Saturday, February 9, 2013

Samson's Women

I've been reading the book of Judges during my Bible reading this week.  It finishes up with the life of Samson.  This young man was born to a man named Manoah and his wife who had up until this point been barren for many years.  An angel appeared and and told her she would "bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Judges 13:5)

Months went by and then "the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him...." (Judges 13:24-25a)

Years go by and Samson grows into a young man. Everyone recognizes that he has a special calling from God upon him because his hair has never been cut and he never touches alcoholic drinks. (Part of the Nazarite vow) But Samson has a weakness. Women!

The first instance of this weakness occurs in Judges 14:1-2 ..."And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife."  His father and mother tried to talk him out of getting this woman to marry because she was a "daughter of the Philistines" who were enemies of Israel.  Samson would not take no for an answer and also, strange as it may seem, it was "of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines:" (Judges 14:4)  Long story short....he did marry her. She made him mad. He left for a while.  He got over pouting and went back to her but lo and behold his father-in-law had given his bride to a friend!  This made Samson really angry so he tied flaming torches on the tails of foxes and sent them into the Philistines' fields of standing corn and burned them down.  Because of this, the Philistines came and burned to death Samson's former wife and her father. (v.4-6) Just like a domino effect things were spiraling out of control in the life of Samson!

Next we see Samson go down to Gaza "and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her". (Judges 16:1)
The people in Gaza had heard the reputation of Samson. The reputation he had for fighting and women...not his reputation of being a Nazarite and man of God! So they made a plan to kill Samson when daylight came the next day. But at midnight Samson got out of the harlot's bed and broke the doors off the gate of the city and carried them away on his shoulders!

The very next verse (Judges 16:4) tells us that "it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah."  Oh yeah. Who has not heard of Delilah? I don't know if he married Delilah or not but he did begin to live with her. The Philistines still hated Samson but were afraid of his strength and told Delilah they would make it worth her while by each of the lords of the Philistines giving her 1,100 pieces of silver.  Samson and Delilah both seemed to be cursed by lust! Him for women and her for money!

Delilah tried and tried to get Samson to tell her his secret source of super-human strength! (Judges 16:6-15) and he would make up some bogus story and tell it to her.  She would believe him and then he would laugh at her when she realized he had been lying. However beginning in Judges 16:16-17 Samson gets fed up with her daily whining and tells Delilah his deep secret...his strength comes because he has never cut his long hair.  Sooooo...dear sweet Delilah gets him into a deep sleep and then calls the lords of the Philistines (who have promised her a LOT of money you remember) and they cut off all Samson's hair while he was asleep.  Then Delilah shook Samson awake and 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." (Judges 16:20) {The all-caps are just for emphasis} That has to be one of the saddest statements in the Bible!  He was so completely and utterly immersed in his sinful lifestyle that he didn't even realize when the Spirit of God departed from him!

Was Samson a man of God?  Yes!  Had God blessed him earlier in his life? Yes!  So how did this catastrophe happen to him?  He did things that were totally against God's teachings!  Can a Christian today get this far from God? Yes! How? By purposefully lusting after things that God has said we must not have. Not just lusting only but then partaking of these things! Sometimes losing the power of God in our lives is a gradual things. And like Samson, we sadly don't even know it is gone until we NEED God's power and it's not there!

Samson was taken prisoner by the Philistines and they "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."(Judges 16:21)  He's now a far cry from the hero he once was!  But it seems that perhaps in that prison, blind and being used like an animal to grind the grain, Samson once again began to feel the presence of God. God didn't protect him from the consequences of his sins but He did not throw him away. God still had work for Samson to do. Verse 22 of chapter 16 says "Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven".  His strength was beginning to return. In the meantime the lords of the Philistines never let any opportunity go by to revel in the fact that they had the great Samson as a prisoner!  One day they held a huge party to offer a sacrifice to their false god and idol called Dagon and to rejoice once again over this "Dagon" causing Samson, their enemy, to be delivered into their hands!  After they had been partying and drinking until "their hearts were merry", they called for the prison guards to bring Samson so he could "perform" for them and they could make fun of him.

By this time in his life, Samson wanted to do one last thing for God.  He asked the boy who led him into the party to place him between the "pillars whereupon the house standeth".  He did. And you probably know what happened next! Samson called out to God to remember him and strengthen him and let him have revenge on these Philistine enemies.  The Bible records that Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines" and then he pushed on the two pillars which held up the house with all his might.
"So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life." (Judges 16:30)

Does it make you wonder how much MORE Samson could have done for God with all the blessings he originally had if he had not this weakness for women?  It makes me wonder how many blessings I may have already lost because I have not wholly followed God in my own life!  I want to become a better Christian. A better women. A better example.  What do you want in your life?  I'd love for you to share that with me!

May God bless you my friends!



marriana said...

We as believers, may very well have quinched the Holy Spirit's usefulness in our lives. He is ALL poweful of course, but without a clean vessel from which to dwell, His ability to work freely in and through us is hindered. May we be careful to not slow His moving in our lives...... said...

Obedience is not without cost, but the riches that come to us because of it are blessings 10,000 besides! Oh that we'd walk it right the first time and not have to live with any regrets regarding what might have been.

Blessings to you, Marilyn, as you continue to walk out your faith this week.


Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Marilyn, I have wondered so often how much more the Lord could have done with me had I cooperated with Him. It grieves my heart. Blessings to you dear friend as you serve Him.

Yolanda said...

Honestly, the sky is the limit, who knows? Only God and probably that is a good thing. Hungry for more, Yolanda