In chapters 14 and 15 of Judges, we have seen the birth, marriage and miracles of Samson’s life thus far. If you haven’t read them, please do, so you don’t miss out on the action and shocking revelations of God’s plan of salvation through Samson, from foxes on fire to heaps upon heaps with a jawbone? Samson became a very busy man after finding out his wife was given away, which led to a series of back and forth attacks between him and the Philistines, leading to him wanted for justice. Now before we get to Delilah, I’d like us to look at the harlot Samson saw before her, in Gaza, at the beginning of Judges 16. A very short passage you could easily miss the meaning, yet very relevant today.
Samson and the Harlot
Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a Harlot there and went in to her, explains Judges 16. When the Gazites were told, “Samson has come here!” they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. Now of course their plan of capturing him did not work and he managed to escape, but why the harlot in the plan of salvation? We can find a similar passage in Hosea 3, where the Lord said to him “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.” And again, in Jeremiah 2, God’s case against Israel, “For my people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water.” In the eyes of the Lord, idolatry is the same as playing the harlot.
Samson and Delilah
Oh, the tragic love story of betrayal and the love for money. From the 4th verse, we see the story of Delilah, and it says “Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.” I couldn’t help but notice that with his Philistine wife, Samson said she pleases me, but with Delilah, he loved her. And what that means is that whatever Delilah perceived love to be as, Samson conformed to that. Which wasn’t the case with the Philistine wife, as she was driven with fear and intimidation, and love suffers in the presence on fear. And the bible says the lords of Philistines came up to her and said, “Entice him and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him and afflict him, and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you may be bound to afflict you.” Wow, straight to the point right? Jesus too was betrayed, but for less.
Three times the bible records Delilah asking Samson where his strength lies and Samson would come up with something new. However, every thing he mentioned would bound him and afflict him was brought forth by Delilah, with the help of the Philistines of course; new ropes, seven fresh bow-strings, weaving his locks into the web of loom, which is a very complicated task by the way, and it made me wonder why he still loved her, knowing what she wanted. I have to admit, reading the passage made me feel a little enraged, clearly, she only had one agenda in mind and that was to know where his strength lied, what could bound and afflict him, and deliver him to the Philistines. How could he not see that! Until I remembered Isaiah 50:6, “I gave my back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out my beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.” And various accounts from Mathew, Mark and Luke testify to this, Jesus allowed this, He gave Himself up to affliction and fulfilled the prophecy. And it came to pass, when Delilah pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, that he told her all his heart, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazarite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” And so she did. And when she called out "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" He thought he would go out as before, at other times, and shake himself free, but he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. And so did Christ at the cross felt forsaken.
God through Samson made known His salvation plan to mankind and why it was necessary for a spotless lamb to be sacrificed in our place. Do we understand the depth of His love for us, that He gave His only begotten Son? That He who was without sin became sin for us, that we may eternally be connected to God in His righteousness? His righteousness that we in our human form cannot fathom, He has to come down to our level for us to understand His glory and majesty, yet with such tenderness He reveals Himself to us. Three women, the Philistine wife, the harlot and Delilah. One who did not know who her groom was and what he was capable of, the other who was loved by many lovers, idolatrous, and another who knew exactly who he was but took his love for granted, and for pieces of silver, traded him for a life in the world, all just like Jesus.
Which bride are we? Are we a church that is afraid of offending the world than stand by the truth? Or a church with modern day carved images that we can’t stay off of, on the Lord’s hallowed day? Or has the enemy simply offered us the world with its riches that were already given to us freely by God. At any point in our lives, we could easily be either one of these women, taking matters into our own hands, loving God only when it is convenient for us, or just having it too good to care. But do not be discouraged, we are exactly who God sent His Son for, it is for us that God devised this plan of salvation that we may not perish. Taste and See that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Ps. 34.8) May God help us in preparing our church as His bride, and as you and your family make the decision today to serve the Lord. I hope you were blessed with this series, and until His return, may the good Lord richly bless you.