Standard; Jg 16:4 Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
(Which means “to become weak” He got what he asked for didn't he? Samson loves to become weak.)
We love to become diluted with the world.
This was not the way God intended Samson to live. In fact he had been set apart as a Nazarite. A Nazarite was one who took a vow to separate themselves from the ways of the world. So separate that they were not even allowed to eat anything off the vine lest it be fermented and they would adversely be affected by the alcohol.
They were not to cut there hair, lest they be caught up in vanity, (pride) and they were not to even touch an unclean thing. These were all external signs pointing to internal purity. Samson was to be raised up and set aside by God to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. He was given supernatural physical strength to overcome the Philistines.
It's interesting that his long hair was the source of his strength because it makes the connection between vanity or pride and God-given strength. God resists the proud but give grace (spiritual strength) to the humble. Samson's hair typifies grace, more on that later.
In the NT era, the baptized are the Nazarites. Our purity is not of the external, but it is to be of the internal. Our baptismal vow renounces the devil, his works, and all his ways and we promise to serve the Triune God and Him alone. Our supernatural strength to defeat the Philistines comes from the implanting of the Holy Spirit.
But as we pick up Samson's story we see that he has been playing very loose with his Nazarite vows, much as we Lutherans have a tendency to play loose with our baptismal vows today. Especially in the area of sexual purity. It started with his marriage to a Philistine girl, who ditched him and then married one of his groomsmen.
He didn't handle this rejection very well as we are told that he immediately found a harlot and slept with her (v1) and now he moves in with let me become weak Delilah. In this biblical account, Delilah represents the world, the lords of the Philistines represent demons, and the Philistines represent the devil. All working together to dilute the faith of Samson.
In short, Samson was playing with fire. He was putting himself into situations where the devil can easily gain the upper hand. Shacking up with the world invites weakness into your spiritual life. Or as James says:
Jas 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
5 And the lords of the Philistines ( representing the devil's henchmen namely demons) came up to her and said to her, "Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver."
Delilah represents the world here, and the devil is always using the often unsuspecting people and the things of this world to help expose our weaknesses for the purpose of overpowering us, binding us up in sin, and afflicting us. He wants us chained to sin and tormented by guilt..
Let me show you how he does this. The devil does not have the power to read your mind, but he might as well have the power, because he does have the power to observe you as you react to the things that the world throws your way. Indeed, he has been observing mankind since the creation and he's taking notes. He knows the areas that we are likely to fail in and he uses them to entice us away from God.
He can spot a covetous look a mile away. He knows the body language of pride, the lingering gaze of lust, the quizzical look of doubt. I wonder how long he observed Eve? Did he catch her looking at the tree of knowledge of good and evil with a quizzical look, and then come at her with the question, “Did God really say?”
Oh, he is so good at observing our actions that we swear he can read our minds! But remember, He who was placed in you at your baptism is greater than he who is in the world and he is in the world not in you. He is relegated to the role of observer and tempter.
6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you may be bound to afflict you."
What a seemingly stupid question! Like Samson is just going to blurt it out! But this is the opening kick off, the first pitch, the jump ball, the announcement that the game is on. Flee Samson flee! Get out of the arena!!
7 And Samson said to her, "Get thee behind me Satan” He packed his overnight bag, his razor, (oh wait he didn't have a razor) and he left! Is that what he said? No! It was not his habit of saying no to temptation. It was not his habit to resist the devil (James 4:7) Rather he decides to lie to her, to toy with her in order to show how strong he thought he was.
“If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man."
8 So the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, and she bound him with them.
Now, look how the devil's henchmen work with the world. They bring that which they believe will be the ruin of the believer and put it into the hands of the world, and the world then does the rest. People under their sway will glorify alcohol, illicit sex, money, power and so on, and the world will use it to imprison the unsuspecting victim. But remember, Jesus came to set the captives free.
9 Now men were lying in wait, staying with her in the room. And she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" (sic em demons) But he broke the bowstrings as a strand of yarn breaks when it touches fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
Phew, that was close, the Philistines were right there ready to pounce on their victim, but Samson dodged the bullet because God had given him the means. It's like the time you drove home drunk and nothing happened, or that one night stand in which you escaped pregnancy or disease, or that time you took something from your employer and it wasn't missed. Or that incident with the police that your parents never found out about.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, "Look, you have mocked me and told me lies. Now, please tell me what you may be bound with." 11 So he said to her, "If they bind me securely with new ropes that have never been used, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man." 12 Therefore Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And men were lying in wait, staying in the room. But he broke them off his arms like a thread. 13 Delilah said to Samson, "Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me what you may be bound with." And he said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my head into the web of the loom" -
14 So she wove it tightly with the batten of the loom, and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he awoke from his sleep, and pulled out the batten and the web from the loom.
Samson keeps playing with the world and getting away with it, but each time it's getting a little more difficult, the world is getting larger and stronger. Bowstrings.........three strands to form a rope, seven strands for a braid of hair. Hair that is not something detached like rope, but something that will actually hurt a lot in order to break free from it. The deeper you get into the sin, the more painful it is to get out of it.
15 Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies."
How many times have we heard that line? “If you love me, you'll go all the way.” “If you are my friend, you'll drink with me, do drugs with me, and so on. “Father forgive them, they know not that ( they are being used,) what they do!”
16 And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death,
And the world is relentless! The word “pressed” here means a continuous urging. The pressure was on continually. Think about the continuous pressure and urgings of the world to get us to conform to it's ungodly ways. TV, the movies, advertisements, peer pressure, etc..
And Samson finally crosses the line, he goes to the point of no return. He will now be stripped of his God-given protection as he goes “all in” with the world.
17 that he told her all his heart, and said to her, "No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man."
18 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.
Don't underestimate the tenacity of the devil's henchmen in spiritual warfare. They don't care how many times you cry wolf, they'll keep coming. I mean how many of you would've kept after Samson after failing so often? But the world says, “I think I've got him, and the demons come running in for the kill!
Notice their confidence....they brought their (temporal) reward with them.
19 Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, (using his weak spot for women) and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, (the idea being of putting him to the test, has he really gone all in?) ....... and his strength left him.
The ability to bounce back is gone! Now he is ready to be turned over to the demonic henchmen, and things aren't real pretty from here on out.
20 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.
What a terrible mistake Samson. You totally underestimated the enemy and overestimated your own strength. You forgot that your strength came from the Lord.
“Oh. I'll just repent and receive God's forgiveness and everything will be as before.” You forget Samson, that your strength came from the Lord. You and I are saved by grace.....God's strength not our own. We can't turn it on and off like a water faucet. It comes from Him and Him alone.
It's God's prerogative as to whether he gives you the necessary grace or not. Samson kept playing with fire, but when he went all in with the world God said, “That's it!” And the Lord departed from Him. He lost all protection. Samson is about to get roughed up.
And boy did they ever rough him up. They poked out his eyes to hinder him from seeing the light, lest he see the truth. They bound him in his sin, they put him to work for them grinding grain in the prison house, that they may feed on his laboring under sin.
21 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.
What hopelessness. Imagine if the story ended here! Maybe you've seen it with others. They get so caught up in their sin, so entangled, so imprisoned, so blind to God that their life is just nothing more than a downward spiral to hell. What could've been in baptism, is wasted away on the lifestyle of sin. What a waste.
What hope is there for the Samson's of this world. The ones who have played with sin, gone all in with the world....but the story of Samson doesn't end here. The spiritual warfare is not over yet. Look at the hope of v22!
22 However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven.
However! The hair began to grow again. That's the way hair is. It is relentless, it keeps coming at you. Whether it's your beard men, or your legs ladies, it is relentless, and that is the picture of God's grace. The world is relentless in it's temptations, but God is even more relentless!
I did a search for hair.....a word search
Mt 5:36 "you cannot make one hair white or black.
Lu 21:18 "But not a hair of your head shall be lost.
Mt 10:30 "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
God is in charge of hair, God is in charge of grace, and what was happening with Samson.........The hair of his head began to grow again.............I have this sudden urge to play the theme from Jaws, because I have this forboding sense that God is not yet done with Samson, that in His mercy, He has come back to Samson with grace, the source of Samson's strength. And the world better watch out
Where are you in this Samson saga? Are you dabbling with the world and haven't been caught yet? Have you told Delilah to take a hike? Or have you gone all in with the world and now you see no way out.
Does your salvation seem hopeless to you? Remember the relentlessness of God's grace. Jesus often used objects to make His point. Whenever you shave.....remember the relentless ness of God's grace and take heart beloved!
. Then look at v28:
Jg 16:28 Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, "O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me,”
Two requests, Lord remember me and strengthen me, (grace me) and the Lord answered his prayer. And if you know the rest of the story Samson pulled the pillars of the temple down on the Philistines and they along with Samson died.
Yes, it cost Samson his life, but that's what it means to die to self. It is in dying to self that victory is won. But don't wait till the last minute. Go all in with God now! Before you do major damage to yourself, or to others, or worse yet, risk being cut off from the grace of God.