Samson: Dealing with Fatal Flaws Part 3 of 3
by John Lowe
2. HE TOYED WITH TEMPTATION.
The Philistine rulers, who know all about Samson’s fatal flaw, come up with a plan. Verse 5 tells us that 5 of these governors each offer Delilah eleven hundred shekels of silver if she is able to “lure him into showing the secret of his strength.” In those days, the average person earned ten shekels of silver a year. Delilah was about to become a multi-millionaire. The choice between Samson and silver was already made in her heart. In today’s currency, this was an offer of $15 million.
Samson’s final romance ends in disaster. Delilah’s name means “weakness” or “brought low.” She sure brought Samson down. She was the first woman that Samson gave his heart to and he was like putty in her hands. This combination of characters was lethal. Samson’s fatal attraction was based on sex. Delilah’s motivation was for money. The Philistines were after power. This trifecta of money, sex, and power has brought many good people to their destruction. Delilah agrees to trick him into revealing the secret to his strength.
Samson toys with her three times, but each time he gets closer to telling her the truth. First, he told her that if they bound him with fresh bowstrings he would be helpless. Then he said that if he were tied up with new ropes he would become weak. Finally, he said that if the seven locks of his hair were woven into a web he would be helpless. Samson is feeling so self-confident and so cocky. He thinks he’s invincible. Now he’s letting her touch his hair. She doesn’t know the secret yet, but he is letting her get closer and closer and closer. He’s toying with temptation.
3. HE REVEALS HIS SECRET IN ORDER TO SAVE FACE.
Finally, she said to him in verse 15, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me?’” After playing the “If you really loved me, you’d tell me” card, verse 16 tells us that she resorted to a war of words: “With such nagging, she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.” Samson then told her everything. Samson, you fool. You weren’t tricked. You weren’t deceived. Like Adam, you knew exactly what you were doing.The rulers of the Philistines come with the silver shekels in their hands, and she puts him to sleep on her lap. He doesn’t have a clue what is about to happen.
4. HE DIDN’T REALIZE WHAT HE HAD DONE UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE.
As soon as he’s sound asleep, she calls a man to hack off his hair. Verse 19 says it plainly: “His strength left him.” The last phrase of verse 20 is one of the saddest statements in the whole Old Testament: “But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” He didn’t realize what had happened. Too many Christians drift away from God through stupidity and foolishness, and they don’t realize what they’ve done until they’ve done it. They don’t appreciate what they had until it’s gone. Sin will always take you further than you want to go. What happens next is ugly. The Philistines have been waiting for 20 years to get their revenge. Listen to verse 21: “Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison.” Notice the four things that happened to Samson.
FIRST THERE IS MUTILATION.
They gouged out his eyes. His wandering eyes had caused his heart to wander and now he’s blind.
NEXT, THERE IS DEPORTATION.
They took him down to Gaza. That had to hurt; that’s where he visited the prostitute.
THEN THERE IS INCARCERATION.
He was bound with bronze shackles.
FINALLY, THERE IS HUMILIATION.
They set him to grinding in the prison, which was the work of slaves and animals.
I have to say this: If we don’t recognize and deal with our fatal flaws, we’ll end up just like Samson ¬ blinding, binding, and grinding. Blinding will take place as we lose our moral compass and vision. Binding will result as we lose our freedom and liberty. And we’ll spend the rest of our lives grinding out a purposeless existence.
Let me wrap this up by concluding with 5 action steps that will help us get off the road to ruin and head down the road to recovery.
1. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FATAL FLAWS.
What’s your spiritual soft spot? What area of your life has the most potential to ruin you? Is it lust? Coveting? Revenge? An unforgiving spirit? Anger? Lying? Psalm 38:18 says: “I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.”
2. ADMIT YOU NEED HELP.
Until you admit that you are vulnerable, you will never experience victory. Psalm 34:17 says: “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” That’s one of the reasons Alcoholics Anonymous is so effective. The entire program is built on the principle of people admitting that they have a problem. Some of you may think you no longer have a problem simply because you’ve swept it under the rug. Unless you admit your need for help, your flaws will just come back to haunt you again and again. Samson is Exhibit A of that truth.
3. AVOID TEMPTATION.
Don’t put yourself in situations where you know you’re vulnerable. If you have a problem with drinking, don’t go to bars. If you have a wandering eye, don’t flirt with anyone. Get an Internet filter so that you can stay away from websites that bring you down. Genesis 4:7 states: “…Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
4. ASK FOR HELP.
It’s not enough to just acknowledge your problem, to admit you need help, and to avoid temptation. You also need to ask for help. He who thinks he needs nothing or no one needs more than he can imagine.
FIRST OF ALL, ASK FOR GOD’S ASSISTANCE. Samson did this in Judges 16:28 when he prayed and said, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” God honored this request by using Samson to wipe out thousands of Philistines in his death.
SECOND, ASK FOR THE HELP OF OTHERS. Sadly, when you look at Samson’s life, everything he did, he did by himself. He never mustered the troops. He never partnered with a buddy. Don’t make the same mistake. Find a trusted friend and open up. Ask someone to hold you accountable. If you need some specific help, find a Christian counselor.
5. INCORPORATE GOD’S TRUTH INTO YOUR LIFE. Be with God’s people. Read God’s Word and put it into practice. Psalm 119:11 says: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
It’s absolutely imperative that we stay connected with God and with others. Left to ourselves, it’s just a short walk to becoming a Samson. Cultivate your relationship with Christ and commit yourself to do whatever it takes to grow. Join a Sunday School class. Maybe you need to be baptized, if you’re a believer and have never done so. Set time aside every day for Bible Study and prayer. Go to the WMU meetings and get involved.
Let me ask you a question, “How far can a person go before God will not deal with him anymore?” What if you get drunk? Is that too far? What if you steal money? Is that too far? What if you kill somebody? Is that too far? What if you cheat? What if you commit adultery? Is that too far? What if you have an abortion? Is that too far? How far can you go before God will say, “That’s it. I’m done with you.” Listen carefully. Nobody knows the answer to that question because nobody has ever gone far enough to find out.
Corrie Ten Boom, after surviving Nazi prison camps, has been asked how she could keep on going when things were so tough. I love her answer: “There is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.” No matter how far you run away from God, you can never go so far that God can’t find you.
I’m sure during the drudgery of grinding Samson realized what he had done. He knew that a death had to take place. And this is true for us as well. The only way out is to go back to that area of our life where we are resisting the Lordship of Jesus Christ and die, right there. Romans 6:11 asserts: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We need to look our fatal flaws squarely in the face and count ourselves as dead to them because of what Jesus did for us.
Notice how the story ends in verse 30: “Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.” You will find that to be true in your life, if you are willing to go back to the place of disobedience and face it. Reckon yourself to be dead to sin and alive to God. God will then crush the Philistines in your life.
Do you want to know the moral to this story? It really has nothing to do with Samson and everything to do with God. This passage is a living lesson in the grace of God. How a man who was beaten and blinded, humiliated by his own repeated stupidity, reached the bottom, turned around and discovered that God was waiting for him all the time. There’s nothing heroic about Samson. All he did was turn around and find God. God is the hero.
Some of us really need to hear this. Maybe you’ve gone pretty far down the road of romance or revenge and you’re grinding under a load of guilt. Listen carefully. Restoration of a relationship with God does not depend upon your performance. How can I say that? Because Samson didn’t perform. He came back to God before he pushed those pillars down. He came back to God while he was still shackled. He came back to God while he was still blind. He turned back to God and God took him.
ARE YOU READY TO TURN BACK TO HIM…BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE?