Devotion – Judges 16, Part 1

I’m going to break the reading of this chapter into two devotions.  The first part will focus on Samson’s spiral down.  The second will show the beauty of God’s grace.

Sin will keep take you farther than you wanted to stray, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you ever wanted to pay!  Samson’s sinful actions and impulsive heart are about to catch up with him.  This story is a classic picture of the lure of sin, and the danger.

To begin with, we see Samson with a prostitute.  He is a sex addict.  He just can’t say “no” to a woman who will give him sex.  Then we find him in another relationships with a Philistine woman, again against God’s plan for His people.  To understand the rest of this story, you must remember the Nazirite vow that Samson had lived under.  God had kept His promise to Samson’s parents, that as long as his hair wasn’t cut, God would protect him.  The issue wasn’t Samson’s hair, it was obedience to God.  Still, Samson continues to make one self-absorbed narcissistic decision after another.

Delilah was a fox!  She was gorgeous!  She had those flirty eyes, and that sweet voice.  And she knew how to treat a man!  I kind of picture Delilah as a sweet, southern-belle type woman, with a cute little accent.  Samson just loved Delilah.  And he couldn’t say no to her.  I can just see her asking Samson about his secret as she strokes his hair, and kisses him, “You can trust little ol’ me.”  You would have thought that he would get the tar out of there, but no, he couldn’t resist her charm.  He begins by telling her that if he is tied with leather ropes that would hold him.  During the night, Delilah ties him down with leather ropes.  The next morning, with the Philistines int he room, Delilah shouts, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you.”  He breaks the leather cords easily.  The next night Delilah bats her eyes at him, wiggles her hips, and says, “Oh Samson, how can we be close if you don’t tell me the truth.”  This time Samson tells her to have them tie him down with new ropes made of horses hair (he’s getting a little closer to the truth).  Same song, next verse.  Samson breaks the ropes and the Philistines run off.   The next night Samson tells her to braid his hair (now he is real close to the truth).  Finally, Samson gives in to sweet little Delilah.  He tells her the secret to his strength.  He tells her that if she were to cut his hair, he would lose his strength.  During the night, she cuts his hair. The next morning the Philistines are in the room, Delilah shouts.  But this time something is different.  The Spirit of God has left Samson.  He no longer has his strength.  The consequences of sin have crept up on him, and there is nothing he can do.  The Philistines capture Samson, pluck his eyes out, and take him into captivity.

You may say,”Something like this never happens today.”  Think again.  There are people all around with stories like Samson.  Stories that start something like this, “It all started with one drink. . .”  “I never imagined that flirting in the office would lead to this…”  “It was just one time, one night…”  “It’s just pictures on the computer, it’s not real…”   God loves us deeply.  He created us for His glory and to live in fellowship with Him.  He can also see the path of our lives clearly. When we come across commands in the Bible, our tendency is to step over them, believing that somehow we can be the one person who lives outside of God’s commands but maintains the life we wanted.  We live in a culture that basically ignores most of God’s instruction on sexuality, lifestyle, and morality.  And way too often, we who know God embrace the culture’s mores believing we can control our lives much better than God can.  Samson should have stayed away from Delilah in the first place.  His life will crash and burn.  The challenge from this story is that we too need to hear from God as he tells us to flee from temptation (I Corinthians 6:18) rather than seeing how close we can come to it without caving in.

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