Monday: Judges 15
Samson is a man who is driven by personal vendetta rather than national vengeance. He fights against those who have wronged him, yet shows no motive or passion to help his people who are ruled by the Philistines. Samson's sorrows, like having his fiance being given to his Best man, are really his own doing. He shouldn't have been going to the Philistines to get a wife. Samson was driven by human passion rather than godly principle. Such men inevitably shoot themselves in the foot.
What kind of treatment did he expect to get from his notorious alliances? Men without virtue have nothing good to give. Matthew 12:35
There is an old Russian story:
A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung by the scorpion, but the scorpion argues that if it did that, they would both drown. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. The scorpion climbs onto the frog's back and the frog begins to swim, but midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung the frog, to which the scorpion replies "I couldn't help it. It's in my nature. I'm a scorpion."
The depravity of the Philistines remind us of the depravity of all men without Christ.
They act cruelly out of their unsaved nature.
Before I was a Christian, I had many friends I got loaded with. I made the mistake of fetching some money from a hiding place in my house in front of one of them. Not long after, I came home and all of my money was gone. Not only so, but also my high-grade sinsemilla weed that I kept in a rolling tray under my couch. A neighbor told me that he saw one of my friends at my house earlier knocking on the door. He described the same friend whom I had dumbly allowed to see my money spot. He was indeed the "friend" who not only stole my money but even stole the bud that I immediately ran for to soothe my loss--a double sorrow!
“Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, Nor take up their names on my lips.” (Psalm 16:4, NKJV)
Samson chose to make companions of the Philistines. Did he expect for them to carry him closer to heaven? No. They carried him closer to hell.
If a man persists in disobedience, God will hand him over to Satan's brats. And he will be the loser for it.
His fiance and her father would be burned to death. Samson soon suffered the betrayal of Judah, his fellow Israelites. Consequences and sorrow rolled down on Samson like mighty waters. Psalm 42:7
See Christ here: Ruined men, handed over to Satan, may become aware of their miserable state of sin and learn a permanent lesson. Proverbs 23:14 The lost sheep, the prodigal son, the short man named Zacheus, a sinful woman caught in adultery; what do all of these have in common? Each suffering sin's consequence and soul affliction, turned to the Lord Jesus Christ and found amazing grace and mercy.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37, NKJV)
Read Judges 16:1-3
“Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.” (Judges 16:1, NKJV)
Samson is the classic anatomy of a backslidder: We remember that he had God's dealings in his life. Judges 13:24-25 He had devoted parents and a divine destiny. Judges 13:5 Judges 13:8 Yet Samson, disobediently went downward, time and time again.
For more than a dozen summers, Timothy Treadwell, an avid outdoorsman and “Bear Specialist,” lived peacefully and without weapons among Alaskan grizzlies. He was confident around them, video taping them and often getting close enough to touch them. In the documentary: "The Grizzly Man", Timothy more and more lost touch with reality. In an appearance on the David Letterman show, he described the bears as ‘mostly harmless party animals.’ Two years later, while his video tape was rolling, Treadmill and his girlfriend were fatally mauled in a bear attack. Two thirds of Timothy’s body was found in the stomach of the bear.
The lesson is obvious—wild animals, sooner or later, will act according to their nature. Listen to this verse:
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV)
Samson’s epitaph should read: "YOU CAN'T PAT THE DEVIL ON THE HEAD FOREVER."
As we have noted before, God continues to use this man to defeat the Philistines on behalf of his people Israel. His destiny was his call. The Bible says:
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29, NKJV)
Yes, the Lord fulfilled the call of the man--even in his disobedience. But the Lord used, Joseph's envious brothers, hard-hearted Pharoah, betraying Judas and a host of disobedient people throughout history to bring about His divine purposes.
But who wants that testimony and that experience with the Lord? I don't.
Samson's story would be entirely different if he had a heart that sought the Lord continually. In spite of Samson's character, victories were achieved by the glory of God. But victories could have been achieved with a man who ended his life with blessing rather than tragedy.
See Christ here: Samson did everything wrong; yet God overruled him and used him as an instrument to defeat Israel's enemies. But Christ did all that was right and defeated the devil. See the excellence of Christ!
Read Judges 6:4-5
“Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.” (Judges 16:4, NKJV)
Sorek wasn’t too far from Samson’s home, but his heart is now far from God. Notice that it doesn’t say he “fell” in love. This was no accident. He was not an ill-fated victim of his own romantic feelings. No, it says, “he loved” Delilah. He made a conscious decision to dedicate his heart to her. We need not be, nor should we be, hapless victims of stupid heart desires. Jeremiah, the prophet, reminds us of what the Bible teaches us from Cain to Ciaphas: our hearts are bent on evil.
““The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9,)
See Christ here: Only Christ and His gospel can rescue us from a wicked heart. From Peter to Paul, wrong-hearted people found out how ugly their hearts were in a single encounter with Christ. These same, humbly and happily exchanged their hearts for new ones. When Jesus said, "You must be born again." He foretold an experience that included new birth, a new heart and new desires. John 3:3, 2 Cor 5:17, Titus 3:5, Ezekiel 36:26
Make no mistake about it, like many who loved Christ briefly but loved their sin more. Samson deliberately and consciously decided to dedicate his heart to one who would betray him in the end.
Friends, it is a just a matter of time until the one who plays with sin makes a final decision to break up with God and join himself to a different life—a life that doesn’t include God.
I can guarantee you that Samson never felt happier, more at peace and freer than he had ever felt after he broke up with God. But it was a false peace. Jeremiah 6:14
As a young man, I had a New Testament that I carried to school everyday after giving my heart to Jesus as teen. Every morning I would take it from the top of my dresser and put it in my back pocket. I would read it at school and highlight good verses. I used it to teach Bible studies on campus during lunch. It was my little friend and helper even when I wasn't using it. Just feeling it in my hip pocket reminded me of my faith.
As time went by, I began slipping into temptation. I knew it was wrong and felt the grief of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, I persisted with sin, little by little, with one compromise after another. The conviction and guilt began to lessen as my conscious grew harder. But God was still grappling with me. I was having fun in sin, but was very unhappy in my soul. The Bible described me perfectly :
“The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways. (Proverbs 14:14)
You see, I was a backslider filled with my own lust, temper, anxieties, disappointment, mistakes, and stupid choices. I was not at peace with God, with myself, with the church, or with the world. I had no inward rest. My conscience condemned me. All that the worldly people who knew me before as a Christian condemned me. "I thought you were a Christian." Christians who had known my once "on fire" life were frustrated with me. When the Bible says, "There is no peace to the wicked." It is spot on.
One morning I went to put that little New Testament in my pocket as I always had. As I picked it up I stopped and held in for a minute looking at it. I thought "Why? I'm not living the life anymore why should I carry it anymore?" I had grown cold and dead to Jesus because I had been flirting with sin and the world. And right then and there, I set that Bible down to never put it in my pocket again. I quit God that day. He hadn't let me down. No, He had done everything including giving His own life for me.
He didn't break up with me. I broke up with Him.
You see, I had left God because I had a new girlfriend called sin and sin said, "Come run away with me and we will do anything we want to do." When I laid that Bible back down on the dresser, I made a conscious decision to leave God. It was the worse decision of my life and do you know what I immediately felt?
Peace. But friends, it wasn't a good peace.
It was the kind of peace that comes when you are through letting God wrestle with you. I didn’t want his dealings with me anymore. I had been hostile to Him for some time. I had been grieving and resisting the Holy Spirit. Now I was declaring that I was through with God, and it felt good to my flesh to be out from God’s moral dealings with me.
But I, like Samson, was headed for disaster.
Read Judges 16:5-20
Samson's girlfriend doesn't love him. She is selling him out from the very beginning. Like sin, she is a deceiver who promises the world but kills in the end.
“For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.” (Romans 7:11, ESV)
Samson, playing with sin as he has, has lost all discernment. He plays a game with her about the secret of the his strength and what will make him weak. First it is bowstrings, then new ropes, after that, hair in a loom and then he gives up the truth. Judges 16:17 Notice how he gets closer and closer to the secret of his strength until he gives it up.
One of the deceptions of sin is that it goes from bad to worse. 2 Tim 3:13 He will eventually lose all by losing it a little at a time. In John Bunyan's Grace Abounding, Satan says:
“Many have been as hot as you, but I have quenched their zeal. I will cool you by degrees, insensibly, little by little. What do I care though I be seven years in chilling your heart as long as I can do it at last. Though be burning hot at the present, If can pull you from this fire, I shall have you cold before too long.”
Sin's deception is also blinding pride. Obadiah 3 He thinks himself untouchable. He playing a game of, "How close can I get to sin without being burned?" Of course pride says, "You'll never get burned." The Spirit has been pulling Samson from the fire time and time again, until one day He doesn't. Samson has resisted the Holy Spirit and grieved the Holy Spirit time and time again until the dove flies away.
“And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.” (Judges 16:20, NKJV)
See Christ here: He recognizes a flatterer in the wilderness as His mortal foe. Satan pretends to be his friend to help Him from His hunger. "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." Matthew 4:4 And what does Jesus do with this deceiver? He answers him pointedly with the sword of the Word. "It is written..." Samson played three times with his tempter until she had her man. Christ parried the sword three times with his tempter, until Satan left him.
Read Judges 16:21-31
It truly displays the glory of God to use such a loser like Samson. But even the wrath of men shall praise Him. Psalm 76:10 Samson was a loser because he lost much in playing with sin. He lost his way. He lost his hair--which is his dedication to God. And, he lost his sight which speaks volumes:
"...having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;” (Ephesians 4:18)
I've known men who were wise in the Word and wise in life that took a wrong road. One such man enjoined himself to a woman through temptation that quickly turned to immorality. In a short space of time, the man who used to give sharp challenge and keen exhortation to others, was now both dumb and blind. Sin had left him a shell of the man he used to be.
“For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.” (Proverbs 6:26, NKJV)
Samson ultimately lost his liberty. It is another deception of sin that joy will come from being free to do anything one wants. The Bible says that anyone living in sin is a slave to sin. Romans 6:16 Samson tragically found out that doing anything he wanted to do led him right into bondage.
“The last experience of the sinner is the horrible
enslavement of the freedom he desired.”
Samson found a redemption from slavery by losing one more thing--his life.
See Christ here: Though Samson is such an anti-type of Christ in his moral behavior, we see Christ in that the deliverer won by losing his life. Christ was bound up, though not unwillingly, by men and taken to a cross where he would save others through self-sacrifice. Jesus' call to discipleship tells us that we ultimately win by losing our life.
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24–25, NKJV)
Jacob won when he lost in his wrestling with the Angel of the Lord. He won when he was helpless; he had power with God when his power was gone. 2 Corinthians 13:4 Old Jacob died in that wrestling match and a new man was born. When he left the place of wrestling, the old man was dead and a new man was born, with a new name and a new life in God. Jesus won for us when He died. We win when we lose our life in the man who won for us when He died.