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Judges 16:1-31

 

“Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her. 2 And it was told the Gazaites, saying, Samson is come hither.  And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him. 3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron. 4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, by what means we may prevail against him:  and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. 6 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. 7 And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. 8 And the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber.  And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.  And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire.  So his strength was not known. 10 And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies:  now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound. 11 And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. 12 Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.  And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber.  And he brake them from off his arms like a thread. 13 And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies:  tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound.  And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with a web. 14 And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.  And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web. 15 And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. 16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; 17 that he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb:  if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. 18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart.  Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. 19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. 20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.  And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself.  And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. 21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. 22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven. 23 Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice:  for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god:  for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. 25 And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport.  And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport:  and they set him between the pillars. 26 And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. 27 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. 28 And Samson  called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines.  And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein.  So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. 31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father.  And he judged Israel twenty years.”

 

Introduction

[Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED639]

 

“Samson and Delilah, we are told in Romans chapter 15:4 “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”  Paul says in 1st Corinthians, ‘Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed, lest he fall,’ certainly an exhortation that applies to our story of Samson.  And James says ‘Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised them that love him.  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man, but every man (and woman) is tempted when they’re drawn away by their own lust and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived it brings forth sin, and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death.  Do not err my beloved brethren, because every good and perfect gift cometh from above from the Father of lights with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ What a great exhortation for us.  Here we come to God’s honest picture of this man.  Chapter 15, verse 20, he says “He judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.” and then it says “Then went Samson to Gaza” (chapter 16, verse 1) so the “then” seems to give us the sense that this is towards the end of these 20 years.  In the 20 years we’re not told what took place in his judgeship, whether he found regular fellowship with God, we’re not told what he did, it doesn’t suit the purposes of the LORD to tell us a great deal of those 20 years.  There is a failure in the man’s life that the LORD desires to place in front of us so that we might learn, that we might take heed when we think that we stand, that we might understand that we end up being drawn away of the things in our own heart.  So it says “Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.” (verse 1) no one is immune, it seems to be after 20 years, we’re not told for sure, why he went to Gaza in the first place, we’re not told.  But he goes down to Gaza, And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither.  And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.” (verse 2)  So Gaza was the prominent city out of the five cities of the Philistines, it was on a ridge, it was more defendable.  In fact it took Alexander the Great I believe five years to get into the city of Gaza, it was a very powerful fortress.  [Again, in the forays of the Egyptian armies going north through Palestine to fight the Mitanni and Hittite empires, Gaza and their five cities lay right in the marching path of the Egyptian army, they had to resist being conquered, inspiring the Egyptian chariot forces and foot soldiers to bypass their cities.  So the Philistines had to be strong in leu of this military fact.]  And maybe he went then to spy that out, I don’t know, we’re not told.  But he goes down, he ends up in the house of a prostitute, the men of the city are watching, you know, he must be recognizable, if he’s 30 to 40 years old now, his hair must be down to his knees, he’s a hard guy to miss, this lion of a human being with broad shoulders and long probably raven black hair that everybody recognizes, that you don’t want in your town when he’s in a bad mood.  He comes in, and they know, so they lay wait for him.  Now they’re expecting him to be with her all night and to leave in the morning.  So they’re around the gate of the city.  And of course in the culture, the gates were closed at night to protect the city.  So they’re thinking in the morning when the gate is open, when he gets ready to leave the city, they will be waiting to ambush him.  Look, compromise always puts us in a position that our enemy is aware of, compromise always puts us in a position where we’re more vulnerable.  If we are stepping outside the boundaries of God’s Word, if we’re living willingly in sin, the enemy takes note, he watches, we make ourselves more of a target.  And certainly Samson is putting himself in that position.  We’re not told what happened to make him, the unction, the urge that he had to leave then, “And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.” (verse 3)  Now Hebron is 40 miles away from Gaza.  Some say well it just means the Hebrew “towards Hebron,” and those scholars argue back and forth, why would it say Hebron, it could have just said north of there.  Josephus tells us he carried the gates of Gaza all the way to Hebron.  You have to understand what we’re talking about, this is a city that Alexander the Great could not get into, the gates of the city were probably 15, 16 foot high at least, they were wooden double-gates, he takes the posts that are holding them in the stone wall on both sides, and the bar that’s bolted in that holds the gates from opening and closing.  He takes the bar, the posts, the gates, everything, we’re talking about a couple thousand pounds (the weight of a 1950s car), and he carries them for 40 miles.  This has got to take him two days.  Josephus said he went as quickly as he could until he reached his destination.  And this of course leaves the whole city of Gaza vulnerable, they’re not happy about it.  Imagine the guys laying there waiting to ambush him, they’re sawing zzz’s, they’re falling asleep thinking ‘We’ll get this guy in the morning,’ all of a sudden they hear this ruckus and the gates are leaving [laughter], heading off into the hills.  You know, they must have been saying ‘You chase him!  No, you chase him, I’m not gonna chase him.’  Now it’s interesting, look, it doesn’t say anything here about the Holy Spirit.  Obviously this man is a man who is gifted by the Spirit.  And yet we see him here with a harlot, God has a calling on his life, he’s a very peculiar individual.  We are told four times specifically “the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jehovah moved on Samson’s life.”  We are told that in chapter 14, verse 6, chapter 14, verse 19, chapter 15, verse 14, and chapter 13, verse 25.  Now he’s not the only one.  It says the Holy Spirit moved upon Othniel, upon Gideon and upon Jephthah, but only once in each of their lives.   [But, they’re mentioned in Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith, so obviously that had the Holy Spirit indwelling them, as they will be in the 1st Resurrection to Immortality defined by Paul in 1st Corinthians 15, as is Ruth, Rahab, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David and many others from the Old Testament that go without name in Hebrews 11, like the prophets.]  We’re told of the Holy Spirit moving in the life of Samson four particular times, he is a very interesting person, this great human, this man with all of these failings has this incredible relationship with the Holy Spirit, four times in particular we’re told that this happens.  And I think God is trying to make a point with us, that God’s calling and anointing in our lives, but that’s in jeopardy when we willingly sin and we willingly turn from the call of God.  So it’s just an interesting picture here, it doesn’t say it was the power of the Spirit, but he carries these gates all the way away to Hebron.  [so obviously it was by the power of the Spirit.] 

 

“And It Came To Pass Afterward, That He Loved A Woman In The Valley Of Sorek, Whose Name Was Delilah

 

“And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.” (verse 4) “Afterward” now we’re assuming very soon “afterward” “that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.”  This is the only time we’re told “he loved a woman,” he saw one in Timnath, and he said “she pleaseth me, get her for me.”  But this is the only time we’re told he loved a woman, so his heart’s involved.  And this is the only woman named for us, of the women that Samson was involved with.  He loves a woman in the valley of Sorek.  Sorek, it means “the place of the choice vine,” no doubt the most fruitful vineyards were in southern Israel on the border of the Philistine territory, it’s a place where Nazarites should have not been.  It was a place of indulgence, it’s a place of the choice vine.  And if you read Numbers chapter 6, the Nazarite was not to have anything to do with the vine, with grapes, with wine, even with raisins, the California raisins, any raisins, he wasn’t supposed to be involved with any of that, he wasn’t to touch a dead body, and he made lots of them.  A razor was never to come upon his head.  It’s interesting to read the requirements for a Nazarite.  This man goes down to the Valley of Sorek, it’s a place of indulgence, and he falls in love with a woman there named Delilah.  Now we are not certain, and scholars argue whether that is a Hebrew name or a Philistine name, whether she was a Hebrew woman that somehow the Philistines knew, or in fact, and I tend to think she was a Philistine woman.  Delilah means “to impoverish” or “to weaken.”  So there are lessons in all of these things.  Whenever you and I leave the place that God has appointed for us, and he was a Danite, he should have been in his territory, whenever we leave to indulge ourselves, to go to an indulgent place, there will always be those things that weaken us and impoverish us there, spiritually.  And it’s something for all of us to take note of.  He falls in love, his heart is involved in this, in the Valley of Sorek with this woman named Delilah.  And she’s one of the famous gals in Scripture.  You all know about her.  I know that because I never dedicated a Delilah in all the years I’ve been dedicating little girls here.  Never dedicated a Jezebel here either, you know, there are just some of those you know about, Delilah, we know about her.  And the lords of the Philistines, they knew about her too, “And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him:  and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.” (verse 5)  Now there were five lords of the Philistines, that’s 5,500 pieces of silver, that’s a load of silver.  Listen, the enemy knows us.  Listen, the enemy knows us, we’re told in Job chapter 1, God says to Satan ‘Have you observed my servant Job?’ it’s a military word, ‘have you scrutinized him? have you watched him?’ and we get scrutinized.  Again, I don’t think the enemy has the capacity to read our thoughts and then speak to us, or we’d go insane in no time at all.  But he scrutinizes, if he sees you stop and get a 6-pak every day on the way home, he knows you got a chink in your armour.  If he sees you stop by the magazine stand and look at Penthouse or some pornographic magazine, he knows you got a chink in your armour, if he sees you doing that at home, he knows you got a chink in your armour, he observes us.  [Comment: “he” in the general sense, Satan can only be one place at a time, and that goes for all the demons as well, they are finite beings.  Satan himself would probably not bother with ordinary Christians, but he’s got multiple billions of fallen angels, demons, that do his bidding for us normal guys and gals, we’re on their radar screens all the time.  Satan gets into the heads of world leaders, especially dictators, but politicians as well, as he brings this nation of ours down through Satanically inspired anti-God, anti-Bible legislation.]  And he knows what to do.  These Philistines don’t come with a frontal attack, they don’t say ‘Look, hold this guy in your tent until we come down there with 3,000 guys,’ they’ve tried that before.  They understand his weakness by now, and they say to her “Entice him,” it’s the same word used in chapter 14, remember when he went down to take that young girl in Timnath, the Philistine girl for his wife, and the other Philistine men couldn’t figure out his riddle, and they said to her “Entice him,” there was some weakness even then they recognized.  And these Philistine lords, they know both Samson and Delilah, they know her weakness will be 55 hundred pieces of silver, they’re going to get out of her what they want.  And they know his weakness is a woman, and they say ‘Entice him for us.’ Proverbs chapter 1 says ‘My son, when sinners entice thee, go not with them.’  So easily sometimes we can be enticed.  So you have to imagine this, she’s been thinking about it, ‘We want you to find out where this guy’s strength comes from, his secret,’ they’re superstitious, ‘and how we can afflict him, how we can bind him and afflict him, can you find that out for us?’ ‘Fifty-five hundred pieces of silver, I’ll find out anything.’  She can’t wait to get her money, she’s direct.

 

Delilah’s Will Take As Much As You Give Them

 

“And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.” (verse 6)  He must be saying ‘Yo, I get red flags right away Delilah, on the first date when this kind of stuff gets asked,’ ‘Samson, tell me, why are you so strong, and how can we bind you and afflict you, I’d just like to know.’ I’d be outa there, anybody whose thinking, this is a gal who should be out somewhere in the Yukon or something [suckering gold prospectors and miners].  “And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.” (verse 7) he plays with her.  “withs” some of your translations may say “bow strings.”  And notice this, he understands he’s different, he says “and be as another man.”  He knows he’s not like any other man.  And three times in here he’s going to say “then I’ll be like any other man.”  That’s exactly what Satan wants, because look, the New Testament tells us that you’re chosen, you’re elect, you’re predestined, God has a calling on your life, that you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, we’re just like he is, and Satan wants us to be like any other man, that’s his goal.  You look at the world, you look at the news, you look at what’s going on out there, let me tell you something, I need you, and I’m assuming you need me, not to be like every other man and every other woman.  The men that are around me on staff here, the assistant pastors, I need them to be different than every other man.  I need them to stand, and to hold on, to be men of prayer, men that are godly.  Samson knows he’s different.  He says ‘If you bind me with seven green withs,’ now he’s not just making that up, Myrl Unger from Dallas Theological Seminary says there was a Hittite induction into the Hittite like Special Forces, where they would take Hittite soldiers and bind them with seven green withs, so it may have been something that she heard of before.  Samson plays with her, says, ‘Well if they take me and they bind me with seven green withs that have never been dried out, then I’ll be as weak as any other man.’  “Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.” (verse 8) please help me with this picture.  ‘Samson, please put your hands behind your back,’ you know, was he sleeping?  Look, the thing you want to take note of here, besides the insanity of all of this, is that Delilah’s will take as much as you give them.  He’s not giving away the secret here, but she’s taking what he gives.  And if you are inclined to indulge yourself, carnally, those Delilah’s there will impoverish you and weaken you, will take whatever you give them.  ‘I know it’s not right to get drunk, I’ll just have a couple,’ that’s what Delilah will take.  [Comment:  Calvary Chapels started out as spiritual “hospital churches,” ministering to the multiple thousands of drug addicted, alcohol addicted Hippies God was calling into the Body of Christ, and so they teach against alcohol consumption, especially if you’re gonna serve in the ministry, so that those God is calling from that background of addiction aren’t stumbled.  The Bible, and they know this, their pastors know that the Bible teaches the consumption of alcohol in extreme moderation is ok.]  You may not be bound when you wake up, it may not cause you to lose your strength, it may not destroy you, but she’ll take whatever you offer.  ‘I don’t watch that, I just turn my head away when that part of the movie comes on,’ turn your head away, she’ll take whatever you offer.  It’s the way the enemy works.  [I use the remote, as I enjoy watching historic war documentaries, like Tom Hanks’ Band of Brothers, and The Pacific, genuine historic documentaries, but they do have sex scenes in them, based on the actual history of the real soldiers, I know where the scenes are, and God inspired me to make wise use of the remote, and fast-forward through the scenes.  That is how I handle that one.  I guess that’s ok, haven’t asked Pastor Joe yet.]  She gets seven green withs, that’s what he gave her, “and she bound him with them.  Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber.” present, unseen, the enemy is unseen but he’s present, “And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.  And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire.  So his strength was not known.” (verses 8b-9) yarn, when it just incinerates in the flame.  Now, this man to me is playing, he’s not stupid.  There’s been something about him all along.  You know, this guy moved when he was young, inbetween Eshtaol, the tribes of the Danites, then he sees this woman, he wants  her, ‘Go get her for me,’ it doesn’t work out, so he goes and kills 30 Philistines, there’s an irony to that he likes, and he pays the debt with the clothes of 30 dead men, and then they cause him all this trouble, so he goes and he catches 300 jackals and lets them go in the fields with tails afire, he’s like a 14-year-old, there’s something in this where he plays, he plays, you know.  He could have just left Gaza, he took the gates of the city with him, there’s just something about that side of him.  And he’s playing with the sacred here though, and that’s the problem, because sometimes of God’s grace in our lives, because of God’s longsuffering, we can get desensitized, we can start to take for granted the blessing of God in our lives.  And he’s playing with it, he’s playing with it here.  Broke those bow strings off like they were nothing, so his strength was not known, and listen, “And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies:  now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.” (verse 10) I think she’s mocking him, he’s not mocking her.  She had to be pretty, that’s all I got to say.  [laughter]  What kind of trade-off is here?  “Delilah said to Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies:  now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.” ‘that’s all I want to know.’  Imagine, “And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.” (verse 11)  Now we don’t know if this happened in a day or over a period of weeks.  He says ‘Alright, if they bind me fast with brand new ropes that were never occupied,’ notice, ‘then shall I be weak, as another man, as any other man.’  He’s playing.  Of course Delilah takes what he gives.  “Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.  And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber.  And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.” (verse 12)  You keep hearing the Philistines going ‘OOOOOh!’ and go back out of the tent, you know.

 

Are We Willing To Bear The Reproach Of Our Separation?  Because The Bible Tells Us We’re Separate, We’re Separate People, We’re To  Be Separate From This World

 

“And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies:  tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound.  And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.” (verse 13) ‘into the web, into the loom,’ it was typical in that culture for you to have a loom, with the rod and the pole and everything.  And look, Samson is already blind, isn’t he.  His eyes are going to get bored out, but it’s obvious he’s already blind, to at least with what’s sacred, he’s playing with something here.  His vision will be much clearer after his eyes are bored out, after he suffers, than it is right here.  She says ‘You’ve mocked me, you won’t tell me how to bind you.’  ‘He said unto her, alright, if you take the seven locks of my hair,’ now he’s touching, he’s getting closer, ‘and you weave them into the loom,’ look, the hair, his Nazarite vow, “all the days of the vow of his separation,” it says of the Nazarite, “there shall no razor come upon his head, until the day be fulfilled in the which he’s separated himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.”  So he’s tampering with something here.  At his age, and he had never cut his hair in his entire life, the length of his hair, he was bearing the reproach of his separation.  And that’s a question for all of us, are we willing to bear the reproach of our separation?  Because the Bible tells us, we’re separate, we’re separate people, we’re to be separate from this world, with separate standards?  We have a different hope.  What hope does this world have?  The U.N.?  What hope do they have with the economy?  What hope does this world have, as centuries go by, that we’re finally going to make peace, and a thousand years from now we’re all going to be these guys with skinny arms and big bulbous heads and we’ll be real advanced.  Is that our hope?  You know, put me in liquid nitrogen and freeze me so they can thaw me out when they figure out how people shouldn’t die?  Our hope is vastly different from the hope of this world (for that hope see https://unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm).  The standards that God speaks to our hearts are vastly different.  His Word is very different than the word of the world.  And there is for you and I, when we make up our minds, I, we are not going to entangle ourselves with, as Paul says, with the things of this life, I’m going to be separate, there’s a reproach we bear.  Friends, relatives sometime, people are going to hassle us and point the finger at us for our, you know, ‘You’re a Bible-thumper, or holy-roller or something.’  Well, I love Jesus with all my heart, my life is bought with a price, it’s not my own.  And I’m living and waiting for him.  But Samson is beginning to play with the very symbol of his willingness to bare reproach, and he says that, he says ‘If somebody weaves all the seven locks of my hair into the loom,’ “And  she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.  And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.” (verse 14)  So he must be there and she’s weaving his hair into the loom, and then as she fastened it with the pin, she said unto him, ‘The Philistines be upon thee Samson, and he  awakened out of his sleep,’ so he was asleep, ‘and he went away, with the pin, the beam, the whole loom,’ it was a bad hair day.  Samson takes off with the entire loom woven into his head, didn’t slow him down at all.  You have to imagine, to me this is insanity.  You find a new girlfriend by now, he deserves what he gets here. 

 

What Sin Does--It Makes A Mess

Delilah Wears The Strongest Man On Earth Down

 

“And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me?  thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.” (verse 15)  Now that’s just where we start to get worn down, isn’t it men?  ‘How can you say you love me when your heart is not with me?  You’ve mocked me these three times and you haven’t told me wherein your great strength, your muscies, Sammy, where they lie.’  And look, “And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; that he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb:  if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” (verses 16-17)  the Hebrew says ‘She nagged him to death.’  And sin has a way of nagging and wearing us out.  She nagged him to death.  He’s the strongest man that ever lived, and she’s gonna have her way with him because she’s daily kept saying the same thing over and over till his ears started to bleed.  And he said ‘I’d rather have my hair cut and my eyes gouged out than sit here another week with you, please.’  Wives be careful, because you have tremendous influence with your husbands, and you can wear them out.  You know the average woman, psychologists say, speak twice as many words a day than their husbands do [see https://www.unityinchrist.com/topicalstudies/howmarriageworks.html].  So, me, I’m in church, I’m on the phone, talking to people all day, by the time I come home I have met my quota, and my wife is just warming up, she’s just halfway through her quota.  Paul says this, “I would have you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the husband, and the head of Christ is God,” that Christ has a head and that’s God Almighty [God the Father].  It wouldn’t be right to try to be the head of Jesus Christ, that’s God’s place, but the man has a head, that is Christ, and it isn’t right for the woman to try to usurp the place of Jesus Christ in the life of the man.  And in a marriage, the wife has a head, a covering, and that is the husband.  But the woman has tremendous power, she wore him out.  She would just not shut up.  And it vexed his soul till he couldn’t handle it.  Look, we’re created, men, in God’s image and likeness, Jesus says when you pray to the Father, don’t think you’ll be heard for your many words.  You don’t have to do that to the Lord, say the same thing over and over and over and over.  But this is a tremendous power, it took tremendous power.  Take note of it.  Just a free detour in our study here, she drove him out of his mind.  She vexed him to death, and “he told her all his heart,” and there are some things, listen, that are just supposed to be between us and Jesus, if you are a man or a woman.  There are some things in my life that remain in the privacy of my relationship with him, because of the intimacy I have with him, that are not my wife’s to bear, God didn’t make her that way, they are mine to bear.  And there are things in her life that are between her and Jesus that are not for me, that I don’t want to trespass in, it’s wonderful for her.  That he surrenders all of his heart at this point in time.  The Bible says ‘Guard your heart with all diligence, because from it flow the very issues of life.’  Not from the intellect, from the heart.  Desire is much more powerful than thought.  And the heart always makes a convert of the mind, as time goes on.  That’s why we have some of the most brilliant people, PhD’s coming in and say ‘I can’t believe I did this, I can’t believe I cheated on my wife…if I could turn back the clock one day I would give my right arm.’  It’s because the heart’s desire, desire, it drives us, not intellect.  [Comment:  the part of the brain that controls emotion, what we would call the heart, is four times as large as the part of the brain that controls logic.  God, for some strange reason designed it that way.  It is also the reason all the facts can be out there, say for Global Warming, and you have two separate camps that interpret the data in totally opposite directions.  The data, logic, facts, in every human being are filtered through the emotion-controlling part of the brain.  I don’t know why God designed it that way, I wouldn’t have, but he did.   It’s why given the same facts, there are so many different ways they are interpreted.  We all “colour,” filter the facts through the emotional organ of the brain.]  And the heart will always wear down the mind, if we let that go on.  We’re to guard it, with all diligence.  Because the issues of life, the directions of life, the things of life flow forth from it.  She finally wore him down, and he told her all of his heart, he said “and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb:  if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” (verse 17)  and I wonder if he thinks of her, what a godly woman she must have been.  “and be like any other man” he’s certainly playing with that, isn’t he.  And it says “And this is the law of the Nazarite when the days of his separation are fulfilled,” it says “the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of his separation, put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering” and so forth.  He at least knows this, he says ‘if I be shaven my strength shall go from me,’ because it is a symbol of his separation, ‘and I shall become weak and  become like any other man.’  Samson had already ceased to be a Nazarite in his heart.  He had already ceased to be separated, set apart for God in his heart before all of this was playing out in the physical.  “And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart.  Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.” (verse 18)  she knows now, “Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her” and notice “and brought money in their hand.” they’re convinced they got him.  “And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.” (verse 19) I would NEVER have trusted this woman by this point in time, you gotta be kidding me.  “she made him sleep on her knees and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head, and then she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.  And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.  And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself.  And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.” (verses 19-20)  ‘I’m going to go out, wake up and deal with this.’  You can’t rely on past experience in the Lord, you can’t rely on your past, you’re only as good as your latest hit, as they say in the music industry.  You know, all of our accounts need to be current in the Lord.  And here’s the saddest verse, “and he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.”  That was his strength, not his hair.  He didn’t know.  Isn’t that sad, that the LORD was departed from him.  That’s gotta be the epicenter of the lesson here that God wants to put in front of us, that you know we can play with things and play with things, and  his grace is there for us, and he loves us, and the Bible says he’s longsuffering.  That sometimes people misinterpret the goodness and longsuffering of God for his approval.  And what we’re really doing, when we’re living in open and deliberate sin, is we’re running out of room, because his chastening is going to come to us.  Samson is a backslider, he is not an apostate, he’s not lost.  But sin makes a mess, I have watched it too close, too many times.  It makes a mess.  And Samson played with this and played with this, and he took for granted, cause things were going on, he was getting away with it, nothing was happening, he’s taken for granted that that is just going to continue.  But there is a point where the Spirit is grieved, where the LORD says ‘I’m no longer going to endure this,’ and the LORD steps back from his life and lets him have everything he wanted.  And he didn’t realize, it says, that the LORD was departed from him.  And look what takes place, “But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes,” literally they bored them out of the sockets, “and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.” (verse 21)  These are the results of sin, all the time.  The Philistines took him, sin is now in control, the enemy is in control, first thing it tells us.  They put out his eyes, there is a blindness sin brings, it blinds us.  They brought him down to Gaza, sin will separate us from God’s people, he’s no longer in the Danite territory, no longer among the Israelites, he is taken now captive to Gaza, and sin has a way of separating us from God’s people.  And that’s what happens in Samson’s life.  They bound him with fetters, sin binds us, no more liberty, it’s gone, this man now is bound, and he’s grinding at the mill.  And  that whole experience of sin taking us, blinding us, removing us from the familiar work of God’s people and the things that were around.  You know, binding us and then leaving us grinding.  And that’s particularly true for those, Samson was a judge of Israel for twenty years, he was used of God, and now he’s grinding, all of that is gone.  Not just grinding grain, he is grinding, you know, he is coming to the LORD for the first time in his life with genuineness in his heart, saying ‘LORD, what did I do?  How did I play, LORD, how did I let go of all of this?’  Because sin, let me tell you something, nobody is doing great with the Lord one day, and blows it completely the next day, that doesn’t happen.  Sin always has a history, all sin has a history.  We start to play, and we play with it a little bit, not enough to take us down, not enough to hurt us, tie me up with some bow-strings.  We wake up tied up with bow-strings, doesn’t do anything, we break them off.  But we play a little more, tie me up with seven new ropes, and the things that impoverish us and weaken us are always going to do that.  We wake up with seven ropes, oh, we can break it off, but we finally start getting to the center, my hair, put that in a loom, weave it in with some Philistine tapestry, we wake up with a bad hair day, spiritually.  And it finally wears us out, there comes a point, if we keep playing there and playing there, where we cross a line, and we wake up not realizing the Lord has departed from us, and we go through this terrible process, being taken away by it, being bound by it, being brought away from God’s people by it, being bound by it, and then grinding in the prison house.  How sad, mastered by sin. 

 

Forgiveness Is Immediate, Restoration Takes Time, Is A Process

 

Verse 22, “Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.”  This man is a backslider, he is not an apostate.  It says the hair of his head began to grow again.  Listen, when we sin, when we cross the line, forgiveness is immediate, if we confess our sins and we’re broken and we’re genuine, I bet you, Samson saw more grinding at that mill, pushing that thing, and I bet you there he was calling out on God, and I’ll bet you he was forgiven and found communion there.  Forgiveness is always immediate, but restoration is a process.  Because there is a history of hardening our hearts and getting into a situation sometimes for years, and it doesn’t turn around overnight.  There are no breakthroughs like that there, there is a process.  Forgiveness, confessing our sin, we can immediately receive his forgiveness and know that.  But restoration is beyond that, there’s a process involved, and because God is loving, and he cares for us, he makes sure that process of restoration takes the time that it needs to take so we never end up back in the same situation again.  There’s grace there, his hair begins to grow again.  You know, you might go out and get drunk  Saturday night and figure ‘I’m so stupid Lord,’ and get in a fist fight and you punch somebody and hit their head and break your arm.  You wake up with a hangover and a cast the next day, and your repentance is real ‘O God, O God, O God, O God I’m such a knucklehead,’ he said ‘You bet you are,’ ‘Lord, Lord, I’m sorry,’ and your repentance is real, it doesn’t mean he heals your arm and they cut the cast off the next day.  The cast is part of the process of restoration, and the cast for six weeks needs to say to you ‘You really are stupid,’ the cast needs to talk to you for six weeks and say ‘Without the Lord, this is who you are.’  He’s grinding, his hair is beginning to grow again. 

 

Some Background History About Where We Are

 

“Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god,” the fish god, their god “and to rejoice:  for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.” (verse 23)  Now you have to understand what’s happened here, and you don’t get it from reading the Book of Judges, is Eli’s two sons have already taken the Ark into the battle, without praying, without asking their father, Eli.  Hophni and Phineas get killed and the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines.  It went from there and made a journey through the Philistine country.  Because when they took it and put it in the area of Gaza and Gath and put it into the temple of Dagon, Beelzebub was one of their gods, but in Gath and in Gaza the main temples were to Dagon.  As they put it in there, they would get up in next morning, they would find the statue of Dagon fallen down on the ground in front of the Ark of the Covenant, they’d stand it back up again, screw it down to the floor, next day it’s fallen over, broken in pieces, it says mice came into their fields and destroyed all of their grain, and it says that God smote them emerods, you need Preparation-M to get rid of them.  It says he smote the whole country with emerods, Preparation-H won’t get rid of them because they are divine emerods.  It says he smote the whole country with emerods, both small and great, Goliath and his brother had them too.  The Goliath family wasn’t happy about this either.  They were smitten so bad, let’s not talk about this, ok, they were smitten so bad with hemorrhoids that they said to the guys at Ekron, ‘How’d you like to have the Ark in your temple for awhile?’  they said ‘Oh sure, send it down here,’ and they all got smitten with mice and emerods down there.  You know the whole story, they finally bring it back to Bethshemesh, everybody’s kind of walking funny, and they bring the Ark up, and the men of Bethshemesh open it and there’s golden mice and golden emerods in there, they’re making some kind of offering saying  ‘Take the Ark back, leave us alone, we don’t want it.’  And that’s all happened in the interim, and their territory was destroyed by the presence of God.

 

Samson Destroys, Kills Over 3,000 Philistines--He’s A Changed Man

 

Now they have Samson, and now they’re taking this the wrong way thinking ‘Now we’ve got the upper hand now, their God isn’t as strong as we thought their God was,’ and they’re going to take Samson and make sport of him in the temple of Dagon and mock the God of Israel and mock his servant Samson.  So they gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, who wasn’t responsible at all, and to rejoice, “for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.” (verse 24b)  they said, “Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.” (verse 23b)  “And when the people saw him, they praised their god:  for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.  And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry,” drunk, and beer was the main drink, they’re all pickled, “that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport.” ‘that we may make fun of him, mock him, bring him out here,’ “And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport:  and they set him between the pillars.” (verses 24-25)  Now, the Philistine temples have been excavated, and they were very long, very narrow and extremely high.  We’re going to find out there’s 3,000 people on the roof of this structure, and no doubt how many thousands are inside.  So they set him between the pillars.  “And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.” (verse 26) imagine this, “Suffer me, that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I might lean upon them.”  This man has changed, again, as we’ve gone through his life we’ve taken note of this, here’s a man with authority with no accountability.  Great authority, announced before he was born, great authority, slays a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, he’s a man with great authority, no accountability.  We see the way he treats his parents, we see the way he treats God, we have no record of him talking to a priest or a prophet, there is no record of him ever offering a sacrifice at Shiloh.  He is a Lone Ranger, he has tremendous authority, no accountability, and he’s a man with consecration and no communion, consecrated from his birth, tremendous consecration, his life is consecrated to God.  But we only hear one thing that sounds like a prayer, and it’s when he’s complaining to God that he’s gonna die of thirst if God doesn’t give him water.  We never see a prayer recorded, we never hear a song, we never hear him pouring out his heart, he has consecration with no communion.  That all changes now.  He’s finally accountable to a little boy, a little lad.  He says to this little boy ‘Would you suffer me please, could you please lead me.’  Isn’t  that amazing?  You see, he had learned that back in verse 21 when he was grinding at the mill, because every day he was dependent on someone to wake him up, to tell him whether it was light or dark, whether it was morning or night.  Every day he was dependent on someone to put food or water in his hand, every day he was dependent on someone to lead him where he had to be.  He had learned, and now he says to this lad that held him by the hand, now, finally authority and accountability, ‘Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house stands, that I may lean on them.’  [And then I hope to told the young lad ‘RUN!  Get out of here, fast!!! We’ll find out later.]  “Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there;” and so was Delilah, you can bet, “and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.” while they were mocking him.  “And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O GOD, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” (verses 27-28)  He is genuinely a Nazarite now, ‘LORD I will give my life to you in full.’  Very interesting vocabulary here.  Samson called unto the LORD, “LORD” there is Jehovah [or Yahweh, YHWH], and he said ‘O Lordthat’s literally “my Adonai,” O Lord GOD, it’s not Elohim, it’s Jehovah again, he says ‘remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O GODElohim.”  It’s beautiful, he says ‘Jehovah [Yahweh], Jehovah [Yahweh], my Adonai, Jehovah, strengthen me this once,’ he knows where his strength comes from, not from his hair, Strengthen me this once, Elohim, my God.’  He now has consecration and communion.  Listen, it’s never too late to cry to the Lord, to ask him to strengthen you again, whatever you’ve gone through, is never too late.  He prays, he asks, ‘God, strengthen me this one more time.’  “And Samson took hold of the two pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.  And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines.  And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein.  So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” (verses 29-30)  Now to me, this is not suicide, this is martyrdom [to God as well, as he inspired the apostle Paul to list Samson in Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith, so it’s not just to Pastor Joe, but in God’s very Word].  ‘O LORD, let me die now with mine enemies here.’  “And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein.  So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” (verse 30b) and you can see him, leaning, pushing, everybody’s laughing, jeering, mocking, all of a sudden they hear ‘SNAP, Crackle, Pop!!!’ and they hear him screaming ‘Once more LORD, let me die with mine enemies!’ dead silence must fall, and everything starts to rumble, and Samson brings down the house (it’s probably where that saying came from).  He brought down the house, he bowed himself with all of his might, and the house fell upon the lords, plural, of the Philistines, probably all five of them, “and upon all the people that were therein.  So the dead which he slew at his death where more than they which he slew in his life.”  I’m sure that Samuel, as a young man and a prophet now, takes heart in some respect as he hears what’s going on in the Philistine territory.  He slew more in his death than he did in his life, “Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father.  And he judged Israel twenty years.” (verse 31)  It seems his parents would be gone at this time, his family comes and searches through the ruins, all of his brethren of the house of his father came down and took him.  The enemy is so in awe they’re not even trying to stop his Danite family from coming and taking the body, and as they dig through the rubble, the mess it must have been, they finally find him.  There was another face that was there in the rubble too, that was Delilah, wasn’t it.  And her answer was finally there, ‘Tell me wherein they great strength lieth?’  Her question was finally answered, wasn’t it?  ‘O Jehovah [Yahweh], my Adonai, Jehovah, strengthen me this one more time, O Elohim, let me die with mine enemies.’  She knew, too late.  ‘His brethren came, all the house of his father came down, and they took him, they brought him up and they buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, in the buryingplace of Manoah his father.  And he judged Israel for twenty years.’  When sin is conceived, it brings forth death, James says.  [But the very next instant in Samson’s conscientiousness, he will be rising in the 1st resurrection to immortality, just the same as all of God’s precious children, believers, Old Testament prophets, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all New Testament believers who have died in the faith (see https://unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm).]  The story is still happening, is still being told, there is still a Sorek, place of endulgement, there is still a Delilah, still things around us as God’s children that are called, and chosen, and filled with the Spirit, there are those things around our lives that would weaken us and impoverish us.  Samson, I don’t have a great explanation for his life, he’s an interesting man, one scholar I read said at the end of, towards the end of the Civil War at Shiloh, Ulysses S. Grant was so drunk that he couldn’t direct the troops, and Aiken McClure came to President Lincoln and said the Republican Party said ‘you need to dismiss Ulysses S. Grant, he's a disgrace, he was drunk on the battlefield,’ and it says Lincoln sat there for a long time, dead quiet.  And finally he said “I can’t lose this man, he fights,” and the thing he said about Ulysses S. Grant was ‘This man fights.’  And one thing about Samson, when members of the tribe of Judah said ‘We’re going to hand you over, don’t you know that these are our masters, the Philistines?’  One thing about Samson, he fights, he fights.  One man stood against the Philistines.  Imagine if he hadn’t played, what his life might have been.  Imagine if he hadn’t played, this one figure, that the whole Philistine nation was terrorized by.  Imagine if he had been accountable, if he had brothers around him, a prophet, a priest, imagine if he’d have been a man of regular prayer, if he’d have gone to the altar at Shiloh, if he’d offered sin offerings, if he’d been repentant on a regular basis, imagine what may have been written of this man, Samson, imagine.  Your story and my story is not yet complete.  Imagine what could be written, look around this room, before the Trumpet blows.  Imagine what could be written.  The challenge for us as we read this, again, I think, you know the Lord fires this shot across our bow, and that is, guard your heart with all diligence.  You can get yourself into a place, the arena of indulgence, and you can play there.  You’re not doing anything maybe real bad, but we play.  And there’s always going to be some Delilah that impoverishes us and takes our strength and weakens us.  And I can tell you, I’ve watched it too many times, and too closely, to where a life is destroyed, and all the lives touching that life are destroyed.  And I can tell you with all certainty that sin makes a mess.  God is gracious, God forgives, but sin makes a mess, and what might Samson have been?  You know David, after he committed adultery and murdered the husband of Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite, he was never the king and never the father he had been before that.  He couldn’t deal with Absalom, he couldn’t deal with Amnon and Tamar, he couldn’t deal with the sin, the adultery, incest and murder in his own house.  Because he was weakened.  In the long run he was a much greater Psalmist, his heart was much more broken before God, and when he signs off at the end of his life he calls himself not the king, not the giant slayer, but the sweet Psalmist of Israel, David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel.  And I thank him for that.  And some day I believe we’ll get to thank Samson, you’ll see him, he’ll be the guy with the long hair, and you’ll be able to shake his hand and say ‘Thank you for the lessons, you finished well, you finished well, you became a Nazarite, pure, accountable, you had communion, we delighted to see that, we delighted to see that.’ …[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Judges 16:1-31 given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]       


related links:     

Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED639  

Women use twice as many words a day than men do.  see https://www.unityinchrist.com/topicalstudies/howmarriageworks.html

Our hope is vastly different from the hope of this world (see https://unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm



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