PLAYING WITH FIRE
7. Samson replied, “If I were tied up with seven new bowstrings that have not yet been dried, I would become as weak as anyone else.”
8. So the Philistine rulers brought Delilah seven new bowstrings, and she tied Samson up with them.
9. She had hidden some men in one of the inner rooms of her house, and she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” But Samson snapped the bowstrings as a piece of string snaps when it is burned by a fire. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.
Judges 16: 7–9 NLT
Today’s Passage continues the Next Chapter in The Story of Sampson and persists with the Delilah episode. Sampson has fallen into infatuation with this Philistine woman, and despite her feelings for him, she has agreed to betray the Israelite Judge to his enemies, her countrymen.
Now, Delilah may have been coerced into this betrayal, but she didn’t seem to fight it that hard, either. She may have had feelings for Sampson, but her voracious lust for wealth outweighed them. I submit that as much as Sampson was enticed by his sexual desires, Delilah was just as seduced, but it was Greed that wooed her into wrongdoing.
Delilah has been promised an almost inconceivable sum of money for anyone in that era of patriarchal rule, let alone a single woman. Whether she felt anything for Sampson was immaterial because she betrayed him anyway!
However, what struck me about this episode was not really what motivated Sampson and Delilah but what those motivations drove them to do. First, Delilah seduced Sampson into lowering his guard so that she could bind and deliver him into the hands of the Philistines.
Unless Sampson were inordinately stupid, it would have been pretty evident that Delilah was trying to set him up. But what did he do? Did Sampson leap up in anger and destroy her? Did he question her as to why she would betray him or why she would need such sensitive information?
Why else would she have asked how to make him weak to afflict him if she wasn’t interested in seeing it happen? Sure, everyone was interested in how Sampson did what he did. He was a monster to them. He’d killed potentially up to 2000 men and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and damage in today’s market. Of course, the Philistines were looking for a way to stop him.
But for Delilah to be so bold as not even to bother to lie was telling. That meant that she and Sampson were playing a game here. Other than complete ignorance, which we have already debunked given the construction of the wedding riddle, I can see no other reason for Sampson’s compliance in this blatant betrayal. That is the only explanation for what he allows in this Passage.
Sampson’s response proves this. He didn’t get mad and strike out at her or even leave out of frustration over her recognizable treachery. He simply lied. Sampson was no fool. Otherwise, he’d have been captured long ago.
He knew what would happen if he were caught slipping. But what Sampson did was only eclipsed in this Game by Delilah’s reaction. She actually had men hiding IN HER HOUSE with her and Sampson so that as soon as she’d bound him, they would rush in to take him! She didn’t even bother to have them wait outside!
The timing of the attack would have been enough warning that there was treachery afoot, but even if it weren’t, Sampson would have woken up bound with the very items he indicated were his weaknesses. What other proof did he need?
But did Sampson leave? No! He stayed with a woman who was clearly out to see him humbled, and we’ll see in Tomorrow’s Passage what happened next. Until then, consider this.
Sampson knew well the danger of remaining with Delilah but decided to stay anyway. He understood the threat a refused to remove himself from it. He courted death to assuage his lusts. Seems insane, right? But that is the same thing we do when we are tempted by sin and still give in to it!
We look at Sampson’s foolish actions in Today’s Passage and can clearly see his mistake, but when it comes to our own lives, we can’t seem to see past our own noses! When obvious temptation comes, we flirt with it like Sampson with a harlot.
Then when we give in and have to scramble not to be overcome by it, we act like we pulled off some kind of miracle when it was our own willfulness and Pride that put us there in the first place! We act like we escaped by the skin of our teeth, then put our heads right back under the blade!
When the guillotine falls again, and we yank our heads out in the nick of time once more, we seem to think we’re triumphant, not realizing that we can never achieve victory because we’re giving our back to our enemy! And if you think he’ll hesitate for even a second to stab us in it, you’re the fool here.
When we fall to or court temptation, we give the enemy all the opportunity he’ll even need to destroy us. Even if we escape unscathed, it is only because of Grace! And God will not protect us forever when we throw His defense away as if it were nothing more than a sheer silken garment.
God gives us discernment for a reason, and He expects us to use it! So, when we see sin and play the kinds of games Sampson is playing, we can expect the same results. I’ve said before, The Story of Sampson is a Cautionary Tale. It illustrates how not to act when God Calls you to an assignment. Do not mirror Sampson, or you’ll end up just like he did; in too deep with no way out!
Have a Terrific Tuesday And Remember, When You Play With Fire, You’re Likely To Get Burnt!