Summary: What happened to Samson that brought him back to the Lord and what was his real source of strength. How does that relate to our own strengths in the hands of God?
What was the secret to Samson’s strength? Was it really his long hair? God never says that. In fact, I think from the text the secret to his strength was the inrushing of the Holy Spirit. We see it in 14:6 with the lion, 14:19 with the 30 Philistine men, 15:14 and with the 1,000 Philistines. From then on it doesn’t explicitly mention it, but as we see in 16:8 even Samson calls out for God’s strength.
But I think Samson thought it was the hair. Why else would he finally tell Delilah that in 16:17, and then later in 16:22 the text mentions that his hair began to grow again. The hair represented not strength in itself, but obedience to his Nazirite vow to God.
I say that because I want us to consider: what is the secret of our strength? Is it our physical abilities trained in the gym? Is it our tremendous mental skills honed by hours in the classroom? Is it our economic skills created on Wall Street? Is it our emotional skills developed by years of close conversations? I don’t think so.
In reality we only have one secret to strength and that is the infilling or God’s Holy Spirit on our lives. But many times what we see as strengths in our selves become hindrances to the strength of God pouring through us. We focus on the strengths of our flesh and hinder the strength of the Spirit.
Such was the case for Samson. Samson, as we talked about last time, was a pretty proud man; proud of Samson, that is. He was actively rebellious, actively sensuous, actively angry and vengeful, actively narcissistic. These things hindered his ability to fulfill his God given mission - and it can do the same to us. Let’s see how it happened in Samson’s later life and how he finally turned at the end back to God for real and what happened because of that repentance.
Chapter 15 Verses 1 - 8
The "visit" was used as a way around having a Philistine wife in Israelite territory. The man would bring a young goat as a present so he could have relations with his Philistine wife.
3 The real culprit here was the woman’s father, but Samson takes revenge on the Philistines. How often do we respond to a slight by an all out attack? This wasn’t "an eye for an eye" but "All your eyes for my eye!"
The "foxes" may have actually been jackals. None the less - how do you hold on to them to tie them up like that?
7 This would be the opposite of The Golden Rule. Samson’s Golden Rule was: "do unto others as they do unto you." If you get cheated then you cheat. If you get attacked then you attack. How often do we respond the same way?
Verses 9 - 20
Lehi means jawbone. It’s odd that Judah would actually want the Philistines to stay in power. Perhaps they didn’t recognize Samson as their rescuer. I wonder how many times we like to keep the status quo and am not willing to be rescued from our sins or past. We don’t recognize that Jesus came to set captives free and we’d rather continue being dominated by the world than take the stand and go to the work of freeing ourselves (through the power of the Spirit). Part of the problem was Samson. He was a loner who fought battles as personal affronts to his pride, rather than as a leader of a people throwing off an oppressor.
How often do we act the same way? We don’t realize we are involved in a struggle against an organized enemy. We react as if everything we go through only involves us alone. How much more effective we could be if we banded together and led battles in the Spirit against Satan instead of trying to fight alone. And, of course, one of Satan’s neatest tricks is misdirection: he gets us to think the enemy is our brother or sister so we attack them.
Samson again violates his Nazirite vow, but used a fresh (not old and brittle) jawbone (from a dead animal) to attack the Philistines. Ramath-Lehi means: Jawbone Hill.
18 God reminds Samson that he is only a man who cannot survive without water. If only Samson would have realized all that he was and all his strength came from his relationship with Yahweh!
20 The fact that the author tells of 20 years of Samson judging Israel may suggest that his effectiveness ended prior to the Delilah encounter in the next chapter. You know, the flesh will eventually keep the Lord from being effective through you.
Jesus said to the church in Sardis: "I know your works. You have a reputation of being alive, but you are deadâ�¦for I have not found your works complete." He threatens to fight against them. Paul says it this way: