The Sweetest Downfall

Who knows this song? “You are my sweetest downfall…I loved you first, I loved you first…and the history books forgot about us and the Bible didn’t even mention us… not even once…”

Any takers? It’s a song called Samson by Regina Spektor. I hear it all the time on my pandora station. It’s probably the corniest song about Samson and Delilah I’ve ever listened to. They didn’t even make wonder bread back then and the Bible does mention them. I don’t get it. Whatever. I still hum along to it. I know, right?
There are lots of songs about Delilah, yet she’s known for one thing. Betrayal. And really, can you trust a hooker from the Valley? Okay, maybe she wasn’t a hooker and the Valley was in Sorek (Phillistine land) but still. Which makes me think, “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” But that’s  The Princess Bride, and I digress.
Who I want to talk about is Samson. There’s so much to learn from that man. Mostly, what not to do. So let’s do a information dump real quick.
Samson was to be a Nazarite.  Judges 13:5 A Nazarite vow was special and set someone apart specifically for the Lord. (Numbers 6) 
Here’s the rules:
1. He shall abstain from all wine and similar drink; nothing can be drunk or eaten that is produced from the grape vine
2. No razor can touch his head. hair cuts. Period. (Until his time of vow is up)
3. He can NOT go near a dead body; he can’t be unclean even for his father and mother or brother and sister when they die (so hopefully neither of them would die b/c touching them or going near them would be a no no) 

Now that we know the rules, let’s skip back to Judges. 

The Angel of the Lord (Pre-Incarnate Jesus) comes to Samson’s mother and tells her she’s about to conceive and that the baby is to be a Nazarite for his entire life. (It’s hard for me to picture Samson with Crystal Gayle hair, so I won’t.)
Samson grows up. He’s arrogant, a prankster–he was the original riddler, yah know. (Judges 14:13) and he has a hankerin for women. In the early nineties, we would have called Samson a “mac daddy” or a “playa”

God used Samson in spite of himself. He chose him!

Sometimes, God uses me in spite of myself and I’m thankful for His grace. Now let’s get to the roar in our story, pardon the pun. You’ll get it later.

Judges 14. Samson took a trip to Timnah and sure enough he spotted a sweet little thing and decided he wanted to marry her. So he goes home and says , “I have seen a woman in Timnah, of the Phillistines, now therefore, get her for me as a wife.” First of all, the Israelites weren’t supposed to be hookin up with anyone who wasn’t an Israelite. Sheesh! Second of all, who says, “therefore, go get her” ? 

They question him and he says, basically, “I don’t care. She’s right in my eyes. I’m marrying her.” Which is the whole theme of Judges, everyone doing whatever they think is right in their eyes. And pretty much nothing was.

Now here’s an interesting verse. “But his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD–that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time, the Philistines had dominion over Israel.”

That’s right. The Philistines were always enemies of the Israelites and on occasion God would use them to teach His people a lesson in humility. Now it was time to turn it around. 

Let me make a note here about this verse. You might be thinking, “If God said don’t marry anyone other than an Israelite, then how can marrying a Philistine girl be okay with Him? Isn’t that contradicting?”

Yes, yes it is. Except that’s not what that verse means in context. God knew Samson was stubborn. He was having this girl no matter what. You can hear it in Samson’s words in the above verses, so God uses Samson in spite of himself. 

God works good out of everything. He accomplishes His purposes through other’s mistakes all the time. In spite of us.

On with the story. Samson heads down to Timnah and along the way, a lion jumps out at him and Samson tore the lion apart with his bare hands. Yes, Samson, you’re strong. Actually, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and gave him the strength to defeat the lion. He went on about his business, stayed a few days with the Timnah wife-to-be and on his way back…

“He turned aside to see the carcass of the lion.”

“And behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the carcass of the lion. He took some of it in his hands and went along, eating. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they also ate. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion.”

First, let’s just all say it together: “Eeew.” 

Secondly, let’s remember Samson wasn’t to go near a dead body, even a lion’s. He not only made himself unclean, but by deceiving his parents, he made them unclean too.

Number one lesson learned: 

Sometimes in our life, we slay an enemy; we leave it dead on the road, but we come back to it. We can’t seem to help ourselves. 

“But you belong to God, my dear children…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NLT
(the same Spirit who gave you the strength to defeat the “lion” in the first place)

It appears as sweet as honey. We can’t see the rotting corpse of that sin; we only want a taste. 

“Your promises are sweet to me, sweeter than honey in my mouth.” Psalm 119:103 NCV

Sometimes, we drag others into that sin.

“But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck.” Mark 9:42 NLT

You cannot “turn aside to look.” Don’t veer off the path. Keep walking. Leave the lion on the side of the road. 

“Therefore, you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or the left.” Deuteronomy 5:32 NKJV

It’s a honey-trap and as you’ll see, it won’t take long before Samson finds himself in a new kind of honey-trap…with Delilah.

Have you ever found yourself going back to something you defeated earlier? 

25 thoughts on “The Sweetest Downfall

  1. Ooh, good post. I've done that, gone back. I forgot about Samson doing that with the lion too. Major yuck.

  2. In spite of me. Amen.
    ~ Wendy

  3. Love this post. And yes, I've gone back to something that I should've left alone.

  4. Wow. What a powerful post!

    All it does is cause death and destruction when we go back to that dead lion, but all we can see is the delicious honey. Surely there were other hives around there he could have eaten from!

    Thanks for the insight!

  5. Ouch! How many times have we defeated something in our lives, only to have it wiggle its way into our path yet again. Praise God, we don't have to rely on our own strength. And for that, Jessica, I'm very thankful!

  6. Great post, Jessica.

    I'll never look at Samson the same way again!!
    ~love the choice of words – hankerin – playa – mac daddy…you crack me up.

    Yes, I've gone back to something that I had defeated. Why? Why?

  7. Great post, Jess! It reminded me of something I heard once: sometimes we're hurt so others can learn and sometimes others are hurt so we can learn.

  8. Oh yeah, that honey pulls me back sometimes, gets me into sticky situations and then I wonder how I got there ~ I just wanted a little taste. Unfortunately, there's no taste-testing sin. So thankful for a God who loves me enough in those moments to use me "in spite of myself". And that He always seems to have those little handi-wipes to clean me up again with:)

  9. I love this post, Jessica. Delilah a hooker from the Valley, lol? You have a hilarious way of putting things!

    Sometimes I do go back to bad habits that I previously defeated. Like focusing on the negative instead of the positive. Or, giving into the temptation to tell someone off. That honey tastes great at first, until the bellyache rolls around.

  10. Great points brought out here, Jessica! And I know what you mean by that Regina Spektor song–I like the song but the words are puzzling. I love THE PRINCESS BRIDE too! Thanks for making a good point and doing it with humor and fun. 🙂

  11. I kind of think of this like repentance. Because we can fully repent and be fully forgiven but then when we keep thinking or talking about those old sins, it's like coming back to that lion. Nice post!

  12. SUCH a fabulous post, Jess. Samson has SO many lessons for us – and you didn't even touch the "big one." Wonderful!

  13. Thanks for the reminder! So important to realize our need to stay alert and on guard. It's too easy to deceive ourselves into thinking that once the Lord has helped us overcome something, we'll never be bothered by it again. Great post, Jess!

  14. Amen sista! you have always have the best posts:) Thank you

  15. "God works good out of everything. He accomplishes His purposes through other's mistakes all the time. In spite of us." ~ Love this. Thanks, Jessica!

  16. Oh, this is so, so, so good. It made me wince…in a good way. So important to stay alert, not veer off the path even a bit…but also to rest in the awesomeness of God at work even through our mess-ups.

    Awesome and Amen. 🙂

  17. Wow, Jessica! Great reminder that in spite of our poor choices at times, God still uses us. Not that we should be willy-nilly about our choices, but when we do slip, go right back to Him and let Him use us!

  18. Loved this post from beginning to end, Jessica. What a powerful statement you made here: "It appears as sweet as honey. We can't see the rotting corpse of that sin; we only want a taste." Wow, I'm writing that down.

  19. Girl, can you please come and teach me the whole Bible in your own words? I would really like that. I don't need the message, I need the JV "Jess's Version."

  20. Hey everyone! I'm late to the party. It's been one of those days, yah know?

    I love the comments and added insight you guys have.

  21. Excellent post! My favorite line, "God used Samson in spite of himself." Such a reminder of the grace of God and the continual failure of man. That's the Bible in a nutshell, isn't it? God created, man messed it up. God creates a plan to redeem the world, forms a nation and says all the nations will be blessed through them. Man messes up, again and again and again, yet God's grace-filled plan prevails. Man's failure cannot thwart God's plan. And similarly, my failures will not thwart God's plans in my life. Love the song, "He's not finished with me yet." Whew! So glad!

  22. We're gluttens for punishment I tell you. It's just in our nature. Doesn't make it right though, does it?

    Okay, me too, I'll never look at Samson the same again after this post.

  23. Great post. Eeew for lion carcass honey. And I'm so grateful that God works in spite of me.

  24. Wow, no wonder you're so popular! I got your link from Joanne Sher and she's right- you are inspiring. The thought that I might actually be visiting some old, dead bodies on my journey toward Heaven is sobering. Sigh. Back to work I go. Can't wait for Monday's post.

  25. NEVER! I never go back!! AH, HA HA HA! right. just crown me queen of returning .


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