Stopping A Hill Short

Judges 16:1 – Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.

Judges 16:2 – And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.

Judges 16:3 – And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.

Hey all, new blog today. I’ve blogged on this before, but time to blog on this again. It’ll take a time to get to the point of the blog, will be quite an introduction!! (chasing rabbit trails) until I address the title of the blog!! The thought today will be “stopping a hill short” (as the title suggests). Samson went to Gaza. He went to the Philistine stronghold… Gaza actually means strong/stronghold. Big problem… we spend a lot of time in places and doing things we have no business being involved in. Satan is strong, our flesh and our lust is strong… Samson’s Nazarite vow was one of separation (after all Nazarite means separate)… all believers are separated… and separated UNTO Christ… and the Holy Spirit separates us by regenerating us spiritually, renewing our minds, transforming us into the image of Christ. But we are more like Samson, he is actually a great picture of  Christians today including myself. Blessed with such great blessings, such great power and potential and opportunity… but instead waste and regret. We camp out in the wilderness, we will never enter the promised land. There will be no Canaan for us. Judges 13:25 – And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. Samson was an “at times” believer.  Samson’s just like us, saved, but spend most of the time in the flesh, walking according to our own eyesight, living carnally. Are you only at times? You do a little bit here and there, but you shut your Bible, or leave church, and straight back to your “other” mode, your “other” life. And is your destination, like Samson’s was, destruction?

Samson had great strength, and so do we, if we are born again the Spirit of God resides in us!!! … but we like him instead live carnally and fleshly, we live low, and we are brought low. Sow to the flesh, and of the flesh reap corruption, our life which is a life of death rather than the abundant life Jesus promised us… Samson had a stronghold in his life, and the stronghold got him. He went and dwelt in enemy territory, and it brought him down. We often live in enemy territory, and we also are dragged down. Jesus was amongst sinners, but the Bible also says he was separate from sinners and undefiled and holy. Psalm 1, blessed is the man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful… but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night… and he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water which bringeth forth his fruit in his season!!! What person do you want to be? Do you want blessings or cursings? Life or death?

Samson thought he could hang out in Philistine territory and not get burnt. So we also live dangerously, we put ourselves in bad company, in bad situations, we push the limits of things. We like Christianity, but we also have a healthy appetite for other things… for getting our “portion of life”. After all we all have the same lusts and desires. I want to do this, this and that just like the next person. We live on the edge, we are edgy. We push boundaries. And we circle the drain, we circle, we circle, and then boom, down the sink, and flushed away. Our life flushed down the drain. Samson got his eyes put out. Easy to say that, but think of them actually gouging his eyes out. Think that was fun, a pretty sight? Did it feel good getting his eyes gouged out? Or was it painful and bloody and gross? And living carnally will put your eyes out. Satan wants to put your eyes out, and he will. We can start out so well, we get saved, we are on fire for God, and years later, our eyes are out completely. Our lives are flaming wreckage. Powerless, defeated, numb, jaded, just ticking by. Your spiritual eyes are probably completely out already. If you don’t read your Bible you don’t have your spiritual eyes on. If you are not born again, you never had spiritual eyes to begin with. And there you are, grinding away in the prison house. Judges 16:21 – But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

And we today can end up just as as Samson. Because the Philistines put his eyes out and then put him to work… for them!!! Have you lived a life like this, you’re actually not just rendered useless, you’re fighting for the wrong team!!! Everything you say and do is actually in violation of God’s word! We can get so messed up, mixed up that we don’t know right from wrong, good from evil… it can easily happen. Satan will mix us right up. And you’re assisting the enemy now!! You oppose truth, you oppose God’s word, you’re so gone that you’re now against what is right and good. And now you’re making food for the enemy. Prospering the enemy! Helping the devil! He is after your worship and praise and life and witness and testimony… he wants it all, and he will get all of it and you. He’ll sift your life until it’s all gone… his ultimate prize is your eternal soul, he is going to the lake of fire and he’ll take you with him. And you are a Christian, but a carnal Christian, who’s been entangled in a life of worldliness, fleshliness, carnality… the carnal mind is death… you thought you were enjoying Christian liberty, but instead you are a slave to sin, your life is ruin, waste, vanity. And it is tiring… we all get tired, because Satan doesn’t give rest to you, the world has no rest and peace, it is TIRING… enter into Christ’s rest, his finished work on the cross …. it is finished. He is SET DOWN at the right hand of the Majesty on High!

We can be seated in heaven just like he is! But instead are you’re just grinding corn for the enemy. Satan is prospering off of you. Just like the FAT king of Moab in Judges… the enemy is fattening himself on you. Think of all the false prophets and teachers today, rich!!! they’re making merchandise of the flock. Taking people for all they’re worth. They go to church, and are fed drivel and keep coming back. And we get to such a spiritually deplorable state we are just like in 2 Kings 6:25 – And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.What is actually worthless, just as ass’s heads and dove’s dung are, we value highly!!! We say worthless pepole are great men of God… empty sermons are powerful… we settle for and take something so infinitely inferior! It is so sad! We place high value on something worthless, we trade in for rubbish when God has got truly good things for us. All because of the famine… the spiritual famine in our case. There is a big spiritual famine on right now. A famine of the preaching of the word of God, and also a famine of HEARING of the word of God. We go to church, get nothing out of it, get no Bible, get nothing of actual spiritual value (sure we get some flashing lights, emotional music and an experience and “feel” moved and get some good social time and we are like wow church was great…), but we don’t GROW in the faith, we don’t grow spiritually, we aren’t built up in the faith. There is nothing of substance going on.

It’s time to wake up. Samson went down to Gaza and ended up with a harlot. He saw a harlot, and his sight hooked him. Lust of the eyes. You follow your lusts, and you’ll go straight to destruction. Samson was in the fornication business. We all fornicate, physically and spiritually. We cheat on God all the time. We can get physically seduced, but also spiritually seduced. And the spiritual seduction is more harmful. 1 John says these things have I written concerning them that seduce you. Because Satan wants to get you away from truth, and he’ll seduce you from it with more flashy preaching, flashy new Bibles, flashy this, things which hook us and please us. But that will take us down. Carnal minds, carnal living, always ends one way. You’ll end up completely selling yourself out for the pleasure of sin that only lasts for a season. But the end is bitter. It was for Samson, it will be for you. Be sure your sin will find you out. It’s found me out. It’s found out every person that’s ever lived. Mark it down. And as Samson was lying there, the enemy was compassing him. Closing in. We might not see it, but the noose is tightening around our neck. We feel safe but we are in mortal danger. And the enemy is building its forces around you today and tonight as you read this. And if you aren’t truly saved, you are going to hell. The only reason Samson wasn’t destroyed was because he was saved. It wasn’t because he was any good though, but rather it was God’s goodness and mercy and longsuffering. If you are not saved, if you have not repented of your sins and placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, if you have not been born again of the Spirit of God you are going to hell.

The Philistines said… When it is day, we will kill him. And when the day of the Lord comes, which comes as a thief… it’ll be too late. When you die and stand before God, it’ll be too late to fix your life, to repent. Judgement will be a time of sentencing, not a time to make things right. There won’t be negotiation or compromise. The books will be opened. Maybe a book you’ve never opened that’s been there gathering dust. God warned you, but you would have none of it. And what’s next for you is the day of the Lord in your life, the day when God deals with you, maybe the day you die, maybe the last time God visits your soul and convicts you of sin and leads you to salvation… your time of visitation… but you refuse… All that’s left is sheer hopelessness… judgement, wrath, destruction. If you don’t get right with God, you’re not right with God, and God’s wrath abides on you even right now. The Bible says God is angry with the wicked every day. 2 Thessalonians 1:8 – In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Something woke Samson up at midnight… he was with the harlot, and then he woke up. And something needs to wake you up. It is high time to awake. Samson awoke at midnight, and he escaped. His entire life is one of escape, he got himself in bad situations, and God bailed him out time and time again. And God has bailed you out a lot. The Bible says the goodness of God leads us to repentance. And truly God is good and has been to you and to me. The Bible says the long suffering of God is salvation. How true is that. Every saved person sees just how long suffering God has been with them and how utterly undeserving they are of his immense grace and mercy. But time is running out. Because this was the final deliverance before he wasn’t delivered. In this same chapter, God departed from him, he got his eyes gouged out, and he was a laughing stock of the enemy. God’s name blasphemed by his actions. Is your life blaspheming God’s name? You don’t say “Jesus Christ”, in fact you speak fairly noble and good things… but you curse him with your life, you deny, you betray him with the way you live. What you do… how you live… and our lives speak greater than our great, swelling words. And because you lived your own way and burnt your witness and testimony, your life is now more useful to the enemy than to God.

But the Bible says his hair began to grow again… it got shaved off, and all seemed hopeless as he blindly ground corn for the enemy in prison. But God is the God of the second chance, the third chance, the fourth chance, the hundreth chance … but don’t take his chances for granted. Samson’s story is powerfully full of redemption, mercy, hope, for the most desperate of sinners, for a despairing powerless misspent life. In Gaza he just awoke. And we need God to wake us… please wake me up God. And it’s going to take God’s power to wake all of us. I didn’t save myself. I didn’t seek God out. God found me. God’s going to need to find you. Jesus said no man can or will come to him except the Father draw him. That’s why salvation is scary, because it is our choice, but it also takes the Holy Spirit. It takes God… if God is done with you, you can’t get saved. Do you “born again” yourself? No the Holy Spirit does it. Do you convict yourself… no, the Holy Spirit does. Repentance and salvation are a work of the Holy Spirit, if he isn’t there and doing it, you can’t get saved. So if God refuses to do it, and he has that right to be done with you, he doesn’t owe you a thing… you can’t be saved can you. Jesus also said if he is lifted up, he would draw all men unto him. And that’s what these blogs are about, lifting Jesus up to a lost and dying world, lifting Jesus up… I myself need to come to him. I need the same salvation and hope that anyone else needs. He was lifted up on the cross and throughout history every saved person saved by that sacrifice of himself. His blood, his cross, he took the curse, he took my sin upon himself. All this does not excuse us. If you are lost, you should call upon the name of the Lord. Seek him. Plead with him, if it’s not too late. Something happened at the midnight of my life, something needs to happen at midnight in your life. When will the penny drop? Will it ever drop? Or will you sleep on?

Samson arose and went away. They had shut the gates of the city, but he took the gates and everything with him. But he just walked away with the door. And just like with Samson, victory is there for us. Satan has no hold on you, it’s all bluff and propaganda. There is nothing the blood of Jesus can’t break. Jesus is all powerful, he said all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Jesus’ claim to a soul trumps the devils claim. We really need to go to Jesus… seek the Lord, seek the Master! Don’t let him pass you by. Lay hold on him, call on him. Look at the man possessed of Legion in the Gadarenes, Jesus arrived, and they (the devils) went out, Satan has no stake on your soul. He’ll only take the ground you give him. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the believer. Satan has absolutely no hold on a believer. In fact, all he’s got is illusion, bluff, accusation, he’s actually got nothing on someone who’s been washed and cleansed in the blood of Christ. Yet he wins so much in our life. Because we are our own worst enemy, we bring destruction upon ourselves, he just assists us getting there. Hey, we all ruin our lives. In fact, we can positively DESTROY our lives. The biggest problem is ME. When Peter was set free from prison by the angel of the Lord, the angel lead him out and in Acts 12 we read in verse 10 – When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. The gate opened to them of his own accord… the gates will open to you, you need but take victory in your life, you need but take salvation, you need but just accept and receive the gospel. It is that hard? The Jordan river parted as soon as they stepped in, will you step in that Jordan?

But the sad part is… and the point of this blog is… “stopping a hill short”. Samson awoke and escaped Gaza and took the doors of the city with him. It was so amazing the deliverance of God. But Samson stopped a hill short of his destination. The hill before Hebron! He didn’t quite get… to Hebron. He came that far, why not go a bit further!!! We can come so far, but will we go ALL the way, the FULL way? Samson stopped a hill short of his final destination. And we, all of us, stop a hill short in our own lives. We stop short of going the whole way with God. This or that stops us. Something causes us to stumble and not go the full way, not to fully follow Jesus. It could be anything… Samson never fully dealt with his problems. He got close. And it’s why he ended up with God departing from him. All of God’s mighty deliverances. All of it. He heard it all, knew it all, saw it all. But. He stopped a hill short of Hebron. And that’s what we all do. We stop short of getting right with God. We stop short of actually dealing with our sin. Hebron means confederation/association/league/alliance… take your pick. But Hebron is a place of fellowship and communion, getting right with God, getting things locked down. We walk with God by faith. But the point is, he didn’t get quite get it right with God. Fellowship was not restored. We’ve got to go all the way with God. Most of the way doesn’t count. You can get so close to truth. Jesus in Mark 12:34 … And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. We are all not far… yet not quite there for SO many.

You’ve tasted of God’s goodness. But you fall short. You received the seed, but something got it. The birds got it. The thorns came up and choked it. The ground was shallow to begin with. Are you one of those things. Or is there good ground? Good soil? Lot’s wife looked back… and Jesus said, Remember Lot’s wife. Jesus said, no man having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. Jesus called people, but they had to do this, this and that first. What kind of person, what kind of Christian are you going to be? Samson got very close, but he would learn the very hard way that the only way to victory is death. We have to practically “die to ourselves” in our life here. The day we die to ourselves and let the Lord actually be Lord of our lives is the day we start seeing some power and God really moving in our lives. It’s when the light will really start shinging and the salt will really have some savour. It was when Samson died that he won his greatest victory. Dying to yourself is the true victory, because then you live through Christ. Because we are dead, but our life is hid with Christ in God the Bible says. When you got saved, you were united in Christ’s death and burial but also in his resurrection. It’s hard to understand but it’s true. But practically in our lives we have to live in that resurrection power. Crucify the flesh, reckon ourselves to be dead unto sin but alive unto Christ. Or we can just stop that hill short. And the next thing is we’ll be sleeping in Delilah’s lap, the next thing our separation will be over… and once our separation is gone, so is our life and testimony and witness… and power. Samson woke up powerless, and God had departed from him… and he didn’t even realize it. So sad. He didn’t realize he had no power. The Bible says he wist not that the Lord departed from him. We get to such a state we don’t realize God has long gone from our lives… we wonder why we fumble in the dark, the glory is gone, God is gone, and we are now in terribly dangerous waters with the enemy, just as the Philistines were upon us.

What’s my story going to be? What’s your story going to be? Will we all stop that hill short? Will we ever make it to our Hebron? God’s been so merciful and gracious to us, so longsuffering, we don’t deserve it but he has been, but we won’t go the full way, the whole hog. We stop short of getting saved. We stop short of serving God. We stop short of putting him first. We stop short of obeying him. We stop short of many things. We make little compromises. We don’t FULLY follow, we aren’t one of those people that actually latch onto things and run with them… we are “at times”, we are partials, and our life will end up with a legacy of waste, regret, pain. It’s time to wake up, it’s time to make some moves and go the whole way with the victory and deliverance all the way to Mount Hebron.

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