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THE STORIES OF SAMSON AND DELILAH
Intro: This passage presents us with a whole host of characters. Of course, there is Samson and Delilah; they are the stars of the show. The supporting characters include the “lords of the Philistines,” v. 5, of which there were five, Judges 3:3, and the men who hid in Delilah’s home waiting to capture Samson, vv. 9, 12, 19-20. So, quite a few people figure into this sordid little tale.
The stars of this story, as I said, are Samson and Delilah. Their story is one of love, lies and loss. It is a tale for the ages. It is a story that should be read, studied and taken to heart. I want to spend some time here today because their story has much to teach us. Their story does not teach us lessons about genuine love and romance, but about the dangers of getting too close to the enemy. Their story is a story of deception, greed, lust and destruction.
Their story stands as a constant warning to those who would trifle with sin. Their story is a reminder to us all that sin is deceptive and that it is deadly. There may be “pleasure in sin for a season,” but the end of sin is never worth the pleasure it provides. Let’s take another dip in the cesspool of Samson’s life and consider The Stories Of Samson And Delilah.
I. v. 4-5 THEIRS IS A STORY OF LOVE
A. Samson Loved a Woman – We are told that Samson “loved a woman.” Over the course of his life, this is the third woman we have a record of Samson being with. First, there was the “woman of Timnath,” Judges 14:1-2; then there was the “harlot” in Gaza, Judges 16:1; now there is “Delilah”. There may have been others, but these are the ones the Bible mentions.
From the texts that mention these women, it seems that all three of them were Philistines. It appears that Samson has an attraction to women who should have been off limits to him as a man of God. It also appears that he had a problem with lust, which as a man of God, he should have fought against. It seems that Samson’s life was characterized by a series of illicit sexual relationships. There can be no doubt that this was a sin and a snare in his life, and that it hindered his ministry as a judge in Israel.
By the way, the same is true for people in our day. The Lord gave us our sexual desires, and they are good when they are exercised in the proper context. That is, within the framework of marriage. However, when we step outside the boundary of marriage and engage in any sexual expression, it crosses the line into sin. God wants His people to be sexually pure.
· 1 Cor. 6:18 – “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
· Matt. 5:27-28 – “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
· Heb. 13:4, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
· 1 Thes. 4:3-8, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”
In this text, we are told that Samson “loved” Delilah. This was not said about the woman he took as his wife, nor was it said about the harlot from Gaza. In this case Delilah seems to have touched the heart of Samson and it appears that he truly loved her, and as the text suggests in verse 17, he trusted her with his most valuable secrets.
The fact that Samson loved Delilah does not excuse him in his sin. Samson sinned because he was guilty of fornication. Sadly, there is a lack of morality in our world, even among those who call themselves Christians. The rate of fornication and adultery in the church is at about the same level as it is in the world. That should not be! Those who know the Lord should be careful to keep themselves clean and unpolluted by this immoral, godless world. Young people, you can wait until you are married to become sexually active. Single adults, you can keep your bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Married couples, you can be faithful to your spouse both mentally and physically. May God help us to strive for that goal. If you have failed in this area, there is forgiveness and restoration. If you haven’t failed in this area, there is strength in the Lord to help you stay pure for the glory of God.
B. Delilah Loved Wealth – While Samson loved Delilah, she apparently did not love him. The “lords of the Philistines” come to Delilah and offer her 1,100 pieces of silver each to discover and tell them the secret to Samson’s power, v. 5. They want her to “entice” him. The word “entice,” means “to be simple, or to be gullible.” It has the idea of “acting like an innocent person in order to deceive someone else.” These men want her to play dumb and do everything she can to extract from Samson the secret of his power.
The ancient Philistines were a very superstitious people. They probably assumed that Samson possessed some kind of amulet, or good luck charm, that gives him his power. They want to exploit his weakness for women to their advantage. They want to use her to find his secret.
Delilah is willing to go along with their plan because their offer of “1,100 pieces of silver each,” would make her a very wealthy woman. In today’s money it would be in the neighborhood of $750,000.00. She didn’t care about Samson; she only used him to get rich. He was her lottery ticket; her golden goose. All she had to do was play her part well and she would walk away with her reward.
What a picture of the ways of sin this woman turns out to be. She represents exactly how Satan works in our lives.
The Lord doesn’t want us falling into the traps laid by modern Delilah’s and by the devil. He will enable us to escape the devil’s traps, if we look to Him for deliverance. Ill. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry,” 1 Cor. 10:13-14.
I. Theirs Is A Story Of Love
II. v. 6-14 THEIRS IS A STORY OF LIES
(Ill. Neither Samson nor Delilah was honest in their relationship with the other. The only way any relationship can survive and thrive is for it to be built upon truth and honesty. Let’s notice their lies.)
A. Samson’s Lies Were Senseless – When Delilah begins to ask Samson about the source of his strength, he plays with her thinking that he is far smarter than she will ever be. After all, he is the strong Judge of Israel, and she is just a weak woman. By the way, the name “Delilah” means, “feeble, or the pining one.” He thinks it will be fun to toy with her, to have her try and trap him. He is confident in the notion that he is stronger than anything and anyone. He believes there is no way that she can harm him. Notice how he tries to deceive her.
· v. 7-10 – “Bind me with seven green withs” – This refers to animal intestines that have not been dried. These strips of animal intestines, when dried, were used to make bowstrings. When they were dried, they were incredibly strong. When they were green, they were every weak, and easily broken. This lie shows the contempt Samson had for the Philistines. So, Delilah binds him and tells him the Philistines are there. He breaks the “withs” as if they were a thread touched to fire. In verse 10, Delilah confronts Samson with his lies and begs him to tell her the truth.
· v. 11-13a – “Bind me fast with new ropes” – Green ropes are very strong. An ordinary man could not break them. But, again, Samson shows his disregard for his enemies. They had already seen what he could do with ropes. In Jud. 15:12-15, his own people had bound him with ropes and delivered him to the Philistines. Samson had broken the ropes then as if they were nothing and using the jawbone of a donkey, he had killed 1,000 men. He is toying with Delilah and with the Philistines. Delilah binds him with the ropes, and he breaks them as a man would break a piece of thread. Again, Delilah confronts Samson and demands that he tell her the truth.
· v. 13b-14 – “Weavest the seven locks of my head with the web” – Samson tells Delilah to take a loom and to weave his hair into it. If she does, he will lose his strength. Notice that he is getting closer to revealing the real secret of his power. Samson is playing a dangerous game and he is about to get burned! Delilah does as he says and Samson simply gets up and walks away as if he was carrying nothing at all.
What we should note from this passage is the fact that Samson was guilty of playing with sin. He knew the source of his strength, and he entered into a deadly game with Delilah. By the time he gets to the third deception, he is getting dangerously close to the truth. This is the problem with sin. People play with it. They go as far as they can without actually crossing the line into the forbidden. At least, that is what they think they are doing. Jesus made is very clear that sin in the heart is sin already, even it is never carried out in the flesh, Matt. 12:34-35; Matt. 5:28.
Most people think they can control their sin. In truth, but for the grace of God, sin controls us, and it will be our master if we allow it a foothold in our lives. Ill. Rom. 6:11-14 says, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Notice what the Bible says about this matter.
· “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death,” James 1:14-15.
· The words “drawn away” mean, “to lure like game is lured from its hiding place.” The word “enticed” means, “to lure by bait.” Each of us has natural lusts and cravings for sin. There is a fleshly appetite within each of us that will control us if we allow it to. Satan focuses on these sinful desires. He will entice us to sin by dangling his bait in front of us. When we bite, he springs the trap and we find ourselves ensnared in his web.
· The Bible teaches us that within our hearts dwells the root of all our sinfulness, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man,” Mark 7:21-23.
· Radio personality Paul Harvey tells the story of how an Eskimo kills a wolf. The account is grisly, yet it offers fresh insight into the consuming, self-destructive nature of sin. “First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder the wolf licks the blade in the arctic night.
So great becomes his craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue, nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his OWN warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more--until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!”
It is a fearful thing that people can be “consumed by their own lusts.” Only God's grace keeps us from the wolf's fate.
Instead of playing with sin, we should be like Joseph and put as much distance as we can between our temptation and ourselves, Gen. 39:7-12. Too often we play around with sin, thinking we can control it, the reality is, it will control us if we give in to its deception.
Consider Eve in the Garden of Eden, Gen. 3:1-6. She listened to the serpent and fell into his trap. Adam followed Eve and the world fell into sin. When we play with sin, we are always headed to a fall.
B. Delilah’s Lies Were Sinister – While Samson was toying with Delilah, she was playing him like a cheap fiddle. She was setting him up for a fall. Samson lied to her because he thought he was smarter than she was. She lied to him because she was far smarter than he was. Delilah played her part well and she lured Samson unto her trap just as surely as a spider lures a fly into its web.
Delilah uses the same tactic used by the woman in Timnath, Jud. 4:16-17. She played the “if you loved me you would” card. The Bible implies that she begged, pleaded, whined and cried day after day, all day long. After a short while, her persistence wore Samson down.
Again, this is a picture of how sin works in us. If we allow ourselves to be placed under the constant pressure of temptation, we too will be worn down. Like Delilah, sin is relentless, aggressive and persistent. It will hammer away at our resistance until we give in to its advances. When we do, like Samson, we always lose. The best advice is to put as much distance as you can between yourself and the sources of sin and temptation in your life. Ask the girl who lost her purity to the boy who said, “If you love me you will.” Ask the man who traded his family for a woman who said, “If you love me you will.”
Playing with sin is like playing with fire; you will eventually be burned! Ill. “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” Pro. 6:27-28. The answer is no! You play with sin and you will always pay a price! You might not face the same thing Samson did, but you will pay a price for indulging sin in your life, Ill. Gal. 6:7. You will sacrifice your intimacy with God. You will sacrifice His power. You will endanger the relationships that matter most in your life. Sin always costs, and that cost is never cheap!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Satan will not stop until he has ruined your life. He will not back down until sin has taken everything of value from you. He will not stop until you are broken, your life wasted and you are of no use to God! Like Delilah, the lies of Satan and sin are sinister and destructive.
Ill. Not long after a wealthy contractor had finished building the Tombs prison in New York, he was found guilty of forgery and sentenced to several years in the prison he had built! As he was escorted into a cell of his own making, the contractor said, “I never dreamed when I built this prison that I would be an inmate one day.” That’s the trouble with sin; we never stop to think about the consequences of our actions. One day, we will have to answer for the things we do, Num. 32:23.
I. Theirs Is A Story Of Love
II. Theirs Is A Story Of Lies
III. v. 15-21 THEIRS IS A STORY OF LOSS
(Ill. Verse 17-20a – Delilah wore Samson down and he told her the truth. He told her about his hair being a symbol of his Nazarite vow before God. Apparently, Samson trusted Delilah and believed that his secret was safe with her. How foolish! No sooner is he asleep that she has a man cut off his hair. She began to “afflict him”. This phrase means that she “humiliated him, or she began to mistreat him.” The former strong man has become weak in the hands of this woman. He cannot even defend himself against her because “his strength went from him.” Let’s examine the losses incurred on both sides of this relationship.)
A. Delilah’s Losses Were Considerable – In the end, Delilah really lost nothing. She was a sinner before this event and she remained one after this event. The real tragedy is that Samson was supposed to be a man of God. As a Jew he was supposed to take the light of God’s law and the grace of God’s love and share it with the lost Gentiles so that they might come to know the God he was supposed to have been serving. Because he allowed his passions to govern his life, he destroyed his testimony in front of Delilah.
The aftermath of this story is easy to reconstruct. Delilah enjoyed the fruits of her deception. She instantly became a very wealthy woman. Financially, she was set for life. However, in the end, she lost everything. Eventually she dies, and when she did, she died in her sins and went to Hell. She gained nothing of lasting value while losing the things that valued the most, her own soul. In the end, she lost everything!
Ill. Mark 8:36-37, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Delilah stands as an example for all those who would put sin ahead of a relationship with God. You might enjoy the pleasures of this world for a while, but in the end, there is nothing in front of you but the judgment of God and an eternity in Hell. If you are not saved, I challenge you to come to Jesus Christ today for the only hope of salvation that can deliver you from the wrath of God!
B. Samson’s Losses Were Complete – While Delilah lost little in her day-to-day life because of their encounter, Samson lost everything of value, and he lost it immediately. Consider the high price Samson paid for indulging his sin.
1. He Lost Much Physically – Samson paid a high physical price for his sin with Delilah.
a. v. 21 He Lost His Freedom – The Bible says that the Philistines “took him” and “bound him”. No more could Samson go out and do as he pleased. His sin had robbed him of his freedom and he was the prisoner of his enemies!
b. v. 21 He Lost His Vision – The Philistines “put out his eyes”. They took away from him the faculty of sight. They blinded him to make him easier to control.
c. v. 21 He Lost His Dignity – the first time Samson came to Gaza it was for the purpose of finding pleasure, v. 1. This time he returns as the prisoner of the Philistines. They take him to their prison and they force him to “grind”. Grinding was the work of women or of the lowest slaves. This shows the disdain the Philistines had for Samson. They humiliated the mighty Judge of Israel by forcing him to labor as a slave.
All these things are pictures of sin’s power in our lives. Those who allow themselves to be taken in the trap of sin will find that sin has the power to bind, blind and grind. Sin binds men by enslaving them in habits that are hard to break. Sin blinds them into believing that there is nothing wrong with their lives or with the sins they are committing. Sin grinds them into powder and uses up their lives until they are just a shell of what they used to be. The truth is, sin will bind you, blind you and grind. It will wear you out and waste your life. A life that could have been productive and useful to the Lord will become a proverb on the dangers of sin. You may not believe a word I am saying to you today, but sin will ruin your life.
2. He Lost More Spiritually –
(Ill. This is the most expensive haircut in history! Did you know that the average woman spends over $50,000.00 on her hair in her lifetime? Did you know that the average woman spends two years of her life washing, styling and setting her hair? Did you know that the average woman spends 41 minutes per day working on her hair? Did you know that a recent survey found that during the last month, 54% of the women surveyed, got madder at their hair than they did at their husbands? Did you know that Americans spend over 7 billion dollars per year on hair care products? That figure does not include the billions spent by Americans every year having their hair cut, colored, permed, set, and styled. It seems to me that our hair is important to us.
If our hair is that important to us, think of how important it should have been to Samson. His hair had never been cut. He was a Nazarite, and part of the vow he was required to take stipulated that Samson could not cut his hair, Num. 6:5. Samson’s hair was the external symbol of his commitment to God. It identified him as a man set apart for God’s glory and God’s use. As long as Samson’s hair left to grow, it set him apart as a man of God. When his hair was cut, he lost God’s power in his life.
As long as Samson allowed the Lord to control his hair he was fine, but when he allowed Delilah to take control of his hair, he lost his power with God. This passage describes what is easily the most expensive haircut in the history of the world. When Samson demoted God in his heart, he lost the only thing that set him apart: He lost the power of God! Notice what this haircut cost Samson.)
a. He Lost His Fellowship With God – “the Lord was departed from him” – When Samson allowed his hair to be cut, he lost his strength. Now, there was no power in Samson’s hair. His hair was the visible symbol of his commitment to God. Samson was a Nazarite, and one part of the Nazarite Vow was that the Nazarite was never to cut his hair, Num. 6:1-4.
All through his life, Samson had treated his vows as a Nazarite with disregard. He had played fast and loose with his vows. He had touched a dead body, Jud. 14:9, which was forbidden. He attended “wine feasts”, Jud. 14:10, and he spent time in vineyards, Jud. 14:5; both of these put him in danger of breaking his vows to God.
When Samson allowed his hair to be cut, he crossed the final line with God. In that moment, Samson was declaring that he loved Delilah more than he loved God. He was saying that he loved his live of sin more than he loved his life as a servant of God. Samson’s power did not derive from his hair. It derived from his relationship with God. His hair was symbolic of that relationship. When his hair was cut, his fellowship with God was broken and he paid a terrible price.
God left him, and when He did, God took Samson’s power away as well. He paid a high price for his sin!
So will we! If we want power with God in prayer and in our daily lives, we must live clean and close. We must address our sins and put God first in our lives. There can be no room for sin in the lives of those who want power with God. In Jesus Christ, our relationship is secure, John 10:28, but our fellowship is fragile. When we want our sins more than we want Him, it will cause Him to withdraw His power from our lives. As a result, our prayer lives will be hindered. Our worship will be hindered. Our walk with God will be hindered. Sin drives a wedge between the saint of God and God. We cannot have both! (Ill. Eph. 4:21-32)
b. He Lost His Spiritual Discernment – The saddest statement in these verses might be the words “wist not” in verse 20. When Samson awake from sleep, he did not even know that God had left him. Sin’s grip on his life was so great that he did not know the power of God had been removed from his life. He assumed that God would be on him like He always had been. This time he was wrong. Sin had robbed Samson of all his spiritual discernment. Samson had gotten so used to living life under his own strength that he did not realize that God had removed His strength from him. He taken God for granted for so long that he wasn’t even aware when God left him. That was an expensive haircut!
There is nothing sadder than someone who claims to know the Lord, thinking they are living in the will God, when God is nowhere around them. That is a tragedy, but such is the result of sin. There is nothing sadder than the husk of a Christian! How tragic it is when people allow sin to strip of them of all the things that matter. When they do, they are merely going through the motions of serving God. Without His presence and His power, anything we do is in vain!
My question is, how could Samson not know? Sin has a way of blinding us to the truth of our condition. Sin will make you think you are right and that everyone else, including God is wrong. Sin will cause you to believe that you are always right, regardless of what you do, or whom you hurt. Sin is a deceiver!
Sin will rob you of spiritual discernment. Because of sin, most church members have little or no discernment. They cannot recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in a service. Thus, they do not know how to respond appropriately when He does show up. Because of sin, most people don’t know is a sermon is good or bad, sound or unsound, true or false, filled with biblical truth or hot air. Sin is killing us in these days because it destroys our ability to recognize God, His presence and His power. Even Isaac, as he traveled with his father to Mt. Moriah, had enough wisdom and discernment to know that something was missing, Gen. 22:7. We need to repent of our sins, ask the Lord to forgive us and cleanse us, so that we might have His power and be wise enough to know when He is on us or when He isn’t.
c. He Lost His Ministry – Because of his sin, the Lord put Samson on the shelf. He was removed as the Judge over Israel. He was no longer a vessel fit for God’s use. His ministry was over.
That same can happen to us. It was Paul’s fear, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway,” 1 Cor. 9:27. The word “castaway” refers to that which is “unfit, reprobate, not standing the test”. It was used of coins that were tested and not found to be struck from real gold. In other words, they were worthless. Paul’s fear was that he would become worthless to the Lord. So, Paul took the necessary steps to overcome his flesh. The phrase “keep under” means to “beat black and blue”. The word “subjection” means, “to enslave.” Paul took the initiative. He mastered his flesh instead of allowing the flesh to master him.
Paul’s fear should be our fear as well. I don’t want to lose my usefulness to the Lord! But, it could happen in any of our lives, if we do not take the necessary steps to defeat our sin and control our passions. Samson lost his ministry, and we could lose ours, if we are not careful.
d. He Lost His Testimony – Samson, the strong man, the mighty Judge, was taken to a Philistine prison and made to do the work of a woman. He was made to do the work of the lowest kind of slave. In other words, he was humiliated in the eyes of the enemy. Did you ever stop to consider that God was humiliated right along with Samson? When they laughed at Samson, v. 23-24, they were mocking his God as well. A victory over Samson was considered to be a victory over God.
My friends, when we fail in the flesh; when the traps of the devil ensnare us; when we fall into sin, we bring reproach on the name of the Lord. When a child of God sins it always harms the cause of Christ. God is so closely identified with His people that our shame in the eyes of the world and the devil translates into His shame as well.
· 2 Sam. 12:14, “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”
· 1 Pet. 4:14-15, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.”
· Titus 2:5, “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
· 1Tim. 6:1, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.”
· 1Tim. 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
The lesson from this ought to be crystal clear. What we do matters. What we do reflects back on God. Let us resolve that we will do nothing that will be an evil reflection against the glory of God. He deserves our best; let’s give it to Him! There is nothing more shameful and harmful to the cause of Christ than a damaged testimony. When we allow sin to rule in these bodies, it will always tarnish our testimonies and bring dishonor to the name of our God. May it never be!
Conc: What are we to do with this sad, tragic story? We are to take it to heart! We must come before the Lord and deal with our sins and our temptations. We must get honest about weaknesses and realize that God alone is our strength.
If we are to stand against sin in this world, we must have His help. Ill. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing,” John 15:5.
If we have already committed sin, He will forgive us and restore us. Ill. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9.
If we are struggling against sin, He will help us achieve the victory. Ill. 1 Cor. 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
How will your story be written? The time to change the ending is now. The time to deal with sin is now. The time to come to Jesus is now. The time to make a break with your Delilah is now.