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?