Judges 14-16 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine and we want you to experience a life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible, verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is Expound.
We are in the Book of Judges and we're studying a guy by the name of Samson. Now get this, about one fifth of the entire book of Judges centers around this very unique and flawed individual named Samson. Chapter 13 of Judges 14, 15, and 16 talk about this very unusual judge who was consecrated by his parents from a baby. In fact, it was really a miraculous sort of an announcement about his birth. His parents dedicated him to the Lord.
But then things got weird in his life because of his priorities. He was dedicated to God as I mentioned, from an early age, but Samson had a weakness. In fact, I call him a He-Man with a she weakness. He was a very strong individual, he was like the Superman of the Old Testament, a Superman in muscles but a super wimp in morals. He was very compromised when it came to the flesh.
Now one of the things it shows us is that you might have all the natural advantages in life and spiritual privilege in life, Samson had both of those, and still it is not a guarantee of spiritual success. God could set you up for success and yet, you could be a failure by your own choices. That's what we see when we look at Samuel.
Now a little bit of a recap because we began last time we looked at part of his life in chapter 13. In chapter 13, we discover that he was to be a nazirite from his childhood, his whole life, a lifelong nazirite. Refresh your memory the Book of Numbers, chapter 6 talks about the vow of a nazirite, that a man or a woman could take a vow, a vow of consecration to the Lord and it was something voluntary, didn't have to do it. But if you just said, Lord, I want my life to be spent solely for your purpose and your glory. I want to hear your voice, I give myself to you.
That would be a very special vow called the vow of a nazirite, a vow of separation, whereby a few things were mandated. Number one, you couldn't touch wine or the fruit of the vine. You couldn't be in vineyards. You couldn't eat grapes. You couldn't eat raisins. You couldn't drink wine. Wine was the symbol of joy. So the idea is I'm not going to derive my joy from natural means. I'm going to derive my joy from supernatural means. My joy is coming from the Lord, not from a bottle of wine.
Second, he could not cut his hair during the time of the vow and when the vow was done. He would shave his hair it would be burned with a sacrifice, that was a sign of voluntary humiliation. And then third, he couldn't be around a corpse, couldn't touch a dead body and because of defilement. So even if his parents died, he couldn't touch it or be a part of the funeral set up which would be very, very difficult choice to make.
Now according to the Jewish Mishnah, a nazirite vow could last about 100 days. Typically however, it was about a month period of time. Very rarely do we have individuals who are life long nazirite. Samson is one of them, I think John the Baptist is another. Some people try to say Jesus is a third but push that aside, we definitely know Samson was dedicated from his youth. So that's where we left it off in chapter 13.
In chapter 14, it begins our story here. Now Samson went down to Timna, this is down in the southwestern part of Judah of the nation of Israel and he saw a woman. Now, just keep that in mind because this is sort of his typical MO, he sees a woman and it's like va, va, va, voom. It's like I'm all about what she's about. He is a man who is driven by lust. This is lust at first sight. He sees a woman. He likes the woman. He wants the woman. He gets the woman. There's no restraint with this guy.
So he sees a woman, of the daughters of the Philistines. So they're not-- she's not an Israelite. She is a pagan girl. So she does not share the same worldview or value system. So he went up and told his father and mother saying-- now listen, here's the son coming to dad, instead of saying, dad I submit myself to your will because that's what we do in Israel. Rather than that, he went up and told his father and mother saying, I've seen a woman in Timna of the daughters of the Philistines. Now therefore, get her for me as a wife. Go get that woman. I want her.
Now typically parents did set up the marriage for their children. It was an arranged situation. Parents would meet with other parents. Boys and girls would tie the knot or make the pledge based upon their parents' decision. And typically you would pay a bride price, the male, the male family would pay a dowry of sorts, a dowry I've told you before is like alimony in advance. In case the husband dumps the wife, the father of the bride would have this nest egg paid to him so that he could then give it to her if something happened in that relationship.
So he says, get her for me as a wife. Now get this, these are the first recorded words in the Bible that Samson ever speaks and it's a command to his parents in a very kind of disrespectful, gruff way, to satisfy his own fleshly desires. The first time he speaks this is what he said, I like what I see and I want what I want.
Unfortunately, a lot of guys, a lot of men, like Samson, are driven by the same set of values. It's only what they look at and they're attracted by it. I've seen guys look at girls and go, I think I'm in love. Well you don't even know, you've never even met her. You have a look at her.
So it's not really love. But he is seeing something but the Bible says, beauty is passing, yet a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. So we are told yes we make choices to some degree on the outward physical appearance, it's what attracts people, but if you don't go deeper than that, the relationship is obviously very shallow and is doomed for failure. It's not going to last.
So he is driven by that. He wants what he wants. Now listen to his mom and dad. This is a very sensible set of parents here. Then his father and mother said to him, is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said to his father, get her for me, for she pleases me well.
Samson's parents knew at least in part the Old Testament law. They would have naturally understood at least in part Deuteronomy chapter 7, where God said, when you get a husband or a wife for your children make sure that they are children of the Lord, that they are from the people of God, that they are not pagan peoples, that you will not take them because they're going to draw your children's heart away from the Lord.
So keep in mind, Manoah and his wife, the parents of Samson, had that miraculous vision of the angel of the Lord, who said, your son is going to be special and they were all excited and they trusted in the Lord and they had great dreams of this boy being used of God. Now he grows up, and I just got to say their dreams are dashed. When he says there's a pagan girl. I want her. Go get her for me. Don't give me any lip. This boy is not doing well as he's starting out.
But watch this, but verse four his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord. Now that's strange to read. It's a weird thing to read that he, the Lord, was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
It's a difficult text to unravel, but I can only explain it this way, God did not approve of this marriage. This was God's disapproval. He had already said that in Deuteronomy seven. It's plain, it's clear, God did not want that to happen but there's a lot of things God gives not want to happen that he permits to happen.
For example the Bible says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But I have a question for you, do all people repent and go to heaven? No. God wants them to go to heaven, that's his will but they make choices against God's approval but God permits people to make certain choices. So yes, the Lord wanted to move against the Philistines. The Lord wanted to raise up Samson as a judge but Samson driven by his lust, forces God to overrule Samson.
Now here's the principle, if you will not let God rule over you God will overrule you. Now the best thing to do is to let God rule over you. Do his bidding. Be his man. Be his woman. Be used of God. He'll use you in a very powerful way if you let him. But if you harden your heart, sin against God, God can still do what he wants in your life but you're going to suffer ultimately as God overrules you to get something accomplished that he wants done. The Bible says even the wrath of man will praise the Lord.
So this is God's sovereignty, this is God's providence but this man Samson is not following God's heartbeat. And it's going to cost him influence. It's going to cost him his life. He's going to have a very short life and a short ministry and basically end up taking vengeance for personal use though the Lord will overrule it and affect his will.
So Samson verse five went down to Timna with his father and mother and came to the vineyards of Timna Uh-oh, what's a nazirite doing in vineyards? If you're a nazirite you take a vow, no wine, no grapes, no raisins, nothing to do with vineyards or the fruit of the vine. He doesn't care. He's been separated to God but there's no real consecration of his own life and his own will. So he didn't care. He has no boundaries. He has no restraints.
Now to his surprise a young lion came roaring against him. Well I guess that would be a surprise wouldn't it? You're out walking around picking a few grapes and a lion comes out and attacks you. And verse six, the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat.
In those days and in that part of the world goats were killed by people in a number of ways. One of the ways they could easily do it is simply grab the hind legs and pull in opposite directions and literally tear it apart. It was a very easy thing to do. The muscles give way, the fatty tissue gives way, the viscera gives way and so it's not an uncommon thing to grab a goat if you want to kill it and eat it, just to pull it by its hind legs and its life will be drained out very shortly.
So in that manner Samson was able to defeat the lion probably by pulling one hind leg in one hand, one in the other and pulling it apart. And so he did it like you would kill a young goat. Though he had nothing in his hand but he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.
So they're probably out together, he's wandering in the vineyard, maybe they're down the road a little bit, a lion comes attacks him. He kills it and then he meets up with mom and dad. I'm telling you this, if I kill a lion in a vineyard, first thing I'm going to do is tell my mom and dad. Can you believe it? A lion came after me and I killed it. Any kid would do that.
But he's very tight lipped about it. He doesn't say anything at all. Doesn't brag, doesn't want to talk about it. He just does it. I am sure he was a little bit shocked at the strength he had. He may have looked down at his hands afterward and went wow, can you believe I did that? How did I do that? Maybe he's coming to terms with the fact that he has this incredible strength. It says the spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. He did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.
Now the way the Hebrew reads in the text could be rendered like this, a lion came to leap upon Samson but the Holy Spirit leaped upon Samson or came upon Samson is the English translation here. The lion wanted to leap upon Samson but the spirit of God was leaping upon Samson and enabled him to have this strength. And now I like that rendering. I like that wording and I bring it up to your attention because I think there's a principle here. No matter what comes at you in life if first the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you can stand up to anything. You can stand up to anyone or anything as long as the Holy Spirit comes on you, restrains you, works in, on, and through you. You've got his power. The power of the spirit of God.
Then, verse seven, he went down and talked with the woman and she pleased Samson well. So this guy is a walking conundrum. spirit of God comes on him, lust at first sight, love the chick, want the chick, but the spirit of God makes me strong. It's just a weird combination. Could have been much better but this is what you got.
After some time when he returned to get her, he turned aside to see the carcass of the young lion and behold a swarm of bees and honey were in the carcass of the lion. Now this is a guy thing. It's like hey, look at that lion I killed, look at that carcass. Huh, there's like bees in it. That's cool, I'm going to go check it out. Guys do that. I don't know why, but they just do that. But keep in mind, he's a nazirite. They're not to touch a carcass. You get defiled by touching an animal or a human that is dead. He goes right up to the carcass, sticks his hand in it, grabs the honey, licks it off his fingers. He's going to give some to his mom and dad for them to have a lick I suppose.
He took some with his hands, verse nine, went along eating and he came to his father and mother and gave some to them and they also ate but he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion. So his father went down to the woman and Samson gave a feast there for the young men used to do so. This is sort of like the wedding feast, this is the bachelor party you might say, except she's going to be there as well.
The Hebrew word for feast means a drinking feast. Again, what is Samson, what is he consecrated as? A nazirite. And nazirites were to stay away from drink. But again, he's violating every part of the nazirite vow repeatedly in his life so far. And it was so when they saw him that they brought him 30 companions to be with him. These are Philistine companions.
Interesting he doesn't have any of his Christian friends you might say or godly friends or Israelite friends. He's all alone. He's isolated. He doesn't have a support system. Yes, his dad's going to be there but he's a kind of a wimpy dad, do whatever my son wants. He has no infrastructure to support him in his value system. He just has pagans around him at this feast.
And it was so, verse 11, when they saw him that they brought 30 companions to be with him and then Samson said to them, let me pose a riddle to you, if you can correctly solve and explain it to me within seven days of the feast, that's how long these marriage feasts last, seven days. The seventh day is when the relationship would be consummated between husband and wife. Then I will give you 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothing. But if you cannot explain it to me then you shall give me 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothing. And they said to him, deal. Pose your riddle that we may hear it.
So he said to them, out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet. Now for three days they could not explain the riddle. Now we know what it means because we've read the story, it's about the honey in the carcass of the lion. The strong, the beast, the sweet.
It came to pass on the seventh day, last day of the feast, that they said to Samson's wife, entice your husband that he may explain the riddle to us or else we will burn you and your father's house with fire. Nice friends, right? Have you invited us in order to take what is ours, is that not so?
Then Samson's wife wept on him and said, you only hate me, you do not love me. You opposed a riddle to the sons of my people but you have not explained it to me. And he said to her, look, I have not explained it to my father or my mother. So why should I explain it to you?
Now she wept on him the seven days while their feast lasted. It happened on the seventh day that he told her because she pressed him so much. Then she explained the riddle to the sons of her people. So this marriage is, can we say, not off to a good start. Things are not working out very well.
The Bible says that a man is to leave his father and mother, cleave into his wife, the two shall become one flesh. He's about to be one flesh with this pagan girl. There's no trust at all. There's nothing in common spiritually between them. But it says that she pressed him every single day. So he finally gives in.
There's a verse of scripture in Proverbs 27 that says, the continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Trying to restrain her is like grasping the wind. So he finally just said enough, you're pestering me every day, you're whining every day. I'll tell you what it means.
So the men of the city, verse 18, said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, what is sweeter than honey and what is stronger than a lion? And he said to them, if you had not plowed with my heifer you would not have solved my riddle. Now first of all, that's not a nice thing to say about your wife, to call her a cow, basically a heifer. If you hadn't plowed with my heifer. That's obviously an agricultural term, you have taken my animal that pulls the plow and you have taken liberty with that animal that pulls a plow and you have gotten ahead of the game with that. So using that analogy if you wouldn't have plowed with my heifer or messed with my wife or intruded in this you would not have solved my riddle.
Then the spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily and he went down to Ashkelon, Ashkelon is 23 miles to the southwest along the sea coast. It was an ancient port. It was one of the cities that the Philistines occupied. I told you before that there were five Philistine cities, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, Gaza, and Ekron. Those are the five cities principally in that area that the Philistines had as a stronghold and controlled that whole region.
So he goes down to Ashkelon several miles away because what he's about to do he does not want to get back to the wedding feast where he's at. He can go do damage and they will not be able to hear about it for some time. So he goes all the way down to Ashkelon, killed 30 of their men and took their apparel and gave the changes of clothing to those who explained the riddle. That was the deal. I'll give you 30 changes of clothing but then I'm going to go kill guys to get it and give it to you to make good on the deal.
So his anger was aroused and he went back up to his father's house. And Samson's wife was given to his companion who had been his best man. So Samson does not even stay around for the full seven days, does not consummate the marriage with his wife. He's angry. He leaves. He goes down and kills Philistines, that's something God wanted to do because they were oppressing Israel. But the manner in which he did it was not a godly manner. So he leaves, dad, dad of the bride thinks he didn't want this woman as his wife so I'm going to just give her to the best man. Samson didn't know about that till now.
And after a while in the time of the wheat harvest it happened that Samson visited his wife with a young goat. So he's bringing a gift to her. Now most guys would give flowers or chocolate or I don't know, a new iPhone or something but oh no, not Samson, he's so romantic, he brings her a goat. A nice new little goat. Of course, according to that time period that was something cool. So he gives her a young goat and he said to the father, let me go into my wife, into her room but her father would not permit him to go in.
There's something probably you should know about this. There was an arrangement, a certain kind of a marriage at that time in antiquity, and by the way, it still exists in certain tribes of Palestinian Arabs, it's called the sadika marriage and that is a marriage arrangement believe it or not, where the bride stays at home with her parents, especially under the protection of her father and the groom periodically comes to visit his wife in the home of her parents. It's a strange setup, but it is not unusual. It goes way, way back in antiquity. We see an example of that here in this pagan culture, which he is assimilated to.
Verse two, her father said, I really thought that you thoroughly hated her and therefore I gave her to your companion. So things go from bad to worse. His wife deceived him, he told the riddle to her. She snitched, the Philistines found out about it, he goes kills a bunch of their friends and now finds out that his wife isn't his wife, that the best man has his wife.
And so listen to how wonderful this father is, her father said I really thought that you thoroughly hated her, therefore I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister better than she is? Please take her instead. How would you like to be raised by that guy? Here's dad, doesn't even care about his daughters and says, you know, actually my younger daughter's prettier than she is. You can have her. I would not want to be either one of those two young ladies in that home.
And Samson said to them, this time I shall be blameless regarding the Philistines if I harm them. In other words, all the brakes are off, no holds barred, whatever I do I am justified in doing because of this, the way you've treated me. Then Samson went and caught 300 foxes, literally jackals, took torches turned the fox tail to tail, put the torch between each pair of the tails and when he set the torches on fire he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and burned up both the shocks and the standing grain as well as the vineyards and the olive grove. So three principal agricultural crops of which the Philistines were known for, it was their staple, it was their economy, was ruined by doing this.
Samson, yes the spirit of God is coming upon him, yes God is overruling him, but all of this is driven by a selfish sense of revenge. He's not doing this because God tells him to do it. He's not doing this for the glory of God. This is all out of personal vengeance. There are people who are driven by anger and they justify their anger because the way people treat them.
And sometimes Christians do that and they'll even say, well, I have a godly reason to be angry. And sometimes we do. But the Bible says we're to be angry and sin not. There's a way to vent and express anger without letting it turn to sinful wrath like what we see here. And by the way, the Book of James tells us that the wrath of man or the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. Yes, God is overruling him but it's much better if God rules over you, including your emotional temperament.
Then the Philistines said who has done this? And they answered Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion. So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. Remember they threatened to do that at the feast now they followed through with it because their vineyards, their olive groves were touched.
And Samson said to them, since you would do a thing like this, I will surely take revenge on you and after that I will cease. So he attacked them hip and thigh with a great slaughter. And then he went down and dwelt in the cleft of the Rock of Etam.
Now the Philistines went up, encamped in Judah, and deployed themselves against Lehi. And the men of Judah said, why have you come up against us? So they answered, we have come up to arrest Samson, to do to him as he has done to us. Then get this, 3,000 men of Judah, these are Israelites now, these are God's people, 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the Rock of Etam and said to Samson, do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? What is this that you have done?
And he said to them, as they did to me, so I have done to them. And they said to him we have come down to arrest you, that we may deliver you into the hand of the Philistines and Samson said to them, swear to me that you will not kill me yourselves. So they spoke to him and they said no, but we will tie you securely and deliver you into their hand but we will surely not kill you and they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.
Interesting, this is the first time that we read that the people of Judah or the people of Israel, God's people, got an army together for any kind of military purpose during this time of the judgeship of Samson. They're not doing it at all until now. And they're not raising up an army to attack the enemy, they're raising up an army to attack one of their own.
Which reminds me sometimes of the church, not our church, but the Church of Jesus Christ often attacks its own, rather than fighting the real enemy, the devil and his minions and the worldly value system. We want to attack our own we want to be snarky with our own, we want to hurt people who are brothers and sisters in Christ. And it shows a level of compromise and worldliness.
Now understand something, the children of Israel were under the dominion of the Philistines. And what's interesting to me is they seem to prefer that, they prefer a peaceful coexistence with their enemy ruling over them and they're allowing themselves a level of slavery rather than freedom. And I think that can happen in any country. And I think that circumstances right now in our world are kind of pushing in some cases the church to that, we prefer slavery, yeah tell us what to do, we'll let you rule over us. We'll tell you what you can do with our church. Rather than saying you know what, no, we're going to serve the Lord here. We're going to do what he wants us to do. But the children of Judah were peacefully coexisting with the Philistines, taking away their freedom and pushing them into bondage into slavery.
So in chapter 15 verse 14, when he came to Lehi-- now by the way, he tells them look, don't kill me yourself, promise me that, just deliver me to the hands of the Philistines. Now why is he saying that? He's not saying that because he's afraid, because he knows look, if you come against me, I have super strength, I like tear lions apart and stuff. So if you kind of come against me, I'm going to wipe you out and I don't want to wipe God's people out. So OK, we're going to bind you with two ropes. Yeah like that's going to really help. If you know anything about Samson's life, so what. So really it was for their benefit, not for his benefit.
So they go through with it. They came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting against him and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax, like butter, just melted away. Like flax that is burned with fire and his bonds broke loose from his hands.
He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey. The Bible says God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. The weak things of this world to put to shame the things that are mighty. A jawbone of a donkey, very, very crude instrument that became a weapon of mass destruction under the power of the spirit of God in this man.
Now however, he is a nazirite, I keep saying that. He's not to touch fresh jawbones of donkeys last time I checked. That's like check, no jawbone of a donkey, check, no carcass, check, no wine, check. He's doing all the things wrong. Interesting that the author stipulates that it is a fresh jawbone of a donkey because that would be able to be used. A dried one would be brittle and would break apart. So they want you to know it was fresh. Reached out his hand and with it he took and killed 1,000 men with it. And Samson said with the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey, I have slain 1,000 men.
And so it was when he had finished speaking that he threw the jawbone from his hand. That's a good plan, get rid of it after you're done. And he called the name of that place Ramath Lehi, which means hill of the jawbone or better yet, more literally, jawbone heights. So you might look for a home in jawbone heights. It's a nice neighborhood I hear. You may want to check out the homes are going really cheap there right now. So Ramath Lehi, jawbone heights. He called it that.
And he became very thirsty, so he cried out to the Lord. Interesting first time we hear him praying is now and the only other time you're going to hear him praying is right before he dies in that temple of the Philistines when he takes the pillars and brings the house down and so he cries out because he's hungry or excuse me, he's thirsty. He needs water he's been working up a sweat, became very thirsty. So he cried out to the Lord and said, you have given me this great deliverance by the hand of your servant and now I shall die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised.
So God split the hollow place that is in Lehi and water came out and he drank and his Spirit revived or returned, he revived. Therefore, he called its name, En Hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. En Hakkore means the spring of the caller, or it means the gushing forth of the one who cries out. That's the idea of it. It's named after what happened there. And he, Samson, judged Israel 20 years in the days of the Philistines.
We have just enough time to get through chapter 16 which ends the epic of Samson, so that we can make a clean start next time in chapter 17. So Samson went to Gaza, Gaza is further down on the sea coast, there's still a place today in Israel or in the Palestinian territory called Gaza City. And he saw harlot there and he went into her.
Number two, so he saw a wife, said I want her, got her. And then he sees this lady here, this girl, a harlot, a prostitute and he went into her, that is he had sexual relations with her. When the Gazites were told Samson has come here, they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. They were quiet all night saying in the morning, when it's daylight we're going to kill him.
And Samson lay low until midnight and then he arose at midnight, took hold of the doors of the gate of the city, wooden doors, large ones, and the two gate posts, pulled them up, bar and all, put them on his shoulders, carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron. Now Hebron is about 37 miles away and people get in their minds that he's got these huge gates and he's running 37 miles. Perhaps, spirit of God can make a person, allow a person to do anything, but it is most often seen as the hill just outside of Gaza that faces Hebron.
It is identified today as a little area called El Montar. And it is a hill that is right outside the area of Gaza, it faces toward the east, that's probably what happened, but why did he do it? What's the deal of putting gates on your shoulders and running up a hill?
He wanted to show the Gazites that they were vulnerable. He can take their protection away, this is no big deal for him. They think we're going to kill him. He goes you know what, I'm going to take your protection away, remove the gate of the city, so you're more vulnerable than you think you are.
Now afterwards it happened, now here it is again, this is typical, afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. Here it is again, third time a chick is mentioned with this guy. It says he loved her. I think it would be better translated he lusted for her. There's no indication that he ever even met her or had a conversation with her. He just saw someone.
Now Delilah is a Semitic term that means devotee, somebody devoted to something. And because her name means devotee, it is thought that she was a temple prostitute for the temple of Dagon, for the pagan worship of the Philistines. So said he loved her in the valley of Sorek, her name was Delilah. And the Lords of the Philistines came 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 1,100 pieces of silver.
Something to make a note of, third time Samson is drawn in by a beautiful girl. Satan knows exactly how to bait the hook in your life. He knows what you're vulnerable to, what you're impressionable with. And so what he does is he uses things to entice you.
In the Book of James it says, each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. The word entice in Greek means to bait a hook. So you take a worm or you take bait and you put it on the hook and what are you doing? You are concealing the sharpest point of the hook. So the little fishy goes wow, you're so kind, you've provided a wonderful meal for me today. Thank you for this worm. But the hook is concealed.
So Bathsheba was that for David. David saw a beautiful girl named Bathsheba. She was the bait but underneath was the hook. Once he bit of that he would bring misery to his family. He would ruin relationships with his children. A couple of them would die. There would be a plague on the land. There would be destruction in his own household. That's what Satan does, he hides the hook and he makes the bait really attractive. And he knows exactly in your life where you are weak and exactly what bait to use. Does that with him.
So they come up, the Philistines come up with a plan, so verse six, Delilah says to Samson, please tell me where your great strength lies. I'm going to kind of have a little affect with her, because I'm sure she's just pouring it on, being really sweet and really sensual with her. And says, please tell me where your great strength lies and with what you may be bound to afflict you. She's coming right out and saying, we want to tie you up and hurt you.
And Samson said to her, if they bind me with seven fresh bow strings not yet dry, then I shall become weak like any other man. A bow string was a piece of gut or viscera from an animal that was pulled, dried. And that's what they used to put on their bows.
Here's what Samson is doing he's toying with it. He's playing with it. He's allowing the temptation each time to get closer and closer and closer. Instead of just saying, get out of here, woman. You're not going to do that. I see what's happening. He doesn't close the door, he keeps it open.
So you give your life to Christ, you were a partier. Your friends call you up and they go hey, we got a keg, man. We're having a party tonight, COVID's over now. Let's say that happens. Come on over to our house. And you go no, I'm kind of tired, I've had a long day and I just want to stay at home.
You know what's going to happen? You kept the door open. They're going to call you back sometime in the future and put that hook out there again and you may be in a time of weakness and you may succumb to it. I'm saying close the door. Tell them this, no, you know what, I've given my life to Jesus Christ. I love him and I've decided to fully live for him and I don't even want to do that anymore.
I guarantee you if you put it like that, they're not going to call you back. You close the door. He is keeping the door wide open. He's basically saying, I'm going to sail so close to the lake of fire I'm going to let the sails of my boat get singed. So he's going to sail very, very close. So verse eight, the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bow strings not yet dried and she bound him with them.
Now there were men lying in wait staying with her in the room. And she said to them, the Philistines are upon you Samson, but he broke the bow strings as a strand of yarn breaks when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not yet known.
Now this keeps going and they keep going through this cat and mouse game. I'm going to take you down to verse 15, she says it again, tell me where your great strength lies. You've mocked me all these times, et cetera, you're not telling me the truth.
Verse 16 it came to pass when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him so that his soul was vexed to death 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 like any other man.
Again, let me remind you, the secret of his strength does not lie in his long hair. The secret of his strength lay in his covenant that he made with God, whereby the spirit of God came upon him and empowered him. When he cut his hair, he was cutting off, he was getting rid of the public testimony of the covenant he made with God. And because of that, he's going to lose power and lose effectiveness and lose strength. But it's not the hair, it's in the covenant. But he spills his heart, he spills his guts.
And this shows you something. It shows you the power of the flesh to destroy good judgment. There's some people that have good, clear thinking, and good judgment but sin makes people stupid. It clouds the judgment. And I've seen typically smart, erudite, clear thinking people get so muddled when it comes to being tempted that the flesh destroys their ability to make wise judgments. And so let me just play with the fire, it looks so nice and feels so warm and pretty soon it's out of control and it has burned your house down.
I've told you this example before and I've even used, we have an acoustic piano back of our platform. If you open the lid of an acoustic piano and you push the right pedal down at the bottom, the sustain pedal, which means the little felt is off the strings, then when you strike a note. It just keeps playing, it sustains. So if you do that, if you push the pedal down, open the lid and you sing a note into the piano the piano will sing it back to you. Whatever note you're singing at least one or more of the strings will catch that note and start vibrating and you'll hear it sung back to you. That's how temptation works. Satan comes and calls out to you, sings out to you. And you start vibrating, it feels good. I hear that, I like that. So what do you do?
The only thing to do with the piano is close the lid and walk away. When it comes to temptation, close the door and walk away. But Satan keeps knocking at my front door. Let Jesus answer it. Don't you get it. Leave it alone. Close the lid. Close the door. Samson just keeps playing and playing and playing until now.
When Delilah saw, verse 18, that he had told all his heart, she sent and called the Lords of the Philistines saying, come up once more for he told me all of his heart. So the Lords of the Philistines came up to her, brought the money in their hand. She lulled him to sleep on her knees and called for a man that had him shave off the locks of his head. She began to torment him and his strength left him.
Now they want to torment him. She begins the torment. She herself, this girlfriend starts tormenting, mocking him. Then the Philistines, then she said, verse 20, the Philistines are upon you, Samson. So he awoke from his sleep and he said, I will go out as before as at other times and shake myself free but he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. He was under the delusion that he could just do what he wanted to, one day I'll shake this but I can kind of do whatever I've always done and I know how to do this. God wasn't with them at that time.
The Philistines took him, verse 21, put out his eyes, brought him down to Gaza, bound him with bronze fetters and he became a grinder in the prison, that's the job of a slave. Now that's what sin does. First sin blinds you. You don't see the whole picture, you lose your ability to make good, solid, clear choices, it blinds you. Second, sin binds you. It makes you captive. I can quit. I can quit any time I want to, you're blind and you're bound by the affliction.
Third, sin grinds you and that's Samson's state, binding, blinding, grinding. People even talk about life, life is such a grind. Life can grind you down to powder because you let sin in and you compromise and you're blind to it, then you're bound by it, and then life becomes drudgery, becomes a grind.
However, verse 22, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven. Now the Lord's of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their God and to rejoice. And they said, our God has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy.
Remember what Samuel will say to King David after he sins with Bathsheba. He said you know what, God will forgive you but you have enabled the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme because of your sin. That's what's happening here, they're saying our false gods who don't exist gave us the victory over God's man. They mocked him. The people saw him and they praised their God for they said our God delivered into our hands our enemy, the destroyer of our land and the one who multiplied our debt.
So it happened when their hearts were merry they said, call for Samson that he may perform for us. So they called Samson from the prison. He performed for them. They stationed him between the pillars and Samson said to the lad who held him up by the hand, let me feel the pillars which support the temple. So I can lean on them. Now the temple was full of men and women, all the Lord's of the Philistines were there. In fact, there were about 3,000 men and women on the roof who watched while Samson performed.
Dagon was a God that was depicted by a half man, half fish motif, but he was also the God of the grain fields, which Samson had destroyed as you recall. This was an annual feast to Dagon. Archaeology has found remains of the temples of the Philistines and the architecture fits the story as a kind of a long narrow hall, two pillars on the inside, stone bases, wood on top, that supported the entire upper level, the roof. It wouldn't be up to code today guaranteed, you have a lot of people on top, it's a recipe for failure, which happened. A Dagon, the statue would be between or is right in the middle of the room.
Samson who's blind, asked to be taken to those two pillars and then Samson called to the Lord saying, here's his final prayer, oh, Lord God remember me I pray, strengthen me, I pray just this once, oh, God that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes. Lord, just one more time answer my prayer. Just fill me with strength one more time that I can kill these guys and take out vengeance on them.
And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, he braced himself against them, one in his right, the other in his left and Samson said, let me die with the Philistines and he pushed with all of his might and the temple fell on the Lords and all the people who are in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he killed in his life.
And his brothers and all of his father's household came down, took him, brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol. Areas that still exist today, we can show you if you come on a tour to Israel exactly where this is in the Philistine country. And the tomb of his father Manoah he had judged Israel 20 years.
Moral of the story, sin is a tyrant. Sin is the great destroyer. It enslaves people. Jesus talked about Satan, said he has come for nothing else other than to kill, to steal, and to destroy. Satan, the enemy of our souls wants to kill, steal, and destroy everything that God wants to build in your life.
With Samson we learn that the loss of separation brings the loss of power and influence. He was to be separated, nazirite, the idea of being separated from the world and separated under God, but when you lose being separated, when you lose your holiness to the Lord, you also lose your power and it eventuates in your ruin.
Back in 1963, the United States sent a submarine under the Arctic Circle below the ice, it's called the Thresher submarine, they said it can withstand depth and pressure, it was designed for that but it got a little bit too deep and the hull of the submarine was unable to withstand the pressure at that depth and the submarine, the Thresher submarine imploded and the crew was lost. It was 1963. So the pressure on the outside could not be sustained by the pressure that they had built in from the inside. People died. Lives were lost. Lives were ruined.
The secret would have been to have the equal amount of pressure on the inside as the pressure on the outside. Did you know that there are little fish that can even go deeper than that Thresher submarine, their skin is so thin and so you would think, easy to destroy. And yet it can go deeper because it's designed by God to have pressure on the inside that gives them power to sustain the pressure coming from the outside.
Only when the Holy Spirit of God fills your life, sustains your life, empowers your life, gives you the adequate pressure from within, can you stand the pressure of this world. Samson did not submit to the spirit of God, yes the spirit of God came upon him, but he could have been so much more.
Father, as we close tonight we think of our own lives and we think of what you want to do in us and through us. You have us alive for such a time as this in this world to be your instruments for your glory. You said we are to submit ourselves to you, surrender our bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable which is our reasonable service. You promise Lord that we could be powerful instruments in your hands, foolish things, yes, weak things, yes, empowered by God nonetheless.
We pray father that your spirit would so control us, enable us, that the pressures on the outside would not cause us to implode in our own lives. That we would be strong by your spirit for your glory and I pray for anybody who's a part of this cast, this telecast, broadcast, radio cast, net cast, whatever it is, who doesn't personally know you or needs to recommit their lives to you.
That they would turn to you and become an instrument of the living God in this world.
It could be that you've strayed away from God, followed your own path, you've been taken down by the lust of your own flesh. Some form of addiction, some relationship that has been unhealthy and ungodly. You've lost power, you've lost presence, you've lost influence. I want you to know you can stop doing what you're doing and not wait till it's too late and have kind of one flash of glory like Samson but your whole life can be used for his glory.
But you need to stop and turn to him. And if you want to do that if you've never done that or if you need to come back to him, you just say this to him, Lord, here I am, take me. I turn my life over to you or I come back to you, fill me with your spirit use me, empower me.
I believe Jesus died for me. I believe you rose from the dead and I turn from my sin. I turn from my own personal glory I turn from following my way and I turn to follow your way. Fill me with your spirit, empower me by your spirit.
Let me know the presence of the spirit of God within me to withstand the pressure that is outside me in Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Listen if you made some kind of a commitment to God, first time, second time, whatever it is, if you did that, text the word saved S-A-V-E-D to this phone number, 505-509-5433. Somebody will make contact with you or if you're on our website, calvarynm.church, just click on the little button that says Know God, Know God and you'll be again contacted. Somebody is waiting for you to make contact with you and to pray with you. God bless you.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us during this teaching in our Expound series.