Summary: Comic book character? Superhuman? Incredibly strong. Incredibly flawed. The Strongman teaches us strong lessons.
The Details of Destruction
We have been talking about and examining the 4 chapter account of the The Strongman! An Old Testament Rambo like individual who had great moments of strength and greater moments of weakness. Otherworldly strong and ironically real world weak.
In Week 1 we learned that:
God used The Strongman but didn't change The Strongman. Samson settled for outward demonstration but resisted and failed to submit to inward transformation.
The Strongman loved himself more than anyone else. He would constantly use his gift for his own good, benefit and pleasure although he was called to use his gift for the greater good.
Last week we discussed "The Demands of Deliverance." We said:
Too many of us are back at things that we should be walking away from.
We may be overlooked by man but the least likely are the likely least because God chooses people that can't take the credit.
Deliverance always comes with demands. It is our character that produces our clout. Our separation that generates our strength and our purity produces our power. We must live a delivered lifestyle if we want to produce deliverance.
So now in week 3 I would like to talk to you about The Details of Destruction. I want us to look at several statements that are made about Samson that I think are revealing.
Judges 14:1-3; 16-17, 15:20; 16:1-4, 16
Samson went down to Timnah. There in Timnah a woman caught his eye, a Philistine girl. He came back and told his father and mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, a Philistine girl; get her for me as my wife.” His parents said to him, “Isn’t there a woman among the girls in the neighborhood of our people? Do you have to go get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the one I want—she’s the right one.”
So Samson’s bride turned on the tears, saying to him, “You hate me. You don’t love me. You’ve told a riddle to my people but you won’t even tell me the answer.”He said, “I haven’t told my own parents—why would I tell you?” But she turned on the tears all the seven days of the feast. On the seventh day, worn out by her nagging (proof women don't fight fair!), he told her. Then she went and told it to her people.
15:20 - Samson judged Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.
Judges 16:1, 4, 16 - Samson went to Gaza and saw a prostitute. He went to her. The news got around: “Samson’s here.” They gathered around in hiding, waiting all night for him at the city gate, quiet as mice, thinking, “At sunrise we’ll kill him.” Some time later he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek Grapes. Her name was Delilah. The Philistine tyrants approached her and said, “Seduce him. Discover what’s behind his great strength and how we can tie him up and humble him. Each man’s company will give you a hundred shekels of silver.”
She kept at it day after day, nagging and tormenting him. Finally, he was fed up—he couldn’t take another minute of it. He spilled it.He told her, “A razor has never touched my head. I’ve been God’s Nazirite from conception. If I were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would be as helpless as any other mortal.”
III. The Details of Destruction
The very first glimpse we gain of The Strongman after we are told the Spirit of God stirred in him is in Chapter 14. The first three verses show us that The Strongman had a weakness. He was attracted to Philistine women. His first recorded encounter with one doesn't turn out well. We have discussed that. He tells the wedding attendants a riddle to fool them. These Philistine men threaten the bride to be by telling her that they will kill her and her entire household if she doesn't help them solve the riddle. We will come back to the nagging shortly. But suffice it to say after crying for 7 days she convinces him to tell her the answer. When Samson discovers that the Philistines cheated he exacts revenge on them and then goes to sulk in the hills. When he comes back later to discover that his wife to be has been given to the best man in the wedding he again reacts in anger and takes revenge. When he does this the Philistines kill the woman and her entire family. Then we stumble into Chapter 15 in which Samson takes revenge for this killing by picking up the jawbone of a donkey and killing a 1000 Philistines. Then at the end of Chapter 15 there is an interesting and oft passed over statement. It is almost like the pages go silent for a period of time . . . All of the turmoil of Chapters 14 & 15 and then we are told Samson judged Israel for 20 years. No recorded acts of bravery. No excursions of excess. No feats of strength. A rest. A pause. A break in the action. And then the very first statement out of that break is Samson goes to Philistine country and visits a prostitute! And then not long after that we come to the story of Delilah and once again through prolonged nagging and prying The Strongman's secret is revealed.