Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: Bible Study - John 21, Samson
Volume 8 No. 475 April 13, 2018
 
III. Featured: Bible Study -- Samson,
A Great Man Who Pursued Small Things

Samson: A Great Man Who Pursued Small Things -
The Man Who Had It All

by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer

The greater the potential for success, the greater the possibility of failure. The higher our expectations, the farther we can fall.

No one was born with greater potential than Samson, whose birth is recorded in the book of Judges. Here is a man who had it all and lost it all. But it is because he had so much that his loss was so great.

He was a great man who spent most of his life seeking after small things. He squandered incredible opportunities.

He was a man of contradictions: he had incredible physical strength, but a weakness for women.

He was a man who had the Holy Spirit but was fascinated with trivial things. He amused himself with riddles and tricks. A great muscle, but a little mind. A man of God who lacked common sense. He was a gigantic child.

What made Samson a candidate for success? What made him such a mystery; such an enigma?

The Israelites again "did evil in the sight of the Lord." But this time they did not even cry to God for a deliverer. They were content to be influenced by paganism through commerce and intermarriage. We learn only one thing from history and that is that people do not learn from history!

God sovereignly chose to intervene even though the Israelites did not cry to God. There was no national revival; Samson always acted alone. There was no one else there with him. Because there was no national repentance there was no national deliverance. Samson was a one man show.

We can't help but be impressed with the opportunities he had. God chose an ordinary family to bear an extraordinary child to become an extraordinary deliverer.

Two features make his birth exceptional. First, he would be born to a couple who previously had had no children. Ever since Genesis 3:15, the promise of a deliverer was associated with the "seed of the woman" that is, childbearing. So to not have a child was considered a curse of God. God never said that, but that's the way couples felt if they were childless. Now an angel appears to this couple to say that they would bear a special child.

To grasp just how privileged Samson was, consider the fact that only three other times in all the Bible did an angel announce a birth. Sarah was told she would bear a child in her old age and Isaac was born. An angel told Elizabeth that she would bear a child and John the Baptist was born. And, of course, we know the story of Mary who was visited by Gabriel with a message that she would bear a special son. Samson is in great company! Heaven is taking note!

In fact, this was not an angel of the Lord, but rather the angel of the Lord, that is a manifestation of Christ. The angel reappears and Manoah invites him to eat with them, but He refuses. When He is asked his name, the angel says, it is "Wonderful," that is, "Beyond Understanding." Yes, His name is "The Wonderful Counselor," beyond understanding! Manoah then offered a sacrifice to God, and while the flame is burning, the angel disappears. Manoah and his wife now know that they have "seen God." Obviously, Samson was destined for greatness.

Samson also had a privileged career. He was to be a Nazarite. That word comes from the Hebrew word Nazir which means "to set apart." A Nazarite was someone who took a vow to be set apart by God for special service. From Numbers chapter 6 we learn that this vow (1) was voluntary. It was a vow motivated by love and faith. A man or woman could take it for six months, a year or longer. It was to help someone devote himself completely to the Lord.

Also, (2) the person was to abstain from anything that was alcoholic; there was to be nothing in his mouth that was of the fruit of the vine. Nothing was wrong with wine in itself, but it was a symbol of the good life and God wanted this person to live simply and find his joy in God.

Finally, (3) the Nazarite was not to touch a dead body. God wanted to teach Israel that death was the result of sin. So even the priests were not to defile themselves by touching a dead body. So also the Nazarite.

Now if your neighbor took the vow you would want to know about it. You would want to spare yourself the embarrassment of offering him a glass of wine when he came for a visit. So the outward symbol of this vow was that the person would let his hair grow long.

In the case of Samson, his vow was not voluntary. His mother took the vow and Samson was to be a Nazarite from when he was born until he died. This is not what Samson chose; God made that choice for him. He was chosen from before birth to do great things.

Along with all of this came a special anointing of the Spirit. We read, "Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Nahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol" (Judges 13:24,25).

Single handedly, Samson now began his exploits. He will kill the Philistines by the hundreds, walk off with the gates of their city and burn their fields by catching 300 foxes and putting their tales on fire and sending them through the barley fields of the Philistines.

What are the great lessons to be learned so far? First, God prepared a leader by preparing the parents.

How many parents would be ready to handle this revelation from an angel and be willing to follow instructions without complaining?

Manoah knew that his wife was a partner in the process and they would learn from the Lord together. When his wife told him about the angel, he (Manoah) now prays that the angel will reappear to give them wisdom regarding this child. He says, "O Lord, please let the man of God whom Thou hast sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born" (13:8). He saw that rearing this child was a sacred responsibility for both of them. "Teach us" he says.

God can give us wisdom for all of the tasks of life. Commit your next step to Him and He will guide you.

Why was the mother asked to also take the Nazarite vow? God knew that Samson needed to have an example of commitment. If he saw his mother drinking wine, it would have been much easier to rationalize his own lifestyle. God knew that the influence of the mother during those formative years would be greater than that of the father.

I can't prove it, but I think he also took this voluntary vow. He appears to be a very dedicated and committed man.

God's dreams for our children are often shaped by our dreams for them. The most powerful motivation for Christian living is still the Christian home. It is the example of mother and father that will be lasting and life changing.

Some of you parents are being shaped by God right now because your children have a special calling from God. When God wanted to prepare the Wesley brothers to bring revival to 18th century England, he gave them Suzannah Wesley, a godly woman who, though she had 19 children, gave each of them religious instruction each week.

Almost always God prepares the parents to shape the life of the leader. I must qualify this, however, with a second lesson: The commitment of the parents is often greater than the commitment of the children. Godly parents do not always produce godly children. Samson had weaknesses his parents did not have. He was a mighty deliverer. Even in death he killed a thousand Philistines. But his life was marred by a weakness for beautiful women and a fascination with trivia.

That's why I've titled this series: Samson: A Great Man Who Pursued Small Things. I don't think that his failures were a fault of his parents. Parents are responsible to shape their children to grow up to love God, but when the children are grown they just might to choose to walk in a different direction.

Some parents have endured endless false guilt about their children, tracing each of the child's failures to their own failures. But there is not a one-for-one correspondence. Godly parents sometimes produce ungodly children. And sometimes (though not often) the reverse is also true: godly children have sometimes grown up in some rather ungodly homes.

Finally, and most important, it's not how you begin but how you end that really matters. Samson had a great beginning, but ended badly. You might have a bad beginning, but have the potential to end well. Samson took his chances, rolled the dice and, at least for a time, lost it all. He blew the whole thing! He went from position of privilege to prison. He went from killing Philistines to serving them. He went from sight to blindness.

What was Samson's name? It means, "Little Sun." Perhaps it was a nickname, "Sunny." When the sun arises, a new day has dawned. But it was a day with plenty of clouds.

Samson reminds us of another deliverer. Christ is the "Sunrise from on high", "To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. To guide our feet in the way of peace" (Luke 1:78,79).

Christ can do what Samson could not. He is the deliverer, the one who can cause us to be brought from darkness into light.

Samson: A Great Man Who Pursued Small Things -
A Marriage Doomed to Fail

by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer

If there ever was a man who typifies the "If it feels good, do it," philosophy, it was Samson. Samson was a mysterious man. The Holy Spirit came upon him and he became strong. Yet, he was filled with self-will, and moral weakness.

Eventually, he judged the nation for 20 years but first of all had to be trained, taught the lessons of submission. His career began when he made several major mistakes in searching for a wife. He searched in the wrong place. "Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines" (Judges 14:1).

That was his first mistake.

Where is Timnah? He went into the territory occupied by the Philistines. He went to a place where he had no business going. These were his enemies, not his friends.

When the writer says Samson went "down" to Timnah, he opens up a world of meaning. He had to walk about four miles from his own town of Zorah; to get there he walked down a ridge into the Sorek valley and up the other side.

Geographically, he went down to Timnah; but spiritually he also went down; he began the long slope that would eventually end in humiliation and blindness. He was convinced that the "grass was greener on the other side." He went into forbidden territory to make friends with the people God had already judged.

Everything in this scenario is now predictable. He had hit the first domino, and even if you had never read the rest of this chapter, you know that Samson is going to have trouble. You know that this is not going to end well.

Why, Samson thought, should I confine myself to the rather reserved Israelite ladies whose morals just might prevent a good time? Why not check out the Philistine gals who had a broader perspective on life in general and marriage in particular?

Sounds good, but there was a problem. The Israelites were expressly forbidden to intermarry with the pagans of the land, if you take the time to put this story together, you will learn that he made wedding plans before he even had spoken to this young lady who struck his fancy. No matter, she looked great!

His parents counseled him. They ask, as every parent would, "Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives or among all of our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?"

This conversation goes on in a Christian home somewhere, every day of the week. "Why cant you find a nice church boy to date?" parents tell their teenage daughter. "Why this boy you met over at the bowling alley? Why don't you date someone from some of our church families?"

And of course Samson answered as all teenagers do, "That makes great sense! Come to think of it. I'm sure there are some beautiful girls in Israel too. In fact, I remember meeting a beautiful Israeli girl on the other side of Mr. Mishpat's vineyard!"

No. There is nothing more futile than to tell a young person that he is in love with the wrong person! The heart simply does not respond to logic. Never has, never will. "Get her for me, for she looks good to me!" This was love at first sight. This was the ticket to happiness.

I won't take time to tell you the story that you can read for yourself in Judges 13-16. But on the fourth day of the wedding feast, he loses a bet and has to kill thirty men to get thirty suits of clothes. In violation of his Nazarite vow, he had to touch the dead bodies to get the clothes off. I have a feeling that he had long-since forgotten about his commitment.

What mistakes did he make? He was more interested in a riddle than relationships; more interested in a good time than in godliness; more interested in his plans than God's. Three important lessons emerge: first, in love and marriage we must follow our head, not our heart! I've often reminded young people that it is possible to be madly in love with someone you should not many. It happens to singles; happens to married people who fall in love with someone else who is married.

Here is a scenario that happens often. A businessman sits at his desk, attracted to a woman who just joined the work team. He watches her as she goes to the water cooler for a drink. He notices her as she walks to the files across the isle. On the third day she brings him coffee. On the fourth day she sits on a chair beside him and they talk. Within a week they are having lunch together. He discovers more understanding and care than he has ever known in his own marriage. He has found an oasis, feelings of fulfillment he has never had before. Now he faces a decision.

Jesus, you recall, when speaking about lust said, "If your right eye offends you (or causes you to stumble) cut it out and cast it from you; for it is better for you that you enter into heaven with one eye than into hell "with two." Christ was saying in the strongest possible language that we must do whatever is necessary to keep us from "stumbling."

Breaking a relationship is painful, often very painful, but it is necessary. No matter how much the heart screams; no matter how many tears are shed; no matter how much genuine love and understanding there is between two people, the Lord says, "Cut out your eye if necessary, but do it!" We must run from the temptation before we have crossed the line.

A second lesson: it is possible to be used by the Spirit without being controlled by the Spirit. Are you surprised at verse 6 and 19 where we read, "And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson!"? Why would the Spirit continue to use him when he was walking in such disobedience?

Judges 14:4 presents us with a difficult statement. His parents try to convince him to not marry this lady of the Philistines, and we read, "However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against Philistines" (v 4). Was God approving of all of this?

No, it means simply that God would overrule Samson's disobedience. God would use all of this foolishness to have Samson strike a blow at the Philistines by killing 30 of them and burning their fields. God would even use someone who was violating his laws!

A woman in our church came to saving faith in Christ through the witness of another woman who was a Christian but living immorally. Yes, God sometimes uses people who are not Spirit-controlled. That doesn't justify disobedience, it only means that God is sometimes more gracious than we would expect.

What would have happened if Samson had been obedient? God would have provided another way to break the back of the Philistines, to destroy their strength. Samson would have done a greater and better work if he had followed God fully. God certainly was not dependent on Samson's disobedience to get the job done!

But let me warn you: don't ever think that God is excusing your disobedience just because you are still being blessed by Him! My guess is that Samson thought to himself, "I can do whatever I like and the Spirit of the Lord is still upon me." Yes, but only for a time. Eventually, the sin that Samson tolerated would ensnare him.

Don't be deceived because God is good to you. His goodness would lead us to repentance, not to freedom to sin. Turn to Him today with your whole heart.

Finally, our greatest temptation is to turn truth into fantasy. When confronted with the reality about ourselves, we are tempted to reject the truth. I'm told there is a counselor who has on his desk the famous words of Christ, "The Truth Shall Set You Free" but underneath it reads, "But it will hurt you first!"

Well stated! Yes, the truth will set us free, but it will hurt us first. And because the truth hurts, you and I will do everything within our power to make sure we are not hurt. Seeing ourselves for what we are is never easy. And that is why the truth does not set us free!

Everybody saw that Samson had a problem except Samson! By nature we dig a moat around ourselves; we fill it with water, draw up the bridge and tell ourselves that every bit of truth will be reinterpreted so that we will not have to change our lifestyle.

Imagine that we are interviewing Samson. We ask him why he does not take responsibility for his marriage fiasco, call on God and mend his ways.

He begins by deflecting the truth, blaming someone else. It is the Philistines' fault. They are the ones who betrayed him. It was his bride's fault, she is the one who talked him into revealing the secret of his riddle. It is everyone else's fault, because they didn't really understand what his needs were. He is as clean in the matter as a hound's tooth! When we begin to press him about how he violated God's commands, he now misinterprets the truth. He tells us that we have overlooked some of the peculiar circumstances. First, he was an exception because of his strength. The fact that the Spirit of the Lord still came upon him after the wedding feast is proof of God's blessing.

Second, he reminds us that the reason for the marriage prohibition is that Israel would not adopt pagan gods. He assures us that he had no intention of doing that. He fully intended to have his wife accept the God of Israel.

If we begin to probe more deeply and ask whether he thinks that he conducted himself as a man of God at the feast, he will remind us that some laughter and fun is a part of life.

He would have begun to ask us whether all this was really our business after all? And why would we waste our time on matters that he and God could work out?

One thing seems certain: Samson would not dare let the truth hurt him. And because he refused to be hurt, he refused to be helped. But he could not be helped until he was hurt; he could not be healed until he was wounded. He wanted to grow without being pruned; he wanted to be strong without being made weak.

How does the truth hurt us? We must be open to God. We must expose all of the hidden parts of our lives in the presence of Christ, inviting Him to do within us what we cannot do. Then we must repair broken human relationships. We must be as open and vulnerable as we can be.

God does not work in closed hearts but in open ones. He does not work in self-deceived hearts, but open ones.

Christ takes you like you are but does not leave you like He found you! The truth does set us free. But yes, it hurts us first!

Samson: A Great Man Who Pursued Small Things -
A Man With Two Hearts

by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer

You can generally recognize a double-minded man. He has moments of commitment to God; often surprising us with his burst of spiritual discipline and devotion. Mighty Samson is a picture of double-mindedness.

He breaks promises he intends to keep; he overrates his ability to change himself. He has not yet come to the end of self-rule. So his promises are made largely in dependence upon good intentions. It is a sincere promise, but it means little.

Second, his commitment to God was based on convenience, not convictions. When things went bad, he called on God. When God answered, he drifted back to his own ways. He calls on God to help him, but not to change him.

Third, Samson, like all other double-minded people, attempts the impossible. He wants to love God and the world; God and the self. He can't but he tries.

Don't overrate such half-hearted commitment. Such a person will disappoint you, sooner rather than later. He is like Ephraim, whose goodness was like the dew that was there in the morning but dissipated in the hot sun.

Yes, Christians can be double-minded. They do love God, but love the world too. They serve both God and self-will. They are the center of their own lives yet they desperately want God at the circumference so that He can be called in when needed. They are hot and cold; committed one day and undependable the next.

Samson was such a man. But God was working in his heart to lead him from immaturity to maturity. He was growing from pride to humility, from self-centeredness to God-centeredness.

The man with two hearts was growing toward single-mindedness. First, we see Samson the avenger. Recall the story. Samson felt betrayed by his would-be father-in-law who gave his daughter to another man. The family did not expect to see Samson again.

But to the surprise of all, Samson arrives to bring his bride a present. His father-in-law tries to appease Samson by offering his younger daughter to Samson as a wife.

Samson suspects that this insult happened because he was a Hebrew. In a remarkable show of self-restraint he does not retaliate directly against the family. He could have killed the whole lot. But he does vent his anger against the Philistines as a group.

His first act of vengeance was to retreat to the hills and catch three hundred foxes. He ties a thong around the tail of each, knots the tails together and then attaches a firebrand to the end of the thongs. Three hundred foxes go in 150 different directions. They run through the ripened wheat fields, setting fire to both the harvested grain and the standing grain. The fire also spreads to the vineyards and olive groves. It was a serious blow to the Philistine economy.

The Philistines form a congressional committee to investigate the arson. Even the lords of the Philistines must themselves have concluded that Samson's proposed father-in-law had committed a great social blunder. At any rate they go and burn the young woman and her father. So much for that.

This gives Samson a second excuse for vengeance. He thinks that their action against his former wife and her father is unfair. We read, "Since you act like this, I will surely take revenge on you, but after that I will quit. And he struck them ruthlessly with a great slaughter" (Judges 15:7,8).

What do we make of this? Yes, Samson was supposed to subdue the Philistines, but this was not the way a man of God was supposed to act. You might think it fun to catch 300 foxes and watch the field burn; but Samson is just doing his own thing; he is not following God's lead. This man is just having himself a party.

God of course, wanted to have Samson's whole heart. But at this point he was unwilling to surrender.

Next we see Samson the Peace Maker. He ran to a cave to hide, but there he must have had an experience with God. While the Philistines are planning their next move, he is brooding, wondering what he will do next. He does not return home because if he is found there, his family and relatives will be in jeopardy. In fact, the whole nation of Israel would be a target for the Philistines' rage.

While in the cave, he has an experience that humbles him and suddenly we see a different side to this complex character.

The Philistines send out a search party to find Samson, giving a show that intimidated the Israelites. They announce that they are seeking to bind Samson to get revenge for all the damage he had done to them.

And now Samson's own people, three thousand strong, join the Philistines to find one man, the strong man who was hiding in a cave. They show no loyalty to their fellow Israelite. They ask him, "Do you not know that the Philistines are ruling over us? What then is this that you have done to us?"

Just think! The people of God had become content with their slavery. Their fear of offending the Philistines was greater than their desire to trust God and assert their own independence! They should have been glad that Samson was doing something to weaken their enemies.

And it doesn't stop there. They now ask Samson's permission to bind him and to hand him over to the Philistines! They were saving their necks at any cost. Here now we see a different Samson.

Notice, he controls his words. He does not lash out against them for their cowardice. He does not chide them for their ingratitude for all that he had done to break the Philistine stranglehold on Judah. He just gives them an explanation for what he did and then submits to their authority.

He also controlled his strength. After getting a promise from them that they would not kill him, he allowed them to bind him. He was saddened and humiliated by this rejection. But evidently he thought it would be best to submit.

What is happening here? The Israelites knew that if he were turned over to the Philistines he would be killed, but they hand him over. Samson knew that he had been sold by his own people, the cowards. His would-be friends were giving him to his vicious enemies.

At last Samson showed that he was willing to take the risk of surrender; quite probably his trust was now in God. For that reason he could except whatever came his way.

Those who trust are in God's hands even if they should find themselves in the hands of enemies.

Finally, we see what the Holy Spirit will do through Samson's life. The Philistines had assembled on a broad valley called Lehi or "jawbone." When they saw the mighty Samson being led like a lamb to the slaughter, they let out a shout that reverberated through the hills. They intended to torture him to death.

What they had not counted on is a surge of power that surged through his body. "The Spirit of the Lord came upon him."

The ropes with which he was bound became like burned flax (16:9). Grabbing a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he hacked away at the Philistine ranks and when he was done, the dead lie in heaps about him. Tired and thirsty he expresses his contempt for the enemies. The word donkey and the word heap are the same in Hebrew. So making a play on words, he says: "With the jawbone of a donkey, Heaps upon heaps, With the jawbone of a donkey I have killed a thousand men."

This was a miracle of deliverance. This was a blow to the Philistine army and also to their morale. The Philistines choose to let him alone, at least for now. When Samson is thirsty he cries out to the Lord; and this is the high point of his relationship with God. This is the only time we hear Samson pray; the only time that he ascribes glory to God.

"Thou hast given this great deliverance by the hand of thy servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the Philistines?" God graciously provided water. Samson drank and was satisfied.

The man with the foolish heart is now becoming the man with the faithful heart. The man who acted impulsively, is now acting prayerfully. Samson is being changed.

What is God's cure for double-mindedness? How does God take us a people with two hearts and make us people who have only one? He wants us to be able to say, "With my whole heart I will seek you..."

Samson learned that God often uses our friends, not our enemies to break us. The people of Judah did what the Philistines couldn't. Though Samson was betrayed by those who should have befriended him, that was the high point of his submission.

Second, we learn that the name in which we fight is more important than the number of people who have been enlisted for the battle. Of course we don't fight today like Samson did. But spiritually we do. And when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, it really did not matter what was in Samson's hand. It could have been stone; it could have been a stick. It could have been his own fists.

If we find this story incredible, we have forgotten that God is incredible. The Spirit can do what we can't. "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord of Hosts."

You might feel as useless as the jawbone of a donkey. But many a spiritual battle has been won with unlikely people using unlikely gifts.

Single-mindedness always begins in the heart, not the head. It is letting God into our life that we might be like Him. The cure for double-mindedness is repentance. We must repent of all that we do. God never gives up on purifying our hearts. He will lead us to single-mindedness, making "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

Source: The Moody Church

Samson: A Great Man Who Pursued Small Things -
Physically Strong - Morally Weak

by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer

Samson and Delilah. The story has been told hundreds of times for thousands of years. This is the story of Samson's defeat, a story that must be told in each generation. A strong man can be morally weak; in one moment he can destroy what cannot be rebuilt in a lifetime.

Let us consider two facts that highlight Samson's weakness. First, he was tempted by lust. He went to Gaza and met a harlot with whom he has a sexual relationship. There was no pretense of love here. No sweet words of mutual love. It was a simple matter of sex for money.

Don't miss the fact that this came after 20 years of successful ministry as a servant of God. Samson was now about 40 years old. Maybe he was tired of being good; maybe he was weary with the work and thought he needed a break. Maybe he wanted to get caught to add some excitement to his life.

Was he hurt by this experience? After all, the Holy Spirit still gave him strength, and since he wasn't married he might have thought that he left unscathed. There was adventure in risk.

But he knew he had sinned. The emptiness was there; his life had been cheapened by the experience. But worst of all, though this experience he developed confidence in his ability to do wrong. When the men of the town tried to capture him, he walked off with the gate posts (Judges 16:1-3). This was proof, he thought, that he could sin and get by.

Next, he was tempted by love. "He loved a woman of Sorek whose name was Delilah." This was a relationship with romance. Delilah was a Hebrew name, yet it is clear that she was a Philistine. It is possible that Samson knew this lady from a way back. They grew up in the same area, the same valley.

We do know that her friends are among Samson's enemies. She was beautiful, cuddly, playful and fun. She had a smile that could light a dark alley. But Delilah is offered a considerable amount of money if she can find the secret of Samson's strength. She is in effect recruited as a spy for the enemy. If she can seduce Samson into telling his secrets, she will receive 500 pieces of silver. No small change. She begins to press him, asking the secret of his strength.

First, Samson tolerates the temptation. He is in charge. He thinks he can determine the outcome of this situation. He is the one who spied this seductive woman and he is the one who can say no when he has to! He was asking for trouble, but wouldn't admit it.

He says, "If I were tied with new cords, I would be weak." It's a lie, of course but it bought him some time. The Philistines tie him with new ropes, but his strength did not leave him. He tore them to shreds. He was just teasing. Next he toys with the temptation. Notice now he says that "if you weave seven locks of my hair with the web and fasten it with a pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man."

He is getting closer. He is telling her that his strength has something to do with his hair. If you weave his hair, his strength will not leave him. But it is true that his strength is in his hair; or rather his strength is symbolized by the hair. Maybe he is lying, but he is having some fun too. This is just a lover's game. Bedroom entertainment.

Samson you fool! Run Samson, run! "Blessed are those who endure (turn away from) temptation for they shall receive the crown of life."

She tells her friends what he says, and they weave his hair. But he walks away with the pin of the loom, and faces the Philistines with confidence. He is as strong as ever. This is fun. He is in control. Well, not really.

She does not give up. "And it came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him that his soul was annoyed to death" (v 16). Since he had won the other gambles, he decided to go for broke and tell her the secret of his strength. He explains that he has been a Nazarite separated to God from his birth. If his head was shaved, he would become weak like an ordinary man.

Now he tries the temptation. He sees what it would be like to give his secret away. He had plenty of reasons to not trust Delilah, but when you want to be deceived, you will be.

We can't really blame him, can we? Don't things like this just happen? Is it really his fault that he falls in love with a lovely woman? Are not beautiful relationships like this meant to be?

She knows that this time, he has finally told her all. She sent for the lords of the Philistines saying, "Come up once more, for he has told me all that is in his heart."

He falls asleep with his head on her lap. She is rubbing his cheeks, caressing his hair and whispers sweet nothings in his ear. She knows that the money is almost hers.

When he awoke, he saw a room full of Philistines; he takes a mighty swing, the kind that used to kill ten of them at a crack. His spear is strangely heavy in his hand.

Though he had always done silly and sinful things, God had always come through for him. The Spirit of the Lord kept giving him supernatural strength. He thought he could count on that again. He says, "I will go as at other times and shake myself free."

One of the saddest verses is in verse 20, "But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him." He felt the same; his mood did not change, but the Holy Spirit was gone. The Philistines gouged out his eyes and he now ground corn for them in prison. A pitiful sight indeed.

The Holy Spirit does not leave us today as He left Samson. His ministry is different. But this much is alike: the blessing of the Lord will depart. The peace of the Lord will depart. The guidance of the Lord will depart when we play with sin. What are the great lessons we learn from Samson?

First, no past victory can guarantee future victories. After Samson's initial youthful foolishness he settled down to rule Israel for 20 years. Yet after that, he failed, and failed miserably.

Don't forget that Samson never intended that it would end like this! He didn't mean any harm. What's so wrong about wanting to fall in love with a woman? His heart belonged to her.

Second, we can lose in a moment what we cannot recover in a lifetime. Of course God forgave Samson his sin, just as God forgave David his sin. The question is not whether there can be forgiveness, the question is whether there can be a restoration of ministry, life and family. Better to watch your step than having to be pulled from a ditch.

We've all known people who have committed adultery, and though they are forgiven there is much that can never be restored. Often they lose their marriage, their children. God might continue to bless them as they are restored to fellowship. Years later they can see that God has taken the mess they created and has worked in spite of it. There has been emotional if not physical restoration. But the damage has been done.

Nobody can predict the consequences of sexual sin. No matter how secret; no matter how many precautions are taken, the outcome is always worse than imagined. As Moses told the people, "be sure your sin will find you out."

We also learn that the sin we tolerate today just might destroy us tomorrow. Samson, I suspect had never really dealt with the sin of sensuality. He had had a weakness for Philistine women and though he got by with this pastime for many years, eventually he was ensnared.

Though he had conquered the Philistines, they now conquered him. They took out his eyes and he ground corn in the prison for them. We must give our sexuality to God and do so every day. Not until we are dead will we be unable to sin. Also, when God restores us, He uses us.

The Spirit departed, but God did not abandon Samson. He ground corn for the enemy, but his hair began to grow back. And with the hair came his previous power. There was spiritual development, there was the providential work of God. He would be used again. His hair grew back but his eyes never had their sight restored. The consequences of his disobedience were still there, but he would be used again.

When the Philistines had a ceremony to honor their god Dagon, they began to shout, "We want Samson! We want Samson! We want Samson!" He was led out to amuse them. He prayed, "O Lord, God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes."

Leaning against the pillars that supported the whole building, he brought the whole house down, "So the dead, whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed with his life."

Finally, let us remember that the beginning of restoration is repentance. What Samson didn't do when he could see, he did when he was blind. He got serious with God and serious about his sin. Now he not only wanted forgiveness but deliverance. And he wanted them now. With his eyes out, the game was over. Deserted by the women he loved and the friends who abandoned him, he now depended on God.

Perhaps you have sinned, but your hair has "grown back"; that is, God is beginning to use you again. You must realize that He will not abandon you if you cry to Him in repentance and faith. The God who was with Samson is with us. He is the God who not only disciplines His children, but restores them too.

Source: The Moody Church

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