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Shadows of Greatness: Failure, Triumph, and Faith

Richard Walton



  • July 30, 2011
    10:00 AM
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thank you for the new phone message and song good morning and happy Sabbath I rest for today in shadows of greatness failure try and take I like to begin the reading from the book of first annual chapter two in verse nine first annual chapter two verse nine he will keep the feet of his saints and the wicked shall be silent in darkness for by strength shallowly prevail I've chosen this morning to share with you the story of three lives why is the Samson Saul and Paul the first two just looked like rising stars big brawny Hansen the third were not sure maybe he was good-looking perhaps is one of his disciples suggested he was a bit on the mountainside but all three undoubtedly entered the world on tracks that seemed headed straight for the stars all would share violent deaths but other than three only one could look through that experience could look through the final storm will all face at some point in seeing for story number one the first is why we will discuss today is the story of sense a miracle child and you noticed how a lot of the miracle babies are to be found throughout life Isaac C no John the Baptist Jesus himself and yes dear dread exams the Samsung was a miracle in Jenin in the morning when half but forgot it to a childless couple let's open the word judges chapter thirteen verses two and three judges thirteen verse two and there was a certain man of Sauron of the family of the Dan I see his name was Manoah and his wife was there and were not in the angel of the Lord appeared to the one and said to her behold now thou art fair and embarrassed not that you will conceive and bear a son and pictured what is in some historical context for forty long miserable years Israel has been under the boot of the Philistines crops stolen animals taken slaves taken villages cities destroying eight people in slavery for forty dreadful years actually longer than the nation had wandered in the wilderness it was time for a new generation a generation of young people to come in to change the status quo and to deliver the country from the nested sunken and pretty much whatever the pioneers of the Adventist message most of them young people most of them under twenty years of old came together at a magic moment in history to bring us the agonist message so you have to drink a dream in Israel can overcome its captivity I dreamed it would be carried by a powerful young man born into a godly home with Harrisburg elementary even prenatally reversed for now therefore beware I pray you and drank not wine nor strong drink and eat not any fun clean thing before a child is even anymore and the angel of the Lord is null and his wife prenatal instructions for the care and raising of the special child why is I sure a lot of you are familiar with today's prenatal research that has shown third trimester babies in utero reacting to the outside world when her parents argue they moved closer and listen when there's music they react to it they are aware of the outside world they know what's going on and it shapes who they will become as an adult course at a nudist long before we had himself an angel comes to Samson 's parents and says be very very careful how you raise this child even from before he is born he's paying attention he knows what's happening he is affected either choices that you will make so per se after the consent of the mother of Sansone runs home and Intel's Linnell of this news is that how the child is to be raised to know himself prays for direction as to how to raise his son verse eight Manoa entreats the Lord and says oh my Lord let the man of God which you did send coming into us and teach us what we will do to the child that you are giving us to the child that will be born so not only has the mother received prenatal care instructions nominal and self praise to God attaching active innocence asking for how to raise his son how do I do it right here I was raising a child in the way he would have indigo and so do humble peasants through a simple prayer find themselves on a route to a meeting with a mighty extraterrestrial who will give them the guidance they are seeking skipped out of Ursula Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the land and said to him are you the man that spoke to my wife said I am in no SNL I words come to pass how shall we order the child and what shall we do to them how do we get it right by the way at answering from the extraterrestrial visitor where else that you heard that answer given to a challenge from a very powerful Jewish priest a high priest I had charity in the name of the living God that thou tell us who you are and Jesus answered and said what I can so here is to humble cousins before the creator of the universe and the angel of the Lord says the Manolo ball that I said to the woman let the wearer once again prenatal postnatal care instructions for the child diet cameras godly atmosphere and most importantly do not cut he is here verse fourteen she may not even anything that comes of the vine neither drink wine nor strong drink during any unclean thing all I commanded her wet her observe this is here anything why was it important that Sampson never had a paragraph in no razor advertisers and why the Lord wanted him to be fashionable and long hair was in that what is so special that he reminded about the cutting of hair answered differently some of you will remember the story of Queen Esther said story it is still celebrated in the Jewish faith today with a festival called Paris where you have these little triangulation cookies that are pastries that are supposed to represent payment years some people said it was aimed at and then is this big festival in fact it's the one time an entire year when devout practicing Jews are allowed to get totally smashed drunk because of celebration of the deliverance of Israel and every time Haman comes on the stage and in the plaintiff they put on yet is a lawyer 's makers neglected things around he has been learned by the untestable but before you get them a happy part of hissing and booing Haman and getting drunk to celebrate the victory of Israel what did Mordecai did when he found out about that first close cut his hair and wore sackcloth and ashes busy to the Jewish mind that carrying a parent adding a pair is designed to show rate and read the loss of a loved one of the extermination of the Jewish state why is it important exams and not that he is there because not having his hair as a sign that the war is over and the Impressionist ended victory is at hand it is time to celebrate power is about to be seen as never before in history on Israel is going to be free I divinely empowered man it is time to begin celebrating overwhelmed the Noah wants to do something to celebrate is good news and is obviously not a rich man when God visited Abraham Abraham Slade a Fatah cat all or Manolo can afford is one of his belt and as he sitting there preparing the sacrifice he asked a question that has been gnawing at his mind though is this wonderful visitor what is his name back comes the answer wonderful beyond comprehension with that heavenly guest is gone up in smoke of the fire and disappears seven when no one is lying on the ground of their faces to the errors in the knowledge age first he says the widget we had seen the face of God what is life like most of Jewish mothers apply to all logic and classic Jewish rhetoric to the questionnaire has been closed so already I can tell a slightly topless while at uncle survived her encounter with divinity and when Samson is born he is given a special lane his name means like the sun and adventure began it probably went really good right up until puberty yet and somewhere in the unmanned that Sansone 's foremost collided with cultural expectations and it came time for him to find why you look around at the available candidates and he walked in one day and he said mom dad of reliving Loma Linda him to mom and dad and yes there's lots of nice girls here they said oh yeah just down the road of this baseball San Bernardino I know they are look for life this village is called spirit right now and they say it's a gentleman 's club maybe I can find somebody there that he ever notice that places like that engage in shameless false advertising rather than being a gentleman 's club I think the appropriate title would probably be dirty old man's club no one 's ever brought a lawsuit where any rate Sansone yes and it was cars trucks offer that era 's version of Sandra do it all away as usually happens God throws a roadblock in his ever noticed that when God has planned for you and you try to stray away from it that God puts roadblocks in your way CLR doesn't give up easy he keeps throwing obstacles in your path to remind you of what the divine plan is sometimes he allows misfortunes to push us back onto the right road if it doesn't work on planning and there's a plan B is not planned even Clancy got tried in every way he can even through misfortune to push us back on the right road the salvage as much as possible even from our own wasted lives in our own mistakes sometimes he is whether they will use this with Samson he tried a lot I know the Bible says Samson 's trip to fill in the list yet was God 's doing but understanding to the Hebrew what time does not prevent he is believed to have caused an guy was obviously trying to send Sampson a serious wake-up call but God also get a nice young man supernatural strength and now Samsung uses it on one very surprised soon to be ex-wife you see Sampson 's first mistake or perhaps a second was using God 's gifts not for others benefit but for his own you might note that during his time on this earth that is one mistake Jesus never he never used his supernatural power to help anyone that included himself always always always the Lord used his power to help others unfortunately for Samson the focus of his gift now those to himself he feels brutally and quickly is awesome strength his reflection in the mirror what do I look by after finding a wife not from his own people still basking at the memory of his exploited his wedding he tries to do something clever and keep them alive with a written which led his games usually due to the female playing better than the guy who started in our regular judges chapter fourteen and for sixty and Samson 's wife wept before and said how does that hate me and you love me not you would look for the rental to the children of my people but you haven't told me and Samson said you were behold I have not followed to my father or my mother and why should I tell it to you so get the picture we got a hole we go you don't love me you never love me and even Superman finally can't take it anymore and the next as five predictable things in life virtues to call the male syndrome what's the first it's in the next verse was the first thing chance and that correctly gated so step number one the male syndrome is in the next ninety days after there's one thing that happens before he leaves that's actually step number three September two yes man step number three he leaves one step number four is right all and when he gets mad he overreacts he gets mad he leaves but after he overreacts gets man leaves what's the next thing he does not like there that number four eight yes runners remorse step number five he comes back and then we go through the whole cycle again including he gets mad he killed Watson are just as lots of boxes kills lots of people burns lots of wheatfields and so forth up but before we get there does this pattern of the male syndrome sound familiar to any of the men in the audience the razor of cell Sampson returns becomes back steps number five only to find his new bride in the arms of his vestment she was long other than that Samson how did you enjoy your wedding once again Samson uses his enormous awesome personal strength to his own personal advantage and begins an increasingly vicious slaughter of the Philistines first it was thirty victims than revenge on the entire gang that had murdered his ex-wife then finally one thousandth combat hardened Philistine infantry slain with the jawbone of an amazing how when heroes of faith step off of God 's path they find themselves creepily confronted by acids they love Sampson occasionally they can use into their benefit as did Samson because there was no stopping this incredible hulk of a man his biceps carried in their tissues things attendance the gift of cosmic power for a time Sansone seems to have learned his lesson and his wife and his choices seem to have retreated to an uneasy peace for twenty years he judged Israel but as members of Congress like to remind us even middle-age is no guarantee of moral rectitude and so Samson the giant fell once more this time to a prostitute in godsend godless hero the judge of Israel let holder of an enormous cosmic gift awaits and shame to the noise of the snoring Philistine whore in this tiny actively and why this came in carrying the gains of the city video roadblocks was God still trying to call him back before the ultimate disaster but still his hormones ruling rather than reason and finally he makes the ultimate unrecoverable mistake our name is the wildland she probably was really something to see but that was Sampson wouldn't be seeing her for very long because of Murray would lose everything strength hope destiny even his site once worn by at least a champion in Israel ultimately behaved like one until the Philistines put him to work like one and a giant end of his life in an agony of darkness having shut its eyes to the truth he lost the capacity to see at all and the young man for his Godhead incredible dreams left nothing but a wretched story of what my all that thought will come back to it before we close but first let's talk about the energy lines number two is solved somewhere around ten ninety five BC his son was born to a man named fish he must of been a special child he was named Saul which literally translated means desire anticipated dream to a lesser degree than Samson he too was a half head and shoulders taller than the other guys Captain of his high school football team a manly man was a former governor of the state like to call the and probably a ladies man as well charmingly he appears to have been a little bitch John is probably didn't hurt his image with the young ladies of all and song the future champion of Israel was born in a magic moment on a crest of a wave of change for centuries the Philistines eradicate Israel after Samson 's terrible mistake in Israel began to wonder they got things seem to be doing pretty well is that their secret never bothering to realize that Israel's King in light of the star got accepted their rejection of the Samuel is commanded to set the change in motion to find Israelite King a human king to lead in one day a tall young man tired and bewildered on the hunt for a few lost donkeys ambled into the next district of two that is its name the man's attitude Thursday and nearly broke anyone can read the whole story first annual chapter nine let me quickly paraphrasing for his young guy named Saul desired the anticipated one was hoping to buy some help from Sanyo for a quarter of his check was all the money you have left but he figured that this famous seer might be able to help him find his father 's lost donkeys instead single taken to the public see that the waiters bring in a special pad of needed was a entire leg of something the Bible doesn't tell us what and on the way out Samson reached for a horn of oil import data on his head notice the symbolism here the Holy Spirit is being poured onto this young man the Holy Spirit obviously entered his mind because he soon began to prophesy the beginning is so stellar so blessed one wonders how anything could possibly ever go but it first time is always brilliant I see analyzed as the descendent of Watson sisters younger daughter be seeing job Gilead and graciously offering them survival of every man in the town would voluntarily blind himself in his right to such a wonderful opportunity to Janice Billy and did not immediately accept instead what they did was they sent out a call across all of Israel Saul heard that call he said I want every Israelite and bear arms to meet me he raised to three hundred and thirty thousand man army and then proceeded to do a classic envelopment in depth in doing so saw proved himself to be an incredibly capable general particularly in deploying three separate divisions of his army in a classic pincher movement at night and by the time the morning came my contact is incredibly difficult particularly back then when they did not have night vision devices for infrared imaging thermal imaging salt leads three parts of his army into a classic and all in and at at night and by the time Don comes there is not enough left of the Ammonite army leave and find each other but Saul faced with the greatest challenge most biblical heroes of faith encountered couldn't seem to handle his own success he couldn't follow the divine playbook and swollen with his own importance he presumed to act as a priest which Samuel rebuked for solid and not learn his lesson and that his victory over the Amalek writes he couldn't resist taking spoils in direct contravention of God instructions and some of those spoils of victory included prisoners who would bring into the very heart of Israelite toxic form of idolatry after that got said that fateful worlds worst a single first annual chapter fifteen in verse ten I am green I have made Saul king for Samuel is so distressed that Disney cried all night and the next day he went out a surprise else all the foot of Mount caramel where I believe in us all is erecting a monument to himself as Daniel delivered guys tragic pink slip is notice of termination first annual Chapter fifteen verses seventeen and twenty three although you were once small in your own eyes the Lord has rejected you asking song licensing down on the crest of Charley seemed to be headed straight for the start it ended in melancholy of depression bouts of homicidal insanity and finally in which is VMware 's violent death was for the wine like Samson he couldn't resist looking at the person God has blessed and forgetting where the blessing came from which leads us the story number three solving became Paul JJ was born the good fortune in the city and Tarsus on the southern coast of today's Turkey Tarsus basked in the warmth of the northern Mediterranean and in the Roman civil wars it had taken the side of Caesar and was either remailed investors made a free city renowned for education was compared by Strabo to Athens in Alexandria and from as well the intellectual center came a young devout Jewish last name Saul again and a means desire a grew up ritually observing Shabbat Friday evening services Sabbath day rest and at sunset probably something like the days that followed to commemorate the seventh somehow I found his way to Jerusalem where he studied law and under Galileo one of the most brilliant jurists in time in fact of all time and tolerating originate law young soul became a clerk to the Israeli Supreme Court like all of the disciple he was a clerk of the court 's clerk for gamelan one of the brightest and best members that a jurist so brilliant that together with his archrival Hillel became a noted sage you in all likelihood and committed the entire Torah the memory and could one ask debate out donate the entire Sanhedrin in fact it was Galileo whose brilliant defense of the early Christian church bought been a critical time they needed to survive and prosper so here's young Paul clerking for one of the court 's brightest jurists was on track in fact become a member of the Sanhedrin himself as today where one wants an appointment on the federal bench the surest way to get heirs to clerk for a federal judge young Paul does the right thing against the absolute desk job you can have straight out of law school he goes to work for one of the best jurist in the nation 's history and unlike today where you actually have to go out and prove you can do something before you are nominated by the president for the federal bench in ancient Israel the great Sanhedrin had a special role of jurisprudence that to my knowledge is unique among legal history I never found any other court followed this rule of procedure but the Sanhedrin was so committed to saving the life of innocent people that in any capital gains were at the side of her daughter of Israel was on trial for their lives if they disciple of the court the clerk of the court could think of a theory that would save the life of the accused it had not occurred in the other seventy one members of the court that young person was in as an elemental life membership as a justice of the greatest the great Sanhedrin so here's solid with one murder trial on one right idea one K someone bright idea between him and membership on Israel's highest court a young disciple candidate member perfectly willing to cultivate anyone who might give them a hand up the letter even if that meant holding the outer clothes of an remembers of the great Sanhedrin vent on stoning and nobody seems to notice also they are keeping the rich garments out of the dirt he watched something that he would soon your standards seem to look straight into the cosmos is a time and space no longer existed as a corridor at Elven straight to the cosmic drone at that time as soul who would become Paul watch this play out the only became angry and anger that may have carried more than a little political but one day one day solve the rising star of conservative observant Israel and what today we would call the Department of Homeland Security was nearing the Damascus gate with a gaggle of Temple police and possibly some off-duty for higher legionnaires bent on destroying Christianity where life Stephen that same cosmic corridor opened and he saw the threat unlike Sampson unlike soul the King of Israel when I happened to solve it would become Paul it was not yet two is a solid not yet knowingly reject injured he was missing for learned that he was lost Santos all again and again informed and dishonest dishonest with themselves dishonest with their destiny dishonest with their lower when someone is out all the trees they know God bears long God forgives for long periods of time and also all the probably struggle with a lifelong visual impairment because like Samson 's all also lost his sight we saw the cosmic through all assault would probably live the rest of his life not seeing very well to remind him how close he came to losing everything salt was capable of becoming a new me a new man named Paul in that name there is a very important story to tell me know what Paul means it means little little in his own eyes nothing he went from being desire to be a little and after learning experience in Athens he realized he had nothing to say nothing that is except Christ and him crucified three stories of three lines all began well all three had privileged promise opportunity and divine blessing all three between one legends of Israel one thing one to judge wanting clerk to the highest court in the land and ultimately the head of a major Israeli agency but not when historians for any damage why why why job defending white-collar criminals is taught me the true measure of a person is not their successes but their failures initiated in a failure it is how we react to failure that we discover our true character and Saturdays sitting here in one of the finest educational institutions in the world and one of the nicest and most pleasant places to live in what is still the greatest nation on earth most of you can identify with the way these stories began your privileged you have a future of opportunities limited only by what you can drink you are blessed but he will also face disappointments like Samson Saul and Paul he will try and sometimes fail he will face physical emotional and spiritual challenges perhaps that is why so much of the Bible is devoted to stories of people who faced great challenges and frequently fail themselves the Lord the question is not whether he will face trials and fail in the times the question is how you will react and overcome and so today let us consider how each of those three stories in Seoul tall good-looking a one-time prophet of God and King of Israel and in the journey began with God 's blessing and presence utterly alone having abandoned his faith he sought out handle which has been hit by last few hours on this Earth before committing suicide watching his sons die in the nation he'd been charged with protecting the destroyed and what if Samson the giant of Israel its judge a man capable of killing one thousand trained combat infantryman 's Barry Batman ended up chained we working like the animal God tried to use the worn is a sense of his greatest weakness and then his eyes so that those away from everyday after day week after week year after year Israel's former champion walked in a circle on it and it was by those who used to fear one wonders what went through his mind all those years perhaps memories of his childhood and of godly parents a letter saying the Sabbath allow the father reading from the Torah memories of Sabbath services in his bar mitzvah where he was called the law perhaps he also remembered and regretted his mistakes but as time went on tragic Samson so strong in many ways and weak in others trapped in his prison of darkness finally saw blade always missed when he had to get division at his only strength was the God he had been and so he began to pray first you probably pray for forgiveness than for just enough strength to do the menial work demanded of him by the Philistines and finally a man his name and what son no one are so blinded by God 's blessings that he could not see from where they came thinking small historic event in their but unlike solve this story and was in solitary tragedy Samson reminds us that even the worst failures can be redeemed by God adding finally learned to pray to see God through world of blackness sense trying to see the Philistines made a mistake in believing they were dealing with a man whose strength could be changed and so the final chapter Samson 's wife was written with him standing in a pagan temple to be ridiculed as a man who is Israel's judge captured in the arms of a prostitute but standing there in chains all Samson could see was his faith and he began to pray shall I say out in a live volcano Carol Israel the Lord is our God the Lord is one dear God just one more time it'd be here with the headmaster not for me but for your people for you history tells us that with one final divine blessing with one act of incredible superhuman strength tragic sense indicate escape this prison of darkness and Brian ended more of God 's presence in one act and he has his entire life by himself finally they are Rosalie I must think of Paul probably the least attractive of the three also probably the smartest like Samson he would lose his sight Lysol he was anointed by God as a leader of his church like about he would suffer a violent probably be heading if history is to be believed but but unlike Saul who went to his death in a hopeless fog of spiritual dimension which is curse or Samson he went to his anniversary inspired act of strength Paul looked through the gray to see a graph and to know without a question with that he would one day seeking three stories of three lives I suggest to you today the agent he was writing the story of your life everything one choice at the time when it is done it will sell triumphs and yes it failures of challenges faced in choices but how would that today and for every day to come is up to you thank you all she


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