LEAN IN, BUT NOT TO YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING
4. Some time later Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek.
5. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “Entice Samson to tell you what makes him so strong and how he can be overpowered and tied up securely. Then each of us will give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”
6So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes you so strong and what it would take to tie you up securely.”
Judges 16: 4–6 NLT
Today’s Passage begins a new Chapter in The Story of Sampson, in which everything changes. We’ve seen our unlikely hero do some pretty ungodly things in his time as Israelite Judge, and he is about to be paid back dearly for his hubris. Sampson is a man of lustful desires, and it seems that his “luck” may have finally run out.
After the Gaza harlot incident in which Sampson ripped up the city gates and carried them over 35 miles away, he returned to enemy territory, where he fell in love with another Philistine woman. You can bet that he was being watched, as proven by the swiftness of the Philistine’s reaction.
The Text says Sampson fell in love with this woman but does not indicate how she felt toward him. Delilah may have started out in love with Sampson, but after the Lords of the Philistines came to her and offered her their deal, there was no way for her to turn them down.
First of all, Delilah would have known what non-compliance would have gained her. She would have known what happened to Sampson’s first wife, and she would likely have been afraid to defy the rulers of her country. But there is another motivation here that we cannot ignore.
Fear is a significant motivator in people’s lives, causing them to do nearly anything to assuage their apprehension. But another human motivation tends to allow individuals to overcome fear to overpower their dread and act. That motivation is Greed.
Despite her feelings for Sampson, the Lords of the Philistines made an offer Delilah simply could not afford to refuse. I mean, just look at what she was about to gain. They told her that each of them would give her 1100 pieces of silver!
Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us how many men visited her, but we can assume it was more than one or two. So, Delilah was set to receive at least 3300 pieces of silver, if not significantly more. If she could pull off this dangerous fete, Delilah was about to become a very wealthy woman!
That fact helps to illustrate two crucial points in Today’s Passage that begin this new Chapter of Sampson’s Story. The episode commences The Game played between Sampson, Delilah, and the Philistines that will end in tragedy for them all!
But before we get to all that, let’s look at Today’s Lessons. First of all, we can infer through the amount of money the Philistine rulers were willing to part with just how desperate they were to destroy Sampson. We are talking about an amount of cash that would have placed Delilah in a position few other women could boast.
However, given the actions of the Philistines till then, I think it is just as likely that once Delilah successfully performed her duty, they’d simply kill her instead of paying her such an exorbitant amount. It’s not like these were honorable men. Why lose wealth if they didn’t have to?
That is all conjecture on my part, but it makes sense. Why would men, who have already proven their treachery, make good on a promise that would cost them so much? If they indeed are, it is because Sampson is such a high-value target! Just look at all he’s done!
I’ll not review it all again, but let’s just say that Sampson is a major thorn in the Philistine’s side. They’ve lost money, honor, and status in the time Sampson has been an Israelite Judge, and that’s with him not even doing the job correctly!
It is no wonder they’d be willing to pay that kind of price to capture him. But another detail stood out to me here that I may have missed before, and that’s the honesty in Delilah’s approach.
Look at what she says to him in Verse 6. Delilah actually asked Sampson directly how she could bind him to afflict him! She wasn’t even hiding what she was looking to do. And Sampson would have had to be pretty dense not to have known why she was doing it.
I submit that Sampson did know her angle but was so arrogant that he just didn’t care. Sampson is so smug and full of himself that he stayed with a woman who was obviously out to see him humbled. He simply didn’t believe it was possible!
And that scenario sets up the Game that begins the final episode of The Story of Sampson, and as already mentioned, it does not end well for any of them! But before we get to that, let me try and suss out the rest of Today’s Lesson.
Do not ignore the glaring red flags waving in your face regarding those around you and their intentions toward you. If you see something that looks like it may be smoke, do not wait to feel the heat from the flames. By then, it may well be too late!
When God gives you the Discernment to see an individual’s intentions toward you, do not give them the benefit of the doubt! That is God’s way of warning us, and if we ignore it, we may be walking away from the only chance we should ever expect to get!
It’s like the contemporary proverb: A man is stuck on his roof in a terrible flood and prays for God to save him. A truck plows through the swiftly rising water and stops to rescue the man, but he tells them, “No! I’m okay. God will save me!”
Then someone comes by with a boat, but the man refuses their help too, telling them, “No, I’m alright. God will save me!” Then the waters begin to cover the roof he’s standing on, threatening to sweep him away in their fury.
At the very last moment, when he can barely keep his feet, standing on his toes, a helicopter swoops in to pluck him out of danger, but he says, “Thank you for your effort, but God will save me.”
When the helicopter leaves, the man inevitably drowns, and when he arrives at the Pearly Gates, he asks God why He never came to save him. I think we can all figure out how this ends! God says, “I sent you a truck, boat, and helicopter. I didn’t forsake you. You forsook your intelligence!”
Okay, that’s the Chris Reid paraphrase, but you get the point! We must utilize the Wisdom and intelligence God gave us if we expect to navigate His Assignments. God will Qualify us for the Task He Calls us to, but it is up to us to use His Gifts appropriately to get the job done.
Sampson is in a dangerous position because he thinks his help will come when he needs it, and it will. God is always Faithful. However, He will let us feel the pressure of situations we place ourselves in through our hubris. How else are we ever gonna learn to lean on Him and not our own understanding? Just something to consider as you listen for God’s Call in your life.
Have a Marvelous Monday and Remember, God Always Provides; It’s Up To Us To Recognize & Appreciate His Methods!