Summary: We overwhelmingly conquer, through Him who loved us.
Most of us have heard stories of Samson; the superhero of the Bible, who accomplished great feats of strength and prowess in battle.
Then of course, there is the account of Samson and Delilah. Movies have been made of them; they are often portrayed as one of the great romantic couples of history.
Why, I do not know. It has been my observation in life that relationships built on deception and manipulation and selfishness, such as theirs was, can hardly be deemed ‘romantic’, and seldom last long...as theirs did not.
Nevertheless, most of us are familiar with at least the basic story of their relationship, and other isolated events in the life of Samson.
The verses of our study today however, are not so widely known, and are seldom preached.
Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman of the Philistines who was pleasing to the eye, and wanted to marry her.
There is a lot that can be said about these early verses of chapter 14. We could talk about this hero of the Bible; one of the Judges of Israel, who apparently defies God’s laws in order to take to himself a wife; a pagan from the camp of Israel’s enemies.
Then we would go to verse 4 and see that the Bible says “...it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines.” And that little bit of information would give us a great deal to think and talk about.
We could discuss how this account, recorded in these nine verses, can be seen as a type of Christ, who ventured down into the enemy camp, defeated Satan on the way, found Himself a bride, and came back later to take her home.
There are a lot of sermons in this brief account.
Today though, I’d like for us to sharpen our focus and see this story as an example of the Christian’s walk; his battle against the flesh, God’s help, and the Holy Spirit’s continuing work in the believer.
Samson went down to Timnah a second time, accompanied by his father and his mother.
Now the way the information is presented in these verses, it seems a little confusing. We’re told they went down together, but then Samson faces this lion, and later does not tell his parents about it.
So we can only assume that during this trip he wandered off a little by himself. Maybe he wanted some grapes, and left his folks going down the main road while he went to gather some.
Maybe he went off by himself for other reasons. Y’know, even bible heroes had bodily functions...
We’re not given specific information; but we can see that at some point he was alone and was confronted by this lion.
Now before I move on, I want to point out something else to you here. This account has really very little to do with the rest of Samson’s story, and what he did for his nation.
Later in this chapter we see that he made up a riddle from the adventure with the lion, to confound his enemies, but other than that, his original journey and his fight with the lion have little significance to the larger picture.
So we remember that “...whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4), and we realize that the purpose of the Holy Spirit in recording this incident was so that we, today, could be blessed by it; and we sit up and take notice.
Let’s talk about THE FLESH
The New Testament word that is translated ‘flesh’, is ‘sarx’. It has to do with much more than meat, or the physical body. Is has to do with the complete person; the weaker element in human nature.
Paul says in Romans 8 that “...the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace”. He says, “...and those who are in the flesh cannot please God”; and then later in the same chapter he writes, “...if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Verse 5 of Judges 14 says, “...and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him”.
Notice it says, a ‘young’ lion. Full of strength and vitality and agility. Have you ever seen a young lion? They’re beautiful. I have a big poster of one in my study.
This lion attacking Samson was not an old, scraggly lion with missing teeth, scars from many fights, weak muscles and aching joints. It was a young lion.
Here is a picture of the natural man. We are mistaken, when we think that the meaning of the word, ‘flesh’, in the New Testament, is always restricted to the ugly things about ourselves and the evil that men do; murder, deceit, adultry, hatred, etc.