Summary: To get sweet things – particularly, the sweetness of a rewarding relationship – requires putting yourself in danger – taking a risk.
Feb. 11, 2001 Judges 14
“The risk of relationships” – part 1
Whenever I say the name “Samson”, there are probably two things that pop immediately into most people’s minds. They are great strength and Delilah. Most anyone who has even a little bit of biblical knowledge has heard the story of Samson and Delilah. But did you know about Samson’s first love? Did you know that Samson was married long before he ever met Delilah? That’s the story that we’re going to learn from today and next week.
Each of you has chosen to enter into different types of relationships. You have parent to child relationships, employee to boss relationships, teacher to student relationships, friend to friend relationships, and dog to master relationships. Have you seen the dog food commercial that talks about the special bond between a human and his dog? It’s as if the dog is talking, and he says, “I won’t scold you when you come home at 1:00 in the morning. I won’t get mad when you throw your clothes on the floor. You can drive as fast as you want as long as you roll down the window and let me stick my head out. I won’t question you about the smell of perfume on your clothes.” One famous dog to master relationship is in the Peanuts cartoon strip. In the relationship between Snoopy and the rest of the gang, it would be hard to say who is the master and who is the dog. In a “Peanuts” cartoon, Lucy says to Snoopy: “There are times when you really bug me, but I must admit there are also times when I feel like giving you a big hug.” Snoopy replies: “That’s me…buggable and huggable.” – Robert L. Short, Parable of Peanuts as recorded in Tale of a tardy Oxcart, p. 477 That could probably be said about a lot of us. Each type of relationship carries certain risks with it. There is always the potential for getting hurt. Of all the different types of relationships that a person can have, the greatest human relationship is between a man and a woman. Two little teardrops were floating down the river. One teardrop asked the other, “Who are you?” The second teardrop replied, “I’m from a woman who lost her lover. And you?” The first teardrop said, “I’m from the woman who got him.” – Michael Green, Illustrations for Biblical preaching as recorded in Tale of a tardy Oxcart, p. 477
The risk of entering into a relationship sometimes causes us to hold back. We put on thick armor in the hopes that we will never be hurt again. We see others hurt, and we determine in our heart, “That will never be me. I’m not going to make myself vulnerable just to have my heart trampled on!” A greater risk than being hurt in a relationship is the risk of never having a relationship at all.
In this passage of Scripture – Judges 14 – I want us to see some guidelines that will help us evaluate our present relationships, plan for new relationships and prepare ourselves for the costs that are associated with those relationships. To get sweet things – particularly, the sweetness of a rewarding relationship – requires putting yourself in danger – taking a risk. Even then, you may not get the outcome that you want. How are you going to respond? Is it worth the risk?
1. Every relationship starts off with an attraction. (vs. 1)
Attraction – that’s the preliminary desire to explore the possibility of forming a mutually rewarding relationship. Samson saw this girl. Something about her attracted him. There was something different about her. Maybe it was her walk, or the way she tossed her hair or the clothes that she had on. His parents wanted him to date one of the normal Israelite girls. But they were all the same in Samson’s eyes. He liked the difference. I asked the boys in the 9th grade Bible class that I teach what attracts them to girls. They said, “personality [pause] , looks, easy to talk to, the way they carry themselves, body language, and common interests”. I suppose that everyone is attracted by different means. A lady wanted to marry four different men in her lifetime. She said each one would help her with the four things she needed most. First, she wanted to marry a banker. Second, a movie star. Next, a [preacher]. And finally, a funeral director. When asked why, she answered, “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go!” – Charles R. Swindoll, Growing Deep in the Christian Life
This is Valentine’s week. Many of you men will be doing things that you haven’t done for your wives since last Valentine’s Day. You’ll take her out to eat, buy her flowers and chocolates, tell her how beautiful she is. You’ll do all those things that once attracted her to you in the hopes of kindling some romance. A man and his wife were having some marital difficulties. There just didn’t seem to be any attraction between them anymore. His best friend counseled him to try and re-kindle some of the original attraction by being extra sweet to his wife. So he decided that he would try it out. Normally, when he came home, he was in his dirty work clothes, and the first thing out of his mouth was, “What’s for dinner?” That evening, things were different. The husband came home in his best suit with a bunch of flowers in his hand. Instead of coming in the back door as was his usual habit, he came to the front door and rang the doorbell. When his wife opened the door, she took one look at him…and burst into tears! She said, “Johnny’s been throwing up all day, the burners on the stove won’t light, the bill collector called for the 4th time, and to top it all off, you come home drunk!” His attempts at romancing his wife and building up the attraction between them backfired and pushed her away instead.