1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless.
3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son.
4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean,
5 because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him,
25 and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
The life of Samson is a lesson on wasted potential. Never had there been a life so promising and yet so disappointing.
He was born at a time when Israel was oppressed by the Philistines for 40 years. Samson means “sunshine.” And in the darkest days of his nation’s history, sunshine came into the world.
But unlike most of the previous judges, Samson didn’t deliver his people from foreign domination. He began the work of deliverance that others would finish. It would take the prayers of Samuel and the sword of David to finish the job that Samson started.
He was a Nazirite, which means consecrated, separated, or set aside. He was to have no wine or fruit of the vine. He couldn’t come near or touch a dead body, whether animal or human. And he couldn’t cut his hair.
Normally a Nazirite vow was for a limited period of time, but in Samson’s case, the vow was to last all his life. The calling of God was upon him, setting him apart for the great work of God.
As a result, Samson was given great strength of the Lord. On one occasion he slew 1,000 Philistines with just the jawbone of a donkey. On another, he lifted the gates of the city up a hill on his shoulders. Then there was the time he was confronted by a wild lion, and tore it apart with his bare hands.
What did he look like? Like Schwarzenegger? No. Probably just average. How do we know? Because Delilah asked him the secret of his strength. It wasn’t obvious that he had great strength. Samson’s great strength came only when the ‘Spirit of the Lord came upon him’.
Samson seemed like quite a fun guy to be around. He was sharp witted. He loved riddles and had a great sense of humor. No wonder his name was sunshine, he would brighten up a room whenever he was around.
And yet this is not a happy story, it is a tragedy. He went from hero to zero, from victor to victim. His life was to be marked by disobedience, defeat, disgrace, and destruction.
His life was a bundle of contradictions. He was bold before men, but weak before women. He had the Spirit of God upon him, but lived for the appetites of the flesh. He was called upon to declare war upon the enemies of God, but many times we find him making friends with the enemies of God. He fought the Lord’s battles by day, and broke the Lord’s commandments by night.
Sunshine was his name, which speaks of light, yet he ended his life in darkness having had his eyes gouged out. At times he soared to incredible heights, but also sunk to incredible depths.
If you had told Samson at the beginning of how his life would end, he would have sneered and laughed you off. Who would have thought that he would went that far. Samson paid a high price for his low living.
What are the causes of his failure?
1. Dominated by Desires
1 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman.
2 When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”
‘Down’ is a geographical term, but it has more meaning than that to me. When you run from God, you’re going down! Read the story of Jonah, he went down over and over again until he went God’s way.
Samson was going down spiritually because he was dominated by his sensual desires. He had a weakness for woman. Not only that, he lusted after Philistine women, who were ungodly and unbelieving women.
2 Corinthians 6:14-15
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
Different faith, different values, different direction in life!
Law of gravity makes it so much easier to be pulled down then to be pulled up.
Samson’s marriage to the Philistine woman turned sour, and it also opened him up to a life of sinful pursuit of sensual pleasures.
Judges 16:1 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her.
Judges 16:4 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.
It keeps getting worse. Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.
1 Corinthians 6:15-18
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!
16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
How unique are sexual sins! The consequences go on and on. Forgiveness is still possible, but the consequences continue.
2. Wanted Own Way
Judges 14:3 His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.”
Samson was blessed with godly heritage. His parents were God-fearing and gave him the right counsel. Sadly, Samson would not listen. He insisted on wanting his own way.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Samson thumbed his nose at his parents, and died young!
3. Careless with Consecration
Couldn’t be careless, a cavalier attitude of haughty disregard.
Samson was a Nazirite from birth, he knew it was the secret of his supernatural strength. Yet he broke the vow one by one, keeping only the minimum.
He wanted the strength but not the sacrifice!
Judges 14:5 Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him.
‘Vineyards’ = he went to a place he wasn’t supposed to be. You say, that’s just a little thing. It’s the little foxes that spoil the vines. It is when we are just flirting with sin, playing with fire that the slippery slope takes over.
8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass. In it was a swarm of bees and some honey,
9 which he scooped out with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.
‘Carcase’ = more disobedience. He keeps violating his vows. He is losing his focus. He is sinning in high gear! And it’s a downward spiral.
The deeper you go into sin, the blinder you get! Samson was blind long before his eyes were gouged out!
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.
4. Presumptuous with Power
The power of God was given to fight the Philistines and deliver his nation. But he misused it for personal pleasures and revenge. Samson was not fighting God’s battles, but his own. He was misusing his gifts.
First he married a Philistine woman, thrown a wedding feast, and all the guests are Philistines. He was joking, laughing and playing games with them. He was with the wrong crowds!
Samson played game with the Philistine guests, asking them to solve a riddle. They couldn’t solve his riddle, so they threatened Samson’s wife.
16 Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?”
17 She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.
Samson could stand before an army, but not before a crying woman.
Time and again he defeated the Philistines, so he thought he had everything under control. He was prideful and presumptuous.
4 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.
5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.”
6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”
15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.”
16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.
17 So he told her everything.
19 Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.
20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” 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.
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.
22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”
24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.”
25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars,
28 Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,
30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” 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.
In Heb 11:32 we find Samson listed in the heroes of faith.
Finally, at the lowest point of his life, Samson repented. Our God is the God of second chance!
He died young, he died needlessly. He could have done so much more for God. He is in heaven, but he missed all the rewards of God.
The high cost of low living! Don’t play with sin. Sin will have no mercy on you, so don’t have mercy with sin.
Sin starts small, but it grows big.
Today, there is mercy with our God!