Sunday, September 15th, 2013
Samson & Delilah: Star Struggles (Part 4)
When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, 'Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.' So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand.
Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 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.
Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison.
Judges 16:18-21 (NKJV)
Samson's biggest mistake was loving Delilah more than God. He acted in other proud and angry ways: behaviors most God-fearing people would shun. But consider the ongoing relationship between God and Samson prior to Delilah. Consider Samson's job as judge of Israel for 20 years. God blessed His unusual hero. He used the strong man's exploits to further Israel's independence from the Philistines.
But Samson had one habit that pushed him toward his terrible punishment. I call it mindless behavior: a reckless, take-the-grace-of-God-for granted kind of behavior. Jesus revealed it as desert temptation #3: one of Satan's top three tools to make us trip:
'Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you, and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.' And Jesus answered and said to him, 'It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God' ' (Luke 4:9-12).
'Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God... by requiring a sign of Him, or miracles to be done by Him' (Gill's Exposition of the Bible). Because God's miracles are provided to us in His timing--not ours. We are foolish to think He extends His grace if we refuse to grow up--if we continue to act like willful kids or wild teens.
Shall the King of clean (Who is Jesus) continue to clean up our messes without correction? Or does our refusal to grow up tempt God to turn away--so we can learn from our mistakes? Scripture affirms the latter.
From the last Line in the story, 'Samson had judged Israel twenty years' (Judges 16:31), said earlier when he killed 1000 Philistines (in Judges 15:20), we conclude Samson sat on Israel's bench for two decades beyond his wild-style youth--and before his infatuation with Delilah.
Did Samson suffer a mid-life crisis?
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Samson & Delilah: Star Struggles series.