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More Grit Than a Grindstone 6 of 6

Updated: 6 days ago

Obviously, tricking the love of your life into getting captured by his enemies would qualify as a relationship dealbreaker, but we have quite a few more red flags that Samson should have seen before they reached the Philistine-capture phase.


First: Delilah did not follow Yahweh. Scripture doesn’t say that she’s a Philistine, but she does come from a town outside of Israel. It’s clear by her actions that she doesn’t follow God nor his commands.


King Solomon, in later years, fell into the same trap. He married wives and concubines from foreign nations, and they clouded his judgment. In the same way, Christians must exercise caution when dating or marrying those outside of the Christian faith (2 Corinthians 6:14). If we yoke with someone of another faith, we may find ourselves drifting away from the truths of Scripture.


Second: Samson and Delilah had extra-marital sex. The Bible doesn’t make it clear if the two had any plans to get together under the bonds of holy matrimony. But the two hadn’t married, and they likely didn’t have plans to anytime soon.


In Christian circles, this is a hot button issue. After all, many Christians will engage in sex before marriage, even with the intention of getting married eventually.


So why did Samson make a mistake here?


Sex physiologically binds us to another person. We draw a deeper connection with them than in any other relationship. And bonds are hard to rip. Samson may have wanted to escape Delilah. Maybe he saw the signs of her deception and wanted to flee. But because they’d forged a bond through sex, he must’ve found it much harder to break away from her. He must’ve imagined the kind of pain that he would cause both Delilah and himself.


Third: Samson ignores red flags. Samson had to be incredibly thick not to draw the connections between the Philistine attacks and Delilah’s prying into the secret of his strength.


Although Samson doesn’t really top the list for the wisest of judges (he had a particularly hot temper) he had to have noticed some massive red flags and correlations. He chooses to ignore them and trusts in his own strength, instead of the Lord, to deliver him from his enemies. In the end, his strength fails him, and because he didn’t do something about the red flags, he wound up in the end of a very messy relationship. (Source: crosswalk.com)


Samson’s story is heartbreaking. God had a plan to use Samson to defeat the Philistines. That plan was laid out before his birth. I am sure it would not have been as hard if Samson had just followed God’s plan, but in the end, despite Samson’ interference, God used Samson in a mighty way!


On Friday we left off with Samson falling asleep with his head on Delilah’s lap. She motioned to a man to cut off the seven braids of his hair and immediately his strength drained from him. And verse 20 “he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.”


The rest of his life, however short, will be in misery and slavery. I can hardly imagine having my eyes “bored” out of my head, but then to be tied to a grinder in the prison…pure torture.

Grinding grain to make into flour required two heavy stones, one secured to the floor, the other fashioned and shaped so that it could revolve around, crushing the grain that fell between the stones. And the task was typically relegated to an ox. He has been tortured with the removal of his eyes and he is now humiliated to do the work of an animal. I can only imagine he was not treated with kindness; not after everything he had done to them.


Even though this guy was so messed up, I feel sorry for him. His tempter, his lusts, his addictions, his lack of will power, all ruled his life. He reminds me of me. God is so good and so gracious to us. He gives us chance after chance to follow His plan, and even after all the mistakes, He will use us yet. Simply amazing!


We don’t know how long Samson was in captivity, chained in bronze leg irons, but we pick up in verse 23 with the Philistines gathering to offer a large sacrifice to their god Dagon. They were celebrating their victory over Samson and giving credit where credit was not due.


“…And they said: “Our god has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy!” When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said: “Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, the destroyer of our land, And the one who multiplied our dead.” Judges 16:23-24 NKJV


There no doubt was a lot of wine, spirits were high, they were feeling pretty good about their situation and about their victory, when someone suggested bringing Samson from the prison. The Bible says so “that he may perform for us.”


Several commentaries suggest “that Samson was brought there to be as it were baited by the populace, jeered and jested at, reviled and reproached, perhaps struck or pelted;” - Pulpit Commentary


Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says, “Whether by his forced jests, or by feats of strength, or merely by being made to submit to insults, we cannot tell. Josephus says that they sent for Samson “that they might insult him over their wine.”


The point is Samson’s misery is about to end.


“While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.


“When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.


“Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”


“Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.” Judges 16:25-30 NIV


Samson’ story is not a simple, innocent, children’s story. It is filled with greed and lust, deceit and lies, rage and revenge and yet…and yet, God had a plan.


What can Christians learn from Samson and Delilah? We can learn three very clear things from their messy and toxic “love story.”


1. We need to exercise caution in the world of dating and marriage. Delilah was probably no doubt attractive and alluring, but because Samson didn’t heed the red flags, he discovered she had a rather ugly side underneath.


2. We need to set clear boundaries in relationships outside of marriage. Sex can cause an immense amount of hurt when two people break the bond and go their separate ways. We can only imagine the immense amount of pain Samson felt when he’d discovered Delilah’s betrayal.


3. We need to be wary of dating those outside of the Christian faith. It’s important to have relationships of a platonic kind with those outside of the church. After all, yeast does no good if it just hangs out with yeast all the time (Matthew 13). But when it comes to relationships that have the intention of marriage, we need to make sure that our partners pursue a relationship with God wholeheartedly. (Source: crosswalk.com)


And this is where we will end. Despite Samson’s moral failures, the New Testament lists him as one of the great heroes of the faith.


“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” Hebrews 11:32-34 NKJV


by Jeanette Stark – Monday, January 23, 2023

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