The famous story of Samson and Delilah in chapter 16 of the book of Judges shows us about the classic fall of the biblical superman. But unlike the kryptonite weakness of Superman of DC Comics, the weakness of the biblical superman was a kiss of a strange woman. Preachers and writers love to tell about this story because it vividly portrays how the enticing force of lust seriously destroys the famous and the strong.
First of all, it is noteworthy to understand that Samson was a born Judge to Israel with a Nazarite vow since birth. It is a vow of separation and self-imposed discipline for the purpose of special service exemplified through abstinence and special signs like growing long hair (Judges. 13:5-7; 16:17; Amos 2:11-12). Being a Nazarite then is to live a life of consecration, living for One Audience alone – God. Even before his birth, the angel of the Lord said to Samson’s parents, that the child will be dedicated to God (Judges 13). But aside from that, to be called a “Judge” during that time bears a responsibility of being a deliverer or a hero whom God has gifted with strength and wisdom to protect Israel from their nearby persistent enemies.
Yet, in spite of Samson’s godly privilege before God, unfortunately, he chose to live a wayward life. He even married a pagan wife (Judges 14:1-2), which is of course clearly prohibited by God through the Mosaic laws. Then later on, he found joy in flirting with a harlot, namely Delilah. Judges 16:1 says,
Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.
We don’t know all the background details why Samson chose to live oppositely of his vow. But in Judges 14:3, it seems that Samson had a lust problem. He lived according to his manly desires. People today might call him “romantic,” but I prefer to call him a womanizer. But then the lesson that I want you to see in Samson’s life, is that, like Samson, even if we have been blessed with divine skills and with born-talents; and even if we have in us a form or ritual of religiosity, and that we are surrounded with religious activities, but still, it does not guarantee that you will live true spirituality.
Samson had with him a Nazarite vow; a vow that supposed to show one’s complete longing for God and a dedication to His cause. Yet sadly, he lived a life so far from the spirit of that vow.
Religious rituals and activities do not produce true spirituality, although externally they may express it; it may make you look highly spiritual, but deep within, you’re a hypocrite.
You see, the attractive religious ritual and a high sounding title in Samson did not make him a lover of God. Instead, he became a lover of self-pleasure (2 Timothy 3:4). But later on, all of it had been crushed to the ground because instead of repenting from his hypocrisy, what he did was to play the role of a macho man with Delilah. He thought that Delilah was just a fragile Palestinian woman, a harlot who has no power over him; for after all, he is the superman of the age, so how come this harlot could be a threat to him? But as you know in the story, Samson was dead wrong. In Judges 16:15-21, you’ll read the conspiracy and deceptive strategy of this woman to bring the mighty Samson down on his knees. It was a shameful defeat; a dishonorable fall. Try to use your imagination as you carefully meditate Samson’s defeat,
Then she (Delilah) said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is.”
It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death. So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man.”
When Delilah saw that he had told her all that was in his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying: “Come up once more, for he has told me all that is in his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands.
She made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his hair. Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him. She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.
That was a terrible fall! Oh, so lots of insightful lessons to deduce from this story.
But here in this scenario, let me just say that one of the apparent lessons that we can learn is that, don’t play with sin. Don’t be deceived, just as we can’t hold fire in our hands, so also with sin. You can’t play with it without being taken into the fires of Hell. King Solomon understand this very well, that’s why he said in Proverbs 6:24-33,
“…the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread…Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.” (ESV)
See? Thus, our attitude towards lust is not to play with it, but to run from it. Just imagine how many young people are losing their virginity or purity because they thought “purity” doesn’t matter anymore; “it’s so traditional and old fashioned” they say. For them, what matters is what they feel and what they like! And since it doesn’t matter to them, they just play with it, not knowing the serious consequences it will do in their person and to their destiny.
In the life of Samson, his play with the sin of lust had caused him to lose his privilege as Israel’s judge. He lost his purity as a Nazarite; he lost the presence of God in his life and in the end, it caused him to lose him his life.
That’s a lonely tragedy.
Therefore, let’s fiercely follow the apostolic principle and effective strategy against the lust of the flesh. Paul said it simply in 2 Timothy 2:22,
We should “flee” our attention and intention from every form and face of lust. For if not, it will produce inside us a sin that corrupts the mind and perverts the action that is so burdensome to the conscience.
Our eyes contribute a large amount of percent in our everyday battle against sin. It should be guarded, protected, and secured by proper attitude – godly determination. It should only focus to the beauty of Christ’s holiness and pure love. We can do this by not putting our eyes on tempting views and lustful materials. We should practice eyes of love, fueled by the truth of the Gospel. If the strength of lust is imagination, then counter it with godly imagination by remembering the Cross of Jesus Christ. But just in case the attraction of lust is so strong that your mind is so feeble to resist its evil, then try to think its consequence in your life. Ask yourself: What will happen when lust controls my attention? Well, the basics are the following in light of Solomon’s warning,
- You dishonor yourself. Self-respect is destroyed.
- Good and honorable relationship with people is broken. You shame yourself before people.
- You put sorrow in your heart.
- You are a good candidate to Hell.
Therefore, it is important to understand that the power of lust comes from what we see which in effect stirs up our hidden or carnal pleasures. This lust of the eyes is one of the major tactics of our spiritual enemy which is used against us in many different ways, form, and timing.
It seems that to overcome outward temptation and to mortify carnal desires, one should be aware constantly of “what” and “how” he or she sees everything. For the eye is one of the doors into our person. And Satan uses the outward temptation to stir up or energize our fleshy desires within (Proverbs 4:25). Of course we can’t possibly erase the outward evil around us! But we can control our eyes. One should always practice the winning tactic of Joseph which is called, “The Flee Tactic!”
The key principle of defense is this: Our eyes can’t delete the temptation outside us, but it can demolish its entertainment inside us. Therefore, Guard your eyes if you want to protect your heart.