Summary: What was the source of Samson’s strength? Was it what he told Delilah, or was it something else?
OPEN: My wife and I have always enjoyed doing jig saw puzzles. We’ll put them out on a folding table and work on it for days, enjoying the experience as we successfully put in piece after piece. I recently ran across another person’s experience with a jig saw puzzle. She wrote: "After toiling over a 1000 piece puzzle, I was unable to finish it because there was one piece missing. I returned the box to the store and explained why.
The clerk was obviously not a puzzle aficionado. As she refunded my money, she asked pleasantly, ’How far did you get before you realized that there was a piece missing?’"
APPLY: When do you realize a piece is missing from a jig saw puzzle? (when the puzzle’s almost done). You’ve spent all that time working on the puzzle, but it isn’t until “too late” that you notice that a piece is gone.
Samson was a man who had lost something as well. And he didn’t notice it was missing until it was too late. His strength had been taken from him and he faced bondage and blindness because it was now gone.
How did Samson lose his strength? How was this part of his life that was so special to him taken from him? (pause)
I. Delilah asks Samson an interesting question: What’s the source of your strength?
Actually her question wasn’t an attempt to discover the source of his strength, but to find out where his weakness lay.
"So Delilah said to Samson, ’Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.’" (Judges 16:6)
In her backhanded way this girl was asking Samson "what would makes you weak?"
She’s asking Samson, "where’s the Kryptonite? Where’s the magic stone, the poisonous element that can bring you to your knees? What the source of your weakness, Samson?"
What was it that caused Samson’s weakness? Was it when he lost his hair? Well, yeah, partly.
REREAD: vs. 15-19
Samson’s hair was the symbol of a very special vow… a Nazirite vow. His hair was the sign of his visible commitment to God. As soon as it was cut he was done. It was over. He was weak as weak as a child. BUT his loss of his hair was only part of what made him weak and robbed him of his strength.
II. Think about this: Was Samson’s hair really the source of his strength?
I mean did God really need for Samson to have a full head of hair to give him strength? If Samson had been bald… would it have made any real difference to God? No.
We’re told in Judges 16:20 "He awoke from his sleep and thought, ’I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had left him."
You see Samson wasn’t weak because his hair had been cut. He was weak because "the LORD had left him."
His strength came from God. His weakness came from losing touch with God. So, you could say Samson didn’t become weak because he’d lost his hair… he lost his strength because of “something else.”
III. So, if Samson’s hair wasn’t really the source of his weakness – what was?
Was it his sexual immorality? Well… yeah, that was part of it.
As Chapter 16 opens, we find Samson going into a prostitute. Should a man of God be visiting the house of prostitute? (get a strong response on this).
That’s right, a man of God has no business going to visit a prostitute. But that’s what Samson did.
And just a few verses later, he’s in bedroom of another woman. A Philistine temptress called Delilah
ILLUS: One commentator noted: “Samson was captivated by Delilah’s beauty and by lust."
Day by day he lost control - until finally, he lost all of his strength. He realized too late that he could not set himself free. He realized too late, that the one vital piece of his life was missing.
And that’s what the Bible tells us will happen when it comes to sexual sin. We lose part of ourselves when we engage in such immorality.
Solomon writes his sons: "My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.
Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man’s house. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent." (Prov. 5:1-11)