Summary: Judges 14 tells us that Samson’s relationship with the Philistine woman was "from the LORD." How could that be? And what can this chapter in Samson’s life teach us?
OPEN: Commenting on the "Spiderman" movie, a critic noted that the famous kiss (where Spiderman kissed the heroine while hanging upside down in the rain) was actually not a kiss at all. The actor put his mouth up to hers but actually didn’t kiss her because - between having to wear his mask and hanging upside down with the rain running down his face - he had to be able to breath.
ILLUS: An interviewer once asked a famous movie actor and comedian:
"What’s it like when you kiss a girl in a movie? Do you ever get emotionally involved?"
"Oh," he said, "I once kissed a very beautiful actress on the screen, and it meant nothing to either of us. Of course, the ushers pulled me down off the screen and made me go back to my seat... But aside from that..."
APPLY: Love can be a many splendered thing but it can also be very confusing and complicated as well.
I. Samson was a man in love - but he had a very confusing and complicated relationship.
First - his was a forbidden love.
We’re told in Judges 14:2 & 3
"When he returned, he said to his father and mother, ’I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.’
His father and mother replied, ’Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?’
But Samson said to his father, ’Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.’"
Why were Samson’s parent’s concerned?
Because God had decreed that His people should not marry Gentiles.
In Deut.7:3-4 (speaking of the nations they’ll encounter in the Promised Land) "Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.."
Secondly, his was a lost love.
His wife is taken away from him and given to another.
Judges 15:1-2 "At the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, ’I’m going to my wife’s room.’
But her father would not let him go in. ’I was so sure you thoroughly hated her,’ he said, ’that I gave her to your friend. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.’"
And, not only was Samson’s love a forbidden love and a lost love - it was a tragic love.
After Samson had set fire to the grain, and the vineyards and the olive groves of the Philistines,
Judges 15 tells us:
"the Philistines asked, ’Who did this?’ they were told, ’Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his friend.’ So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death. Samson said to them, ’Since you’ve acted like this, I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.’ He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam" (Judges 15:6-8).
There’s no doubt about it - Samson loved this woman from Timnah. AND his love for her caused him to go to war with Philistines and literally mop the floor with them.
Immediately after the battle, Samson went up into a cave in the rock of Etam to grieve for her.
II. So Samson’s love was forbidden, lost and tragic... But it was also something else.
It was God ordained.
Look again at Judges 14:4. We’re told there that Samson’s "parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel."
In other words: God arranged for Samson to fall in love with the Philistine woman.
NOW WAIT A MINUTE!
That doesn’t make any sense!
You mean to tell me that God caused Samson to fall in love with a Philistine even though He condemned intermarriage with Gentiles in Law?
Well, that’s what it says.
But why would God do that?
The Bible explains: it was because the Lord "was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines." Really?
As I was preparing this sermon, I got to thinking: Since when would God need an occasion to confront the Philistines? He’s God. He doesn’t need an excuse to go picking on the Philistines.
But then I realized, maybe God didn’t need an excuse. Maybe it was Samson who needed the excuse.
III. In the description of Samson in our text today, I can visualize him as a teenager.
He acts like one.
He talks like one.
For pity’s sake - he even seems to be still living with his parents.