From birth, Samson was marked out to be holy to the Lord. Heralded by none other than an angel of the Lord, he was nothing less than a miracle given to his barren mother – destined to be the hope of Israel (Judges 13:5.)
But Samson had a problem. He wasn’t holy. Nothing we are told about his life was characterized by integrity, honesty, or purity. No. Samson had his own plans on how to conquer the Philistines. He didn’t think he needed God’s strict laws. I mean, they were so oppressive. And, after all, he had God’s favor. No need to listen to a God who chose him to be such a special person, right? Clearly, God already liked Samson a lot so no biggie if he didn’t listen to those silly suggestions from Big Daddy, huh?
Samson did not listen to wisdom, even though he was quite blessed to be given it (Judges 14:3.) He was secretive, self-absorbed, and impure according to the vow to which God had called him (Judges 14:6-7, 9, 16:1.) He had great pride and a vicious temper.
Again and again…and again, Samson broke his covenant with God. The man had no interest in self-control or self-denial. He indulges in that which he sees as pleasing and right and, not surprisingly, it always turns out wrong for him.
Samson loved what he was born to hate. His selfishness allowed him to be deceived by the very people God had chosen him to conquer and destroy.
Samson didn’t have to be blind and imprisoned; he chose to be blind and imprisoned. No, he didn’t gouge his own eyes or lock himself up. Nevertheless, every single time he chose to trust in himself and disregard the promises he was responsible for making good on, he was storing up wrath and judgement from his holy God.
Still, God was patient; Samson remained strong and continued to win. Until…
After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her,“Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.” ~Judges 16:4-6
A beautiful woman who loved money and did not love God presented herself in an effort to cash in on his lust and disobedience, trading it for personal gain. The text says Samson loved her. Samson loved a woman who was void of God and whose only motivation was money; whose only goal was to deceive and destroy him. Of course, this was nothing new for Samson. He had done as much his entire life. Samson did not realize who she was working for. He didn’t think about the fact that the same men whose dirty, bloody hands were employing her were also plotting his torture and death. No. Samson made that woman – the one he should have loathed – his god.
In the end, God has his way with this blind fool anyway. He was sent to save God’s people and he ended up desperately needing saved himself. God eventually accomplished both. How very tragic that a man so blessed with favor could not see past himself far enough to do God’s will when his eyes were still open.
Our world is full of money-worshiping, God-hating, lust-inciting Delilahs. (Such were some of us.) Every magazine, movie, commercial, and billboard breeds their beckoning. Our young men are being groomed and encouraged to either remain or become fools. Secrecy, self-absorption, impurity, pride, and anger will blind and imprison them for the rest of their lives. Spiritually strong men must search for and save the strongest Samsons of our day. Spiritually strong women must seek and save dirtiest Delilahs as well. We must become a church who knows how to speak grace, truth, and warning into the lives of the sexually impure. Yes. This may well be the biggest issue within and without the church in our generation.
Our God is patient. His wisdom calls now, but it will not call forever.