Summary: Samson’s conduct was anything but commendable in this text. His was a conduct of a rebellious spirit.
The weak strong man 4.
Judges 14:5 -- 9. 05/18/05
This passage we have before us records two trips which Sampson and his parents made to Timnath to bring about the marriage of Sampson to his Philistine girlfriend who lived there. The first trip was to make arrangements for the wedding. This would include Sampson;s parents speaking with the girl’s parents about the girl becoming Sampson’s wife and the paying of money to the girl’s parents. The second trip was for the marriage feast itself. And the conduct of Sampson on these trips was anything but commendable. His actions, in regards to the vineyards of Timnath, and his continued delighting in the heathen philistine girl, revealed a rebellious spirit that ruled his heart and inspired his unholy ways.
Not everyone sees rebellion here. In fact, many people see much good here in the conduct of Sampson. They praise Sampson here for modesty because he kept quiet about telling his parents of his killing the lion in the vineyard during the first trip to Timnath. They also praise him here for sharing honey with his parents, which he got from the carcass of the lion on the second trip to Timnath; they compare his sharing of the honey with the sharing of the gospel to others; and they use this text to teach that we may discover honey, sweetness, in our lion, difficult, experiences.
Now all of these lessons are real good as far as modesty, and the sharing of the gospel and seeing good come out of trials, but they certainly should not be taught from this passage of Scripture. To teach the right lessons here, we need to compare Scripture with Scripture and when we do, we will discover that we cannot possibly complement Sampson for his conduct recorded in our text. Rather, we will see in comparing Scripture with Scripture that Sampson was filled with rebellion. And when we think about this rebellious spirit, we can understand why he was such a flop in delivering Israel from the Philistines. We can also take a great warning from it about the dangers of harboring a rebellious spirit in our own hearts.
So for our first point I want us to see THE PATHWAY OF THE REBEL.
A rebel does not walk on the proper pathway. He will ignore the signpost giving proper direction and will instead travel the route his rebellious spirit wants to travel. But he finds later on it is to his own danger that he does so.
Twice in our text it is reported that Sampson went down. Actually we find in our text stated three times that Sampson went down regarding his traveling to Timnath in only seven verses. The report of his going down of course speaks primarily of the geographic situation. But we don’t want to dismiss geographic references lightly. They do have spiritual significance that any serious Bible student knows. The spiritual implication is obvious; Sampson’s moral and spiritual pathway was down just as was his geographic pathway.
Though the pathway of rebellion only leads one down, we still may gain some worldly prizes. Like Sampson, we may enjoy some pleasures, do some physical exploits, gain in popularity and possessions, or obtain political position and power; but we are still going down. If we do not come to our senses and change the direction of our life, we will one day find ourselves at the bottom not the top and with no way of escape.
Sampson was a Nazarite, and one of the precepts for the Nazarite was to stay away from the fruit of the vine. Numbers 6: 3 says “he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.” Now if the fruit of the vine is off-limits then it would seem only wise to stay out of the vineyards.
Now when Sampson got to the vineyards of Timnath verse 5 says, “behold, a young lion roared against him.” Life-threatening danger met Sampson on his pathway of rebellion.
We may meet with trouble in the path of duty, but we must expect to meet with it in the path of disobedience. Satan flourishes where the path of obedience is left. The lion in Jonah’s rebellion was a terrible storm; the lion for others who have rebelled has been such things as sickness, family and financial troubles, and many other problems. You cannot walk on the path of rebellion without one day coming face-to-face with that which will threaten to devour you. And unless God intervenes, as he did with Sampson, it will devour you.
“And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand, but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.” Verse 6. You cannot view this escape as being anything less than a miracle. Sampson’s great strength was not a result of weight lifting in some gym are doing some other exercise, rather it was a result of the spirit of God coming upon him and performing a miracle of strength through him.