Facing the Issues
Consequences of the Unequal Yoke
by Dr. Dennis Corle
“And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him. 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. Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven. Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.” (Judges 16:19-25)
I want to talk to you about The Consequences of the Unequal Yoke. It’s pretty apparent when you check the life of Samson out that he had a glaring weakness. He had a real weakness for Philistine girls. The Bible tells us in Judges 14:1-3 that he married one. Of course, that was a disaster. Then the Bible tells us in Judges 16:1-2 that he went in unto a harlot down in that land. Then in Judges 16:4, the Bible says he loved Delilah. This turned into a disaster again. He was a slow learner -- maybe a no learner -- and he continually made the same mistake. He thought that because he was physically strong that he was able to handle anything.
Sometimes we over-estimate our own strengths. Sometimes we expose ourselves to things that we really can’t handle, but we are really convinced that we can handle it.
In II Corinthians 6:14, God says we are not to engage in the unequal yoke. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:...” Then He goes through a series of rhetorical questions talking about “...for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?...” The resounding answer is there is no part that they have with one another. Where light enters, darkness is driven back. When darkness settles in, the light is smothered out. You have to put your light under a bushel to fellowship with darkness as a born again child of God. So somebody has to change in order for both to stay in an unequal yoke.
Understand that a yoke is a coupling. You have a yoke of oxen. They are in the same harness, going the same direction. You understand that you can’t have two oxen in a yoke and one of them go due north and the other go northeast. It’s not possible. One has to change courses and follow the other. You’ll notice when you begin to compromise, it’s always the person that is determined to go the right direction. Once they are determined to violate Scripture and get in or stay in an unequal yoke, they are always the ones who succumb and yield their convictions and their standards to somebody else in order to stay connected to them.
Everybody has a weakness. The Bible talks in Hebrews 12:1-2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,...” God said everyone of us has the sin that doth so easily beset us. We have our weakness. We have our area where the devil most frequently exploits us, where we are easier tempted than any other area. You may not talk to everybody about that area, but don’t look at me so pious. The only thing holding your halo up is your horns. Everybody here has weakness of some kind and you have got to be careful in certain areas because you are vulnerable.
We find with Samson he had a weakness for women and especially these worldly girls. He was attracted to them. The Bible tells us that some people were destroyed by the love of money. They may have never really attained it, but their eyes were on money and their love was of material things. There are some that power and prestige and pride, the pride of life destroys them. They are seeking some kind of position, some kind of prestige. They are working for some position, some rank somewhere.
God warns us about the danger. In I John 2:15-17 He warns us about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” The devil will tempt you by what you expose yourself to, what you set your eyes upon.
“Preacher, how do you keep from falling in love with the world? How do you keep from getting sucked into these things?” God gives us a number of verses that command us to separate. Psalm 101:3, remember David at this time had already sinned with Bathsheba. He knew the pain and misery that sin brings into a person’s life. Psalm 101:3 says, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” He didn’t say, “I won’t cleave unto it.” He said, “The last time I got to looking at what was forbidden, it got a grip on me and wouldn’t let go, and I did things I didn’t think I was capable of. I’m not going to make that mistake again. I am not going to look on what is forbidden.”
You and I need to be simple concerning evil. “What does that mean?” That means then when God said no, that’s enough. I don’t have to study it or research it or find out why He said no. If God said stay away from it, that ought to be enough. I can be simple concerning evil. David knew that he had gotten his eyes on what was forbidden, and it cost him dearly.
In Lamentations 3:51 Jeremiah said, “Mine eye affecteth mine heart...” That can be for good or for evil. He was broken hearted in the book of Lamentations because of the downfall of his people, but mark my words. Your eye affects your heart. When you look upon the wrong thing, when you expose yourself to things forbidden and gaze upon them, that’s where the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life come into the picture.
In I Thessalonians 5:22 He said, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” That means two things. Number one, it means that I stay away from anything that might appear evil. Illustration: Joseph was innocent. He had done nothing wrong with Potiphar’s wife. He didn’t make a pass, didn’t wink at her or flirt with her. He fled the house, but he couldn’t prove that he was innocent. They obviously believed her because he ended up in jail. I’m not condemning Joseph, but I am telling you that you have the power to decide that I will not get in a position where it could even be perceived that I did something I should not do. I’m going to protect my morality AND my testimony.
There is a second thing that “Abstain from all appearance of evil” means. It means that I abstain from where I know evil will make an appearance. “What do you mean by that?” You go to places and you say, “Well, I wish they wouldn’t...” It’s like going to a barroom and hoping no drunks will show up. But we keep on going to those places and events or hanging out around those people, saying, “I wish they didn’t do that.” Just abstain from where you know evil will make an appearance, instead of going there and complaining about it, doing what it always does, what you knew it would do. Just abstain from the appearance of evil.
Second Corinthians 6:17 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” He said, “...come out from among them...” first and then second He said, “...touch not the unclean thing...”
Do you know what I see people doing? I see people laboring and struggling to try to keep from touching the unclean thing without first coming out from among them. You will never keep from touching the unclean thing if you do not first come out from among them.
There is a crowd that will influence you. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,...” In the influence of the ungodly. Don’t think that you will be the exception to the rule. Don’t think that you are strong enough to handle it. First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” He said when you get around people who do the wrong thing, it will corrupt your manners. It will corrupt your standards. It will corrupt you and suck you in.
You’ve got to practice separation. By the way, preachers need to practice that theologically. Young people need to practice it. Adults need to practice it. Everybody needs to practice it. It’s not just for one group. It’s for all believers to practice. Separation is a major Bible doctrine that gets very little attention in this soft soaping generation. Everybody is looking how to be a little more accommodating and to accept the world a little more. While they do that, they put themselves in a more vulnerable position and wonder why they cannot live for God.
What you lack in innocence and strength of character must be compensated for in standards of separation. Let me say that again. What you lack in innocence and strength of character must be compensated for in standards of separation.
Have you ever noticed that if a football player has a weak knee, they compensate for the weak knee with a big brace? The brace protects the knee. Yes, there is some restriction, but whatever measure of restriction there is also supplies that measure of protection. When you take the brace off and there is no restriction, there is no protection.
What I’m trying to tell you is everybody under the sound of my voice has a weakness. Everybody here has the sin which doth so easily beset you. We need to practice separation in general, but we have got to compensate in some areas and have stronger standards and rules because we already know our character is weaker and our willpower is less in that area, so my standard of protection must be thicker and higher because I am weaker there.
Everybody doesn’t need a knee brace, but when a guy has a bad knee, it’s no shame for him to wear a brace and keep from blowing the knee completely out. Some people may need to set higher standards in certain areas and everybody needs to have high standards, but some folks need to go beyond even what the Bible says in protecting themselves in their weak area. Because if you put yourself in that vulnerable position, you are going to fall. The protection is in direct proportion to the restriction.
If you have a weakness in your abdomen or in this area of your body, you may develop a hernia. Then you must wear a truss or binder, just something that holds that hernia in so it doesn’t pop out. They’ll do that in order to restrict it. When you have that weak area, there are some things you cannot do.
If I have a weakness in my character, I must be stronger in my standard of protection. It’s that simple. The consequences of Samson’s unequal yoke were devastating to him and everybody around him.
#1. It created unbearable pressure. When he got yoked up with this Philistine girl, boy, she was pretty. She didn’t really care that much about him, and she sure didn’t care about his God and his religion and his culture. As a matter of fact, she was anti-God as far as the God of Heaven. In Judges 16:16 it says, “And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart,...” What he did, he got yoked up with her and she put constant pressure on him.
Could I say to you, as a brand new convert having never heard a sermon like I’m preaching today on separation from the wrong crowd, I had only been saved for a few months. Spring came and everybody got their motorcycles out. I had ridden motorcycles with the same bunch of guys for years. They were all lost, but in January of that year I had gotten saved. I never heard any preaching on separation. My intentions were good. I got my motorcycle out, polished it up, got it running good, went down town, got hooked up with those guys and started to ride with them. For the first week or so, I witnessed to them, but they witnessed to me, too. Did you ever notice lost people are a lot more faithful to witness for wrong than Christians are for Christ. Only they are always trying to pull you back into the world and back into sin and tell you how bad you have it as a Christian and what you are missing out on. They constantly propagate lies like their father the devil, who is a liar according to John 8:44. It’s not true, but sometimes we are quick to forget how good God has been to us. The Bible says that he was vexed unto death. He had unbearable pressure. She just kept the pressure on. When you get in an unequal yoke, you get hooked up with the wrong crowd, they will press you and press you and press you.
That’s exactly what happened to me. Within a month I got backslidden, got back into some of the very same things that I had done as a lost man. I never felt as miserable and dirty when I was lost as I did when I was backslidden. When I was lost I was in worse shape, because I was on my way to Hell, but I never felt as bad about myself.
I never felt as dirty when I was a lost man as I did when I was a backslidden Christian. The Holy Ghost of God was working in me, constantly dealing with me, and I was the most miserable man you could imagine at that point. I was at home nowhere. When I was with the heathen, I practiced what they did and was uncomfortable doing it. It wasn’t like it used to be. When I went to church, as soon as I walked in and somebody would look at me, I’d think, “Oh, no, they know.” I’d avoid people. “They know. Somebody is going to mention it to me. They know.” I’d turn and try to get away from them. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I was miserable in every arena. I didn’t fit.
You say, “The Christian life is miserable.” No, it’s not the Christian life; it’s that double life you are living. It’s that double standard you are operating by. It’s trying to keep everybody happy and ain’t nobody happy. Trying to be accommodating to the devil and sin and the world and still try to pretend you are living the Christian life. That is a miserable existence.
God warns us in Proverbs 13:30. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Don’t miss this. I am not either wise or unwise. I am either wise or I am destroyed according to Proverbs 13:20. “He that walketh with wise men...” You say, “How do you know if somebody is a wise man?” Wisdom is the ability to see things through the eyes of God. The wise man sees it from God’s perspective. God put His perspective in print right here in this Book. He wouldn’t say anything different if He stood here in a physical body today than what He’s already put in print. It’s forever settled in Heaven. He’d say the exact same thing He has already said.
The wise man is the one who sees it like God sees it, sees it from a Biblical perspective. The Bible says that if I walk with wise men, they’ll pressure me to be wise. I will feel pressure from them to be wise. I’ll feel pressure to see it like God sees it. He said that if my companions are people that are frivolous and irreverent toward God and that is what the fool is. He either says there is no God, or acknowledges that there is One, but has no respect for Him. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God....” according to Psalm 14:1.
He said, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise:...” If I walk with wise men, it sounds like they are going to influence me. “...but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” If I get yoked up with the wrong crowd, it will be my destruction. That’s Bible, folks. I didn’t make it up. It’s right there. If there is anything Proverbs 13:20 teaches, it teaches that everybody, young and old, has peer pressure. Everybody in this room has peer pressure. Every teenager has peer pressure. Every adult has peer pressure. By the way, the preachers have peer pressure.
I do not get to decide if I experience peer pressure, but I do get to decide who I will allow to put that pressure on me. I choose who my peers are. I’m going to separate from the crowd that would press me to do the wrong thing. I’m going to separate from the crowd that is frivolous and irreverent toward God and lives and thinks as a fool. I’m going to spend time with people that make me want to live more for God, that make me want to see it more like God sees it and do it like God wants it done. Samson, in his unequal yoke, got into a position where he was under unbearable pressure and caved in to it.
Don’t you remember how it was with Lot? It says his righteous soul was vexed with the filthy conversation of those wicked people in Sodom every day. He felt the pressure. It vexed his soul. It pressed him. It was unbearable pressure. He, too, succumbed to the pressure.
You are not going to put yourself under that kind of pressure and it not affect you. You cannot keep it from affecting you. Some live under the constant pressure to do wrong by lack of separating from the wrong crowd. They constantly put themselves under pressure, because they are determined to spend time with the wrong people. “I know they don’t ever go to church and they talk filthy. They have bad habits and they are practicing sin. They make fun of God, but I think they’re cool and I’m still going to spend time with them.”
You say, “Do you think you are better than them?” No, as a matter of fact, if I was better than them, I could fellowship with them. I don’t separate because I’m better; I separate because my flesh is as sorry and no good as their flesh. I don’t separate and look down my nose at them like I’m better than them. I separate realizing that if I stay yoked with them, they will put more pressure on me than I can withstand and I will do the wrong thing. I don’t separate to punish them. I separate to protect myself because I understand I am weak. I understand I am vulnerable. I understand that I am influencable, so I have to practice separation.
Some folks get the idea that when you preach standards, you are really inhibiting people and ruining their life. They call themselves Christians, but what they really are, in doctrine, is Luciferians.
“What do you mean by that?” There are people that are not out and out Satanists. They are called Luciferians. They teach a false doctrine. They teach that there are two gods. There is Jehovah God and there is Lucifer. They teach Jehovah is a bad God, because He puts rules on us and hurts our conscience, but Lucifer, he’s the good god because he sets us free. He has no rules and no standards. There is no right and wrong. You can do anything you want.
There are all kinds of people who claim to be born again Christians, that buy into doctrine that is Satanic. They have a philosophy that is Satanic. If you don’t separate from the wrong crowd, you will separate from God and you will separate from the right crowd.
Recently, I’ve taken a stand on the King James Bible. Somebody said, “I don’t think you ought to do that.”
I said, “Why, you don’t believe it?”
“Sure, I believe it.”
I said, “Okay, then what’s the matter? You think I believe it too much? That offends you?” Okay, that makes good sense. You are going to tell me you believe the KJV and separate from me because I believe it more than you believe it? What’s wrong with us?
If you don’t separate from the wrong crowd, you will have pressure to separate from the right crowd. You can’t forever stay yoked to the two. It cannot happen. You will part with one of the two crowds. If you won’t part with the wrong crowd by Biblical separation, you will part with the right crowd because you’ll side with these people who are wrong. Then you’ll blame everybody that is doing right for being hard on the people that are doing wrong.
Because here’s what we do. We don’t want to separate from the wrong crowd and then we feel sorry for them whenever somebody preaches the Bible and proves they are wrong, so we run to their defense. That’s what He is talking about in Psalm 1:1. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners,...” If you walk in the counsel of the ungodly, you will ultimately take a stand with sinners on the wrong side of the issue. You will stand up for them against truth, against Bible, against God and what is right.
I want you to notice something else about this unequal yoke. Number one, it put unbearable pressure on him. Samson was a great man, a judge in Israel. He was a strong man, but in spite of that, he put more pressure on himself by the unequal yoke than he could handle. By the way, when you indulge in the unequal yoke, you can’t handle it either. I assure you.
#2. It caused him to break his vows. In Judges 16:17 the Bible says he told her all his heart. He had been a Nazarite from his birth. In verse 19 the Bible says they shaved off the locks of his head. The issue here was not having long hair, but the issue was not putting a razor to his head from his birth and the seven locks of his head were woven. He had a vow and he was to stay in that state until death. What he did was, he told her how he could be undone. He told her his weakness. He told her how he could be destroyed.
Anybody that wants to know how you can be destroyed is dangerous. I don’t want to be around people that daily press me, want to know “What would it take for you to reject God? What would it take for you to quit the ministry? What would it take for you to go back into sin? What would take?” Why do you want to know this? What is your ulterior motive here?
In Numbers 6:1-12, we find the vows of a Nazarite. That word separate and separation is used 10 times in that passage of Scripture in Numbers 6. Verse two, separated to God. In verse three, separated from liquor and everything squeezed out of grapes, even if it wasn’t fermented. Verse five, no razor was to come on his head. Verse six, he wasn’t to come near the dead, not even his family members, and break his vow.
The Bible tells us that he made some terrible mistakes when he got yoked up with this wrong crowd. He got under unbearable pressure, and it was so great that vows he had taken and vows that he had kept for years, now he broke. In that same passage of Scripture, the word consecrate or consecration is used three times. The word vow is used three times. The word holy is used two times. All of that in Numbers chapter six, the first 12 verses. Those are key words that deal with the vow of a Nazarite.
God warns us in Ecclesiastes 5:4-6. “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?”
Do you know what He tells us here? “When thou vowest a vow...” not if, but when. It is understood that if you are going to amount to anything for God, you will make some holy vows. It’s part of consecration. It is part of separation. It is part of holy living. It is part of service to God for me to commit myself in some areas, for me to make some holy vows on an old fashioned altar. “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it;...” He said, “Don’t say it was an error.” “That’s not what I really meant.” “I was going to do it, Lord, but I stumbled. This happened and that happened.” He said, “Don’t make excuses and don’t say it was an error. Just make holy vows and labor to see them through. Don’t take your vows lightly.”
When two people get married, there are some things that married people ought to abstain from, that is going to enable them to keep their vows to one another. You can’t be running around like a single person when you are married. I do not encourage married women to run around with single gals. Because single gals are looking for boys. That’s just normal and not necessarily wicked if they are looking for the right kind of people, but there are real problems that erupt because some guy might show interest in the married gal. Maybe things aren’t going so smooth at home this week. If married people intend to keep their vows, then there are some things they ought not to participate in.
The fact is if I’m going to live for God, I’ve made some holy vows to God, and if I’m going to live for God and keep my vows, there are some things that I’m just not going to expose myself to. There is a crowd that I’m going to stay away from, because what I’ve promised God is too important to me. He loves me too much. He paid to great a price. He made the ultimate sacrifice to save me. I don’t want to disappoint Him. I don’t want to break His heart. I don’t want to grieve God. I don’t want to be unfaithful to God.
#3. Not only did he break his vows, but as soon as he did that, it weakened him. Judges 16:19 says, “And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.” His strength wasn’t in his muscles. His strength was in the power of the Holy Spirit of God on his life. When Samson got involved in sin and broke his vows, he put himself in a position where he was powerless.
If all that ever happens is just what you can do, we are in trouble. There better be something supernatural about your Christianity and your ministry. The Bible says that he was weakened when he sinned. He was weakened when he broke his vows. He was weakened by this unequal yoke, when he told her all of his heart.
Breaking a vow is sin. Two people can’t be in the same yoke pulling the opposite direction. You’ll just spend your time going in circles at best.
God commands me to be strong, not weak. Ephesians 6:10 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” He tells me to be strong and where the source of my power is. It is in the power of His might.
Proverbs 10:29 says, “The way of the Lord is strength to the upright:...” I don’t get strong to do right. I do right to get strong. “Preacher, you know what? As soon as I get strong, I’m going start lifting weights.” That is not going to work. You have to start lifting weights with your small amount of strength to increase your strength. It doesn’t fall out of the sky. It’s built little by little.
The Bible tells us that Samson was weakened. In Ezra 4:1-2 the adversaries tried to join up with God’s people and help them build the temple. That would have been an unequal yoke. Sometimes we are tempted because people come claiming good intentions. Doesn’t the devil always come as an angel of light with good intentions? Doesn’t he tell us how he wants to help us out and all the good things he is going to do. The only problem is, in order to do what they are trying to get us to do, we have to violate Bible principle, and that can’t be God because He never violates His own Word.
In Ezra 4:3 Zerubbabel said, “...Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God;...” He said we are going to separate and do it ourselves. It will take us longer. It will be harder without your help, but we don’t have permission to get in an unequal yoke. Ezra 4:4 says, “Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah,...” When you get around the people of the land, the world, the lost crowd, they will weaken your hands to build anything for God.
A true friend never weakens you in the Lord. Do you remember what the Bible says about Jonathan, David’s friend? When David was in hiding, Jonathan came to him and strengthened his hand in the Lord. Anybody that weakens your convictions, anybody that tries to get you to lower your standards or integrity and honesty, anybody that makes you more vulnerable is not your friend. A real, true friend will strengthen your hand in the Lord, not weaken you. The unequal yoke will always weaken you like it weakened Samson.
#4. The unequal yoke robbed him of the presence of God. Verse 20 says the Lord departed from him. By the way, that’s why his strength departed, because his strength was in the Lord.
What do you think your purpose is for existence? Why do you think you are here? Why do you think you exist? Revelation 4:10-11 says that everything God created, He created for His pleasure. That means, then, God didn’t create me for my pleasure. God did not create you for your pleasure. God did not create me for your pleasure. God did not create us for sinful pleasure or worldly pleasure. God created us for His pleasure. When Samson sinned, God was displeased.
It’s kind of like what happened in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve had a wonderful walk with God in the cool of the day. God didn’t create Adam and Eve to escape Hell. He created them to walk with Him and fellowship with Him. He didn’t create them primarily for work, though they had work to do. God created them for fellowship. Do you know what happened when sin entered the garden? Their fellowship with God was severed and they lost the blessing and they lost the garden. They were cast out, but sin disrupted their walk with God.
Some people can get pretty content with that. If they can get the blessing of God without the presence of God, they’d welcome it. The children of Israel, when God came down and touched the mountain and it belched fire, they said to Moses, “You go up and talk to God and come back and tell us what He said. We’ll do what He says, but we don’t want any contact with Him. He’s too holy.” They said they would obey God, but that didn’t last long. When Moses came down in chapter 32 the people were engaged in idolatry and wicked revelry and God had pronounced judgment. Moses interceded and their lives were spared.
God told Moses in Exodus 33, “I’m going to give you everything I promised except My Personal Presence. I’m not going be among you because this is a stiffnecked and rebellious people.” Moses basically told God, “If You’re not going up, don’t send me up yonder, either. I’m not going.”
God told him, “I’ll send an angel in My place.”
Moses said, “An angel is a poor replacement for You.”
God said, “I’m still going to give you the inheritance. I’m still going to give you the victory. I’m still going to give you the land.”
Moses said, “Lord, Your blessing is not enough. I want You.”
A lot of folks can be real content without any fellowship with God. Shame on us.
When Achan sinned, it brought defeat to the entire camp and shame and disgrace and caused them to turn their backs and run from the enemy, but it weakened them as a people. Just remember the city that they had defeated. They had defeated Jericho, an impregnable fortress, with walls wide enough and thick enough to ride two chariots on the top of wall side by side. God knocked those walls down and then they come to little, old, feeble Ai and they are defeated.
Why? Because they were weakened by sin. They were weakened by Achan’s sin. There was sin in the camp and it weakened them. Others died because of Achan’s sin and Achan’s family members died with him because of his sin, but sin weakened them. We need to understand that the unequal yoke leads to weakness. It leads away from the presence of God.
#5. It affected his discernment. “...And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.” Do you know what that means? It means he knew not. He didn’t discern that the Lord had departed. He thought it was just like it used to be. “These Philistines have come time and again and I’ve gone out of here and shook myself at them and they fled. I’ll just go out and shake myself as at other times before, “...And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.” He did not have discernment.
What amazes me is when people get away from God and hooked up with the wrong crowd, they can’t make a sensible decision. They get to the place where every decision they make, it’s insanity. Everything they do makes no logical sense. They lose their discernment, their ability to see. They lose their capacity to make wise choices and they make one bad decision after another after another, but they get hooked up with the wrong crowd and it is a downward trend like we saw in Psalm 1.
It’s bad enough to lose the presence of God, but worse yet when you think you still have it. Samson presumed the presence of God rather than going after it. Instead of him securing the presence of God, he just presumed it. He got presumptuous. He thought, “Sure, I sinned before and it is going to be okay. It will be like the last time. Yeah, I got away with this before.”
That’s one of the dangers of getting away with sin one time. Have you ever noticed that people that go off into sin and don’t ever feel the bite of it, everything is just smooth and easy, and they almost go straight from sin back in the saddle? Ninety-nine out of a hundred times they’ll do it again and again and again because they never felt the pain. They never felt the sting. Somebody allowed them to evade sin’s consequences.
The prodigal son’s daddy didn’t go get him and make him come home, but he didn’t send him any money and finance his sin either. Maybe your children go off into sin and you finance their sin thinking you are going to help them by helping them stay out in the world, paying for their drugs and alcohol, paying for their unclean living, financing that and think you are doing them a favor. You’d better exercise some tough love. God does, and folks doing wrong need to feel the pain and the sting.
Samson had been in and out of this kind of a situation before, but he had never before lost the presence and power of God, but this was the last straw. When the Spirit of God withdrew, he was over-confident, had no discernment and thought everything was like it used to be.
It’s a strange thing to me. Suppose your wife left you, and two or three weeks later, you still hadn’t noticed? That might be a hint that you weren’t paying much attention to her while she was there, don’t you think? Do you think if somebody was close to God and fellowshipped with Him every day and suddenly His presence was missing you’d notice it? But if you don’t have any relationship with God much and you don’t pay Him much mind, it’s always Him paying you mind, then when He is gone, do you think you might not notice it? Because you didn’t pay any attention to Him when He was there anyway.
That’s what He said in Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” You’ve never been anywhere where God was not, but most of the time you didn’t notice Him. You were too preoccupied with something else.
When God withdrew from Samson, he didn’t have enough attention on God to notice that God wasn’t there. I’m afraid that might be the case with a lot of people.
#6. I want you to note that it put him in bondage. Samson’s on a slippery slope, and this thing is going downhill fast. In Judges 16:21 the Bible says that the Philistines took him and bound him with fetters. He became a slave in shackles. Do you think standards of separation from the world is oppression? Wait till you break the hedge and the serpent bites and you find yourself enslaved to sin. You are about to find out how enslaving sin and carnality and worldliness is! What a bondage it is.
God talks about delivering us from the bondage of corruption. In Galatians 5:1 He says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” He said that Christ hath made us free. Did He make me free to sin, or did He make me free from sin? What was that He did at Calvary? Was it deliverance from sin and it’s penalty, or was it deliverance only from paying sin’s price and a license to practice sin? I’m supposed to stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made me free.
Psalm 119:45 the Psalmist said, “And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.” Do you know what it’s saying? Liberty is in the precepts. Liberty is not without bounds. Liberty is within bounds. The Psalmist said, “I will walk at liberty because I stay within the precepts. I stay within the bounds that God has set. I’m operating in this framework or hedge and the devil can’t get at me. I’ve protected myself from temptation and the world. I’m not sinlessly perfect, but I’ve put myself in a position where God can bless me and where I have protection.” Therefore he said, “I have liberty.” The Bible says in II Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
He talks about the yoke of bondage in Galatians 5:1. We talk about the unequal yoke in II Corinthians 6:14. In II Corinthians 11:3, the Bible talks about people corrupted from the simplicity of Christ. How did they do that? They got to reading after and listening to a bunch of people that claim to be educated and smart. They make fun of you for operating by faith. Go ahead and operate by academics. I’m just going to take the old Book and believe it and practice it and just trust God. It’s worked all this time. It’s been working for 46 years. I reckon I’ll just go ahead and keep doing it. It will be fine with me.
Samson was put in bondage. He became a slave. Second Peter 2:19 speaks of those who were servants of corruption -- servants, bond-servants, slaves of corruption. Second Peter 1:4 speaks of the corruption that is in the world. He’s talking here about worldly corruption and we talked the bondage of corruption and we talk about sin and it’s corrupting force. The world will enslave you and the flesh will enslave you and the devil will enslave you, but he’ll do it by manipulation, not by force. He will get you to buy in little by little until you put yourself in a vulnerable position.
#7. Notice that it blinded Samson. Judges 16:21 says they put his eyes out. Here is this great man, who once stood before the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass and slew 1000 armed soldiers with no sword, no spear, no shield, just a piece of jawbone and he slew in one standing 1000 Philistines soldiers. It struck fear in the hearts of the enemies of God. Now here he is in his pathetic state, weakened, no discernment, being led about by the hand by a small boy when he went to the temple. His eyes are burned out. He can’t see. He was blinded by them.
Judges 16:26, he asked the lad that held him by the hand to put his hands on the supporting pillars. God allowed him, one last time, the power to pull the pillars apart and allow that temple to fall and Samson slew more in his death than he did in his life. The thing that is tragic to me is that some folks get more people saved at their funeral than ever got saved because they were alive. It’s a shame when more people get saved because I died than because I lived. We ought to make a difference for God while we can. This man was blinded.
In II Peter 1:9, the Bible talks about those that lack these things. What is it? He talks about virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, but it starts with virtue, moral excellence, separation, holy living, godliness. “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off,...” God said you getting hooked up with the world is going to blind you. It’s going to destroy your ability to discern.
Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself:...” The prudent man has some insight and foresight. He sees down the road and sees where this is going to take him. He said, “I’m not going there.” He sees the collision in advance and gets out of the way before it takes place. He sees the danger and decides he’s not going to take that route.
#8. Then the Bible tells us it put him to work for the enemy. Lots of people don’t think they are going to end up serving the devil, but before everything is said and done, they end up serving the devil. Watch what it tells us in Judges 16:21. “...and he did grind in the prison house.” They used him like they used an ox. They had an old millstone and an ox would walk around tied up to a rail and he’d walk that thing around in circles and turn the millstone and grind the meal. Here is Samson grinding meal for the enemy, serving the enemies of God. It’s pretty sad. The guy that used to strike fear in their heart now is a reproach and laughing stock and we’ll see that in a clear way in just a moment, but he is grinding meal for the enemy.
Matthew 4:10 says, “...Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Him only shalt thou serve. If I’m not a very good worshipper, I won’t serve Him only. If I won’t stay clean so I can worship, I won’t serve Him only.
Romans 6:16 says, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” He said that if you practice sin, you are the servant or slave of sin. You are in bondage to sin.
#9. It emboldened the heathen. Judges 16:23-24, “Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.” Here they are. They are excited, rejoicing to give Dagon, the fish god, the false god that they worshipped, they are going to give praise and honor and worship to a statue because Samson put himself in a vulnerable position. It appears to them that their false god is stronger than the God of Israel. That’s how it appears to these people. They are deeper in their deception now, farther from believing the one true God. The Bible says in verse 24, “And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.”
Remember David? Nathan said to David in II Samuel 12:14 after David had sinned with Bathsheba, and Nathan came and gave him the parable about the man with the little ewe lamb and David said, “That man shall die.” Nathan said, “Thou art the man.” Nathan told him, “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme,...”
Do you know what Samson did when he fell, when he got in an unequal yoke? He made the worshippers of Dagon more pagan. He made them bolder in their sin and paganism. He made them think the God of Israel was weak.
#10. In Samson’s case, the people lost their judge and their leader. Somebody is looking to you. Young person, somebody younger than you is looking up to you. That man in Luke 16 who died and went to Hell when he got there he said, “...send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” He was in Hell. He said, “Somebody go warn my brothers. I was a bad example to them. I misguided them. I fear they will follow me in their rejection of Christ and burn in Hell. Please somebody go warn them.”
It’s not only lost people that have that to be concerned about their bad example leading others astray. Too often saved people do the very same thing by a bad testimony. Samson weakened the people. As Lee Roberson said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Every time somebody falls they take somebody else with them. Every time somebody falls, young or old, someone else has lost a person they are looking to that they were drawing strength from. They are weakened and brought low by that.
The consequences of an unequal yoke are many and they are devastating. It creates unbearable pressure and causes you to break your holy vows. It will weaken you spiritually and rob you of the presence of God and affect your discernment. It put you in bondage and blind you to the things of God. It put you to work for the enemy, accomplishing his goals instead of pleasing God. It will cause the blasphemers to be more bold against God. It will rob somebody of a good influence and leadership. Somebody is going to fall with you.
There are way too many consequences of the unequal yoke for us to brush off the importance of this vital principle.