OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE
10. Afterward Delilah said to him, “You’ve been making fun of me and telling me lies! Now please tell me how you can be tied up securely.”
11. Samson replied, “If I were tied up with brand-new ropes that had never been used, I would become as weak as anyone else.”
12. So Delilah took new ropes and tied him up with them. The men were hiding in the inner room as before, and again Delilah cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” But again Samson snapped the ropes from his arms as if they were thread.
Judges 16: 10–12 NLT
Today’s Passage continues on with The Story of Sampson, and his Delilah episode, in which Sampson is confronted with his most challenging obstacle yet, his own roiling lust! Okay, I know that’s always been his issue, but it’s really placing him in some pretty gnarly situations at this point.
Sampson has fallen for another Philistine woman with predictable results. She’s already tried to betray him once, and in Today’s Passage, she does so again. The first time, Sampson simply lied to Delilah, telling her he could be bound using new bowstrings, causing him to lose his strength and become like any other man.
The same evening, he told her, Delilah immediately bound him with the items he’d indicated and alerted the men she’d hidden in her closet to capture him. It didn’t work. Sampson lied, and Delilah complained about his treatment. She asked him again to tell her the secret of his great strength.
This time Sampson told her that if he was bound with new ropes that had never been used, he’d become just like any other man. Well, predictably, Delilah acquired new rope, tied Sampson with them, and rallied the Philistines hiding in her closet to take him.
In a repeat of the first incident, Sampson flexes his muscles and sheds the ropes as if they were mere strands of thread. He’s lied once more, telling Delilah falsehoods to avoid exposing his most crucial secret; the source of his Power.
In his attempt to fulfill both his lusts and his responsibilities, Sampson finds himself in a position of his own creation that he may be unable to find his way out of. Sampson could easily stand up, walk out, and be utterly free of any danger from either Delilah or the Philistines, but he does not.
Like us, Sampson is his worst enemy, his actions against himself even eclipsing those of the hated Philistines. He holds his own Fate in his hands, yet he refuses to make the decision that will lead him to Victory. Instead, Sampson chooses to follow his desires, leading him into Hell, which brings us to Today’s Lesson.
God is Awesome, and part of what makes Him so is that He Created us with the decided privilege of Free Will. God has a Will of His own that He wants us to live out, but He gives us a choice. We can seek His Will and do what He asks of us, fulfilling His Purpose for our lives, or we can do what we want to and completely ignore His Plan. I think you can guess what kind of results the latter will bring about.
Sampson had every opportunity to escape what was obviously a hazardous situation. Still, he willfully chose to remain with a woman he knew for a fact was trying to betray him. Why do we do this? Why do we see danger and think we can survive it?
This is a regular human occurrence! People know what is right, but then they see the path diverge and want to see where it goes, even if they know there is danger awaiting them. We apparently believe that we can find our way back without any indication as to that fact.
When we look at The Story of Sampson, his mistakes are so glaring there is no way we can miss them. But apply the same scrutiny to your own lives, and we overlook them completely! That is Today’s Lesson! Do not ignore the sequoia limb in your eye, trying to get the sawdust out of someone else’s. And don’t neglect to recognize the danger you face by diverging from God’s Will.
Many of us are inherently drawn to things we find dangerous; they intrigue us, challenging us to take on more vulnerability and risk than would be wise. Yet we immediately recognize the threat through God’s Discernment and still choose to run headlong into it, believing somehow, we will emerge unscathed. We will not!
There is always a cost to diverging from God’s Will for your life, but that does not mean He will not allow you to do it. Free Will, remember? We can do whatever we want, but it is our obedience through our willful desires that proves our Love for God.
After this era of Judges, the first King of Israel found this out the hard way, another cautionary tale. King Saul was told, “Obedience is better than sacrifice,” and the same holds true for Sampson and for us today!
God wants our compliance more than He wants our Gifts. He has a Plan for each of us, and when we go after our desires, we may be killing the opportunities for Salvation for the people He’s sent us to reach! Just a thought for the next time you see danger and run into it. Just like Sampson, the next time, you may not be able to make it out!
Have a Wonder Inducing Wednesday, And Remember, Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice!