could do what he wanted.
    4. We are not puppet’s either, but God will not sacrifice His plan because of our freewill. Isn’t that cool? God is so great that He can manage both, my free will with His plan.
    5. God’s will comes through in our freewill.
    6. As I look at this I see that most everything Samson did was just wrong Biblically, but God intended to use his failures for God’s perfection.

So, where are you at?

Are you surrendered to God? He will use you no matter what, I believe that.

By Faith, Samson, Trusted the Lord and the Lord worked through him. (Hebrews 11:32; Judges 13-16 especially 14:4)

Theme: God carries out His plan. God was in control, even in Samson’s freewill.

Application: Surrender to God daily, you have no choice who God is.

Of God Ravi Zacharias sad:

“He is the only entity in existence whose reason for existence is in Himself.  Every other entity exists for God.”

What does it mean to recognize this?

The most important thing is falling at Jesus’ feet and saying, My Lord and My God. (John 20:28)

The best response is Luke 9:23:

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Is it in your heart that God is all powerful Lord?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] ESV Study Bible page 461

By Faith, Gideon

Opening:

I love football. I always have. I used to be a Brown’s fan, mistake. You know how many times my brother would call me and say, “I am so confident that the Browns are going to be great next year, they got this new quarterback.  I am so confident the Browns are going to be great this next year they have this new defensive coordinator.   I am so confident that the Browns are going to be great this next year they have this new head coach.” The Browns have had 19 quarterbacks since 1999.

Do you know how many super bowls they have been to?

Do you know how many winning seasons they have had?

This shows me that we cannot put our trust in the___________________(intentional pause) quarterback, can we? You thought I was going to say we cannot put our trust in the Browns, ha, ha…

Our faith cannot be in the quarterback, at least for the Browns. They have tried so many times.

Okay, let me go another route. When players are inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame there is a bronze bust made of them. Do you know how long those are supposed to last?

Someone guess, how long?

I tried to get one for the weekend to show, but they would not let me.

40,000 years. If someone is a really good quarterback such as Otto Graham or Ben Roethlisberger and they are in the Hall of Fame there is a bronze bust made that is supposed to last 40,000 years. That is longer than it has been since the Browns have won a super bowl.

So, can I put my faith in a bronze bust? What do you think? Someone answer yes or no???

Why? Someone say something? 40,000 years and this means I was a good athlete… What do you think?

We are going to look at Gideon and I want to show you that God worked through Gideon. The Lord was with Gideon. This is why he is listed in Hebrews 11:32.

Listen to the theme and application:

The Lord was with Gideon and the Lord IS with us.

Gideon was weak but the Lord is strong.

Let’s read Hebrews 11:32:

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets…

Now turn to Judges 6:11-12:

The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

Now let’s talk about this. My point is that the Lord was with Gideon and the Lord is with us.

  1. First let me summarize what God did through Gideon
    1. God calls Gideon at this time. In the next verse (24), Gideon tests the Lord, this is not recommended. Gideon had weak faith and he admits that.
    2. In chapter 6:25-34 Gideon destroys an alter to Baal.
    3. In 6:36-40: Gideon tests the Lord once again.
    4. Then we come to chapter 7:
    5. There was a threat in the Midianite army and they had an army of 135,000 men:
    6. Gideon starts out with thirty-two thousand, not impossible odds, but thirty-two thousand against a hundred and thirty-five thousand, not real good odds.
    7. God pares down Gideon’s men from 32,000 to 300
    8. Those are not good odds against a hundred and thirty-five thousand.
    9. Now, of course, all military strategy is out the window, at this point, because there is no military strategy by which the three hundred men can defeat a hundred and thirty-five thousand soldiers.
    10. Gideon is now at the mercy of God. God has pared down his men to only three hundred so God is going to have to indicate what the strategy is as to how these three hundred men are going to defeat a hundred and thirty-five thousand Medianites.
    11. God gives him strange instruction in the seventh chapter of Judges. (Judges 7)
    12. He tells him to get pitchers,
      1. Pitchers used to pour water,
      2. trumpets and torches, usually these trumpets which are shofars would only be used by the commander, but in this case everyone had one.
    13. Gideon is to go find the Medianite army. Now in history, no one has fought a battle with torches, pitchers and trumpets.
    14. You might have a torch if you want to protect yourself at night, but that’s not how you fight a battle. It is in an absurd battle strategy, humanly speaking.
    15. Gideon didn’t argue because his faith was so strong and he understood the odds and he understood the potential for death was a hundred percent on a human level.
    16. They split into three groups. Gideon took his hundred and a couple of other hundreds. They got in the circles of the hills where the Medianites were and they lit their torches. And at the appropriate time of the announcement, they smashed the pitchers which made noise and revealed the torches and the trumpets began to blow and the Medianites went into panic, probably assuming that for every torch there was an entire division of troops when it was just one guy with a pitcher and a torch and a trumpet.
    17. The Medianites panicked. The Medianites rolled out of their bunks, or off their pads on the ground, and massacred each other. In an absolute slaughter, thinking they were fighting these massive hoards of Jewish troops who had descended upon them.
    18. It would be pretty hard to believe God in that setting unless you had a supernatural faith in a supernatural God.[1]
    19. That is chapter seven. If you read chapter 8 Gideon began to rely on himself and ends up a mess. In fact, if you read chapter 9 Gideon has a legacy as a terrible father.
    20. But in this case, Gideon trusts the Lord. Look at the verse again: Judges 6:12: When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
    21. Mighty warrior! In chapter 7 Gideon wins the battle with 300 men and the men did not have to lift a sword. It was the Lord who fought the battle.
    22. This whole account through chapter seven shows that it is not about us. God was showing that our trust must be in Him.
  2. We are not alone, the Lord is with us as well.
    1. Turn to Matthew 1:23: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).
    2. Now, turn to Matthew 3:11: John the Baptist is talking and he says: “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
    3. The Lord is with us today through the Holy Spirit.
    4. The Lord is with us today through the church.
    5. The Lord is with us today through His Word, the Bible.
    6. Trust Him.
    7. Reed Lessing tells the story of a Native American ritual for training young braves:

      “On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, he was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then he had never been away from the security of his family and tribe. But on this night he was blindfolded and taken miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of thick woods. By himself. All night long. Terrifying! How out of his element the young brave must have felt. How very un-BRAVE, in fact.

      Every time a twig snapped, he probably visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. Every time an animal howled, he imagined a wolf leaping out of the darkness. Every time the wind blew, he wondered what more sinister sound it masked. No doubt it was a terrifying night for many.

      After what must have seemed like an eternity, the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was the boy’s father. He had been there all night long. It is a lesson in bravery … in independence. But it is an important lesson in DEPENDENCE as well. Tribe and family matter. You aren’t alone, even when you are most lonely.

    8. Sometimes we cannot see God or feel that He is with us, but He is.
    9. In 2 Cor. 12:7-10: Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh,a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • Let’s apply this, where is our trust?
    1. Is our trust in our bank account? Notice that God did not have Gideon raise funds to win the battle.
    2. Is our trust in a large group of friends? Notice that the army came down from 32,000 to 300 and God won the battle.
    3. Is our trust in our house? Is our trust in our possessions?
    4. These things don’t work, our trust must be in God.
    5. God is with us and when we are weak He is strong.

Close:

I have a refrigerator box up here and I want to see if you can see me if I get into it.

[get in the box]

Sometimes we are get in these boxes in life. Sometimes we do things that make us get into the boxes and sometimes things just happen.

Sometimes we mess up and we are “boxed in.” Sometimes we have unfortunate circumstances happen to us.

Sometimes we have an affair and we are stuck in the affair, we are boxed in.

Sometimes we start looking at pornography and we can’t break the addiction.

Other times we get into addictive habits of spending and our budget is a mess and that harms relationships as well.

Maybe we didn’t choose the situation we are in. Maybe we are a caregiver and we are absolutely overwhelmed. We cannot care for our self because we are always caring for someone else.

Maybe we are trying to recover from a job loss or the death of a loved one.

We are boxed in and we cannot get out of the box.

We try pushing but it doesn’t work. Maybe one of the Browns Quarterbacks will help, or maybe the bronze bust of a hall of fame recipient. I don’t think so. Maybe money will get me out of the situation, but not all of them. We try praying harder… I am a firm believer in prayer, but I think God has another solution.

[at that point a few of our church people come up and cut me out of the box]

God is present in His church.

God may want you to accept help from a pastor, a counselor, a Christian friend.

God was present with Gideon. God is present in you and in us.

Trust God.

Pray

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-389/a-conquering-courageous-faith-part-2