ESSAY-LIKE SUNDAY MORNING: Today’s lesson was entitled, DESTINED FOR GREATNESS. The Scripture was from Judges 13:1-7, 24-25. The KEY VERSE was verse 5 which reads, “You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” (NIV)
Samson was a man destined for greatness. As we will see in this message, before he was born, Samson was chosen for a great mission by God. His life was marked by great victories and by even greater failures. He was a man used by the Holy Spirit, but utterly ruled by the flesh. Samson was the strongest man who ever lived, yet he was also the weakest. Samson was dedicated to God before his birth, but dedicated to himself until the day of his death. In the end, his weaknesses nearly negated all of his strengths.
If you were to pick up an old high school yearbook and flip its sepia-colored and dog-eared pages to the section entitled SENIOR SUPERLATIVES, you would probably find pictures of students who were labeled as the “BEST” and the “MOST” of that class by a committee of their peers. Among these students, one in particular that you might find there is “THE MOST LIKELY to SUCCEED”. This individual is generally considered to be “DESTINED FOR GREATNESS”.
However, I’m sure that we all know of cases when those ambitious predictions failed to come to fruition. In some unfortunate cases, someone whom everyone thought would be the MOST, later in life did not meet the expectations that others had for them, or even those expectations they may have had for themselves.
Now imagine that this yearbook is dated 1100 B.C.E. In that year, a young man named Samson was a Senior. Samson hadn’t been a particularly good student, yet the caption beneath his picture in the SENIOR SUPERLATIVE section of the 1100 B.C.E. Zorah High School yearbook reads, MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED. The yearbook staff had selected Samson for this honor because they, along with everyone else in Zorah, knew that Samson had been consecrated to God since before his birth and was therefore, DESTINED for GREATNESS!
But if we could have somehow dropped in at various intervals in Samson’s life, we would have noted that there were points along the timeline at which Samson was LESS THAN GREAT. Conversely, there were moments of immense GREATNESS! There were moments of great VICTORY against the Philistines. If however, we’d dropped in on Samson after he’d revealed the secret of his strength to Delilah and had subsequently been captured by the Philistines, we would have found this once GREAT man blinded, bound in shackles, and humiliated by the same enemy he’d once, single-handedly, slain by the thousands.
If we’d stopped right there though, we would have missed an EPIC ENDING! We would have missed Samson fulfilling his DESTINY of GREATNESS. We would have missed seeing him leaning against the great pillar, praying to God for the return of his strength. We would have missed him, after having put all of his faith in God, flexing as he felt his strength returning. We would have missed seeing his biceps bulge as he strained against the massive pillars. We would have missed the low rumble as the pillars began to grate along their foundation’s surface. We would have missed the partying Philistines looking about in confusion and awe as dust and bits of stone began falling from the ceiling. We would have missed seeing first one pillar, then the next slip and topple from their foundations. We would have missed it as, with a great thunder, tons of marble and rock crashed down upon the Philistines AND SAMSON as he achieved his DESTINY; the DESTINY appointed to him by GOD since before he was born. His DESTINY was to be a tool of destruction to the Philistines; God’s tool to show HIS GREATNESS!
God has also consecrated US! We are DESTINED FOR GREATNESS. There may be moments of weakness along the way, but as Isaiah said, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”.