Summary: Samson’s greatest victory followed his greatest defeat.
Intro. FINDING NEMO
Dad, Marlin, warns Nem: don’t go to drop off (he does); don’t go to boat(he does); don’t touch boat -- he does ... and is captured!
-shows the consequences for disobedience and toying with temptation
Audience: "You should have listened to your dad Nemo"
-in Samsom you wonder if God is thinking the same as Marlin -- "Don’t do that Samson" ... only to have Samson push the boundaries and cross the line again and again.
-Reader: "Samson, you’d better be careful or you’re going to get into trouble."
CHAPTER 16 -- Samson gets caught
-Israel ruled by Philistines
-prohecy and birth of Samson -- "Nazarite" -- don’t touch anything dead, drink fermented drink or get a haircut
-supernatural strength of Samson -- kills lion, then 30, then a town, then 1000 --- all due to the "Spirit of God"
throughout the narrative of Samson the one thing that stands out is that he is a hopelessly flawed character that God never seems to give up on. - he is proud, lustful, violent, vengeful
Samson in Gaza (v.1-3)
-Samson basically has the attitude that he is indestructible
-he is so confident; he pretty much is flaunting his strength
Samson and Delilah (v.4-22)
"How can you say ’I love you’...?" -- does he really love her? He may have thought so, but was it really love?
The fact is neither really loved the other, but are using each other -- trying to advance themselves through the other
cp. Why we want not just a girl or boy friend, but an attractive one, or successful; or someone we can control or someone who will take care of us, or who needs us -- somehow enhances who we are; useful to us
We often pass over someone who would actually be very good for us; someone who could be an ideal companion and great friend, simply because he or she is not attractive enough, successful enough, over weight
WHY DOES SAMSON TELL DELILAH HIS SECRET?
cp. Superman telling Lex Luther about chryptonite.
Sure there was the persistant nagging; sure she was hot and they were in love
But surely he would have suspected something!
-was he so insane or deluded or in denial or overcome with desire?
What was going on in his mind?
What were the vows of the Nazarite? -- no barber, no booze, no bodies (dead) -- "set apart"
Q: Had he broken any of these vows before? Yes! He touched a dead lion, as well as the jawbone of a dead donkey. We can assume he drank at the premarriage party (which was the main thing done after all!).
Q: did he lose his strength then? Well ... no.
So why does Samson tell Delilah?
ANSWER: He believes he will keep his strength although he loses his hair.
-it does not say that “he did not know his hair was gone” but “he did not know the Lord had left him”. He must have known, the moment he woke, that his hair was gone, yet he assumed that his strength would have still been there. And why not?
So the answer to why he told Delilah is this--he did not really believe that his hair or his Nazirite vow was really the source of his strength. He had come to believe that his strength was simply his, that no matter what he did or how he lived he would not lose it. The “web of self-deception”, then was not just psychological, but theological. Samson was unable to see how dependent he was on God’s grace. He had come to see his strength as an inalienable right, not a gift of God’s mercy. He had a view of God that was “magical”, and idolatrous. -- Tim Keller
WHAT WAS THE SECRET TO SAMSON’S STRENGTH?
Philistines: Magic -- battle it with their own
Samson: Something that was inherantly his; by right. He was special.
cp. Why people believe they should have a blessed life; problem-free; go to heaven.
ANSWER: He had relationship with God. -- "the Lord LEFT him" = the Lord was WITH him previously
-loss of relationship is the ultimate consequence of sin -- leads to ruin
Don’t mistake faith in self with faith in God. -- very difficult to discern when things are going well
-success blinds us to our dependence
Don’t settle for religion without relationship. -- lead to ruin, as it did for Samson
WHY DOES THE LORD LEAVE HIM NOW?
-he is making a mockery out of his Nazirite vows
-He chose Delilah over God.
Lesson: Judgment is inevitable.
Q: Would you even know it if the Lord left you?
WHY DIDN’T THE LORD LEAVE HIM SOONER?
ANSWER : Because he is amazingly gracious and patient!
The amazing thing is that the Spirit doesn’t leave Samson until he cuts his hair - the last of the vows that Samson had broken