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Samson: He Deliberately Played with Sin
Scripture: Judges 16:1-30; Genesis 3:1; Genesis 3:6...
Track 5 of 5 in the The Weight of the World series
Running time: 56 minutes, 01 seconds.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Israel enjoyed 20 years of peace while Samson judged Israel after he defeated 1,000 Philistines all by himself. With an army of 3,000 Israelites looking on, Samson slaughtered the Philistines at Lehi and there seemed to be a period of time when the Philistines left Israel alone. The problem wasn't the Philistines leaving the Israelites alone; it was Samson staying away from the Philistines. Samson's earlier problems came about because he made some bad choices concerning a certain woman. In Chapter 16, Samson will repeat the same mistake with much deadlier consequences.

We have to remember that Israel as a nation is very weak. They live in a land God gave to them but many of the tribes didn't really occupy the land, they just lived in it. In fact, all the major fortified cities were inhabited by their enemies. The nation of Israel lived in the hill country and because they didn't destroy the enemies the way God told them to, they lived a very tough life always pestered by the nations God promised them they would conquer.

What about us, how many times has God promised in his scriptures the victory we have been promised over the sins that plague us only to find our sins coming back to oppress us over and over again? Jesus died so we can be set free from the power of sin only to allow sins power to over take us. It isn't because God lied or wasn't powerful enough, in most cases, we didn't follow God' ways or listen to his teachings and went down our own path. We allowed temptation to get the best of us and deliberately played with sin.

Why is it so easy to give into temptation? There are some facts about temptation that we have to be keenly aware of. It is not something we should ever mess with. In fact, we need to do all we can and use every weapon possible to resist the temptations of the devil.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

Temptation is part of a crafty plan that appeals to our natural desires in attempt to separate us from God.

Temptation is an invitation to live a self-serving life that leads to rebellion against God.

Temptation feeds off our own tendency toward self-reliance.

When you find yourself being tempted, how do you resist the plan, the invitation, the inner feeding off your own tendencies?

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

First, we must realize that temptation in itself is not a sin. We do not sin until we give into the temptation. To resist temptation, we must (1) pray for strength to resist, (2) run, sometimes literally, and (3) say no when confronted with what we know is wrong.

But all this rests upon the assumption that we recognize what is happening is a temptation situation. Resistance begins with being aware of temptation when it strikes. Too many Christians aren't even aware they are in danger and when the serpent strikes, they are easy prey. The easiest are those who wonder into danger or worse, deliberately go into temptations territory. That is the life of Samson. He was a man, even though he had a heart for God, also had a desire to play with temptation.

In Weight Watchers, the way they teach you how to resist the temptation to over eat is having a plan for the day. When I plan out what I plan to eat for the entire day and record it carefully, I find I lose the most weight in a week and I can resist the temptation to over eat because I have already decided what I want to do especially if I find myself in situations I can't control very well like going to other people's houses for dinner, going out to dinner, etc.

The same is true with the temptation to sin. How many of you have a plan to resist temptation when it strikes you, and it will? What is your plan for success?

Ask God in earnest prayer to help you stay away from people, places, and situations that may tempt you.

Memorize and meditate on portions of Scripture that combat your specific weaknesses. At the root of most temptation is a real need or desire that God can fill, but we must trust in his timing.

Find another believer with whom you can openly share your struggles, and call this person for help when temptation strikes. Judges 16:1-2 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. The people of Gaza were told, "Samson is here!" So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, "At dawn we'll kill him." But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

When one reads this short passage about Samson, there is some stunning things that are written here. Unless one really knows what is going on, it is hard to deeply comprehend and appreciate the details. Someone tell me in their own words what took place? Tell me about his temptation? Tell me about his enemies? Tell me about his strength? What is the point to all this?

Judges 16:4-5 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, "See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver."

Delilah is from the area that is very near to where Samson lived. The Valley of Sorek was very well known for the grapes grown there for making wine in the area. Two points about this, here he is playing with two very serious problems, as a Nazarite, he wasn't suppose to drink wine nor was he to mess with women who were not from his own people. Delilah fits both those prohibitions. And again, he falls in love with her, a woman he really had no business being with.

Something more important to note, the name Delilah means "flirtatious" or "devotee". Most scholars believe that her name is a designation suggesting that she was a religious prostitute in one of the Philistine temples to Dagon. The question I have to ask is how did Samson meet Delilah? Did he go where she was working, in a pagan temple or did she come after him? Here is another question to ponder, when Samson married his first wife, who married them? What kind of a wedding was it, a pagan wedding or a Jewish wedding? Samson seemed to be willing to give up his religious heritage to have his way with the women he loved.

How much did Delilah really love Samson? Notice the difference between the means of motivation between Samson's first wife and Delilah to get them to betray Samson? How are they different and why? What might this tell us about the two women, especially Delilah?

Judges 16:6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued."

Now guys, who is willing to share with the class the most stupid question a girl ever asked of you while you were on a date? If you were Samson, what must have gone through your mind when asked this question by a Philistine religious prostitute?

The Three False Secrets

The question one has to ask is why Samson would allow himself to go through this situation again knowing that Delilah is really out there trying to betray him. Is he that blind and stupid to what Delilah is up to or is there something else going on?

First False Secret: Judges 16:7 Samson answered her, "If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I'll become as weak as any other man."

Judges 16:8-9 Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh thongs that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. With men hidden in the room, she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" But he snapped the thongs as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.

Did Delilah trust that Samson would really tell her the truth? Why? How come Samson didn't kill the men waiting to kill him? He didn't know they were there. They only watched to see if he really was weak. They weren't taking any chances. What lessons were learned here by Samson? By Delilah?

Second False Secret: Judges 16:11 He said, "If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I'll become as weak as any other man."

Judges 16:12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

Now wait a minute, where have we heard this false secret before? When was the last time this was tried? What was the result?

Third False Secret: Judges 16:13 He replied, "If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I'll become as weak as any other man."

This secret gives us some idea what Samson's hair looked like. I always wondered how a man who never cut his hair could keep his hair up and out of the way. We see here that he kept his hair weaved in seven braids. This secret is much different than the other two. This secret begins to reveal the true identity to where his strength lives. He shares with Delilah that his hair has something to do with his strength.

Judges 16:13-14 So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric and tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

Guys, has your wife or kids ever tried to do something funny or dastardly to you while you slept? Were they successful? How was it that Samson had all this happen to him and he never noticed it was going on while he slept? He could have been in a drunken stupor or he could have been drugged.

Why is Samson so incapable of catching on to what is happening around him with Delilah?

Scriptures state that Delilah started to nag him and she continued until she nagged him to death. Why he didn't leave no one really knows, but he gives in and tells her his real secret. If his hair is ever cut off, he will be powerless. She knew then that he actually told her his secret and she invited the Philistine rulers back.

Judges 16:18-19 So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him.

Here is a scene where the betrayer acts like a friend but is really an enemy. The writer here not only records a tragic scene, but also prophesied about time to come when a so called friend will betray a friend for silver. Just as Delilah took the silver and handed over Samson who was sleeping on her lap, so did Judas take the silver as he gave Jesus a kiss. Both victims are willing subjects; the first victim is willing to play with betrayal in order to please himself while the second victim willingly was betrayed to sacrifice himself for others.

Why did Samson allow Delilah to attempt to bind him up all those times? Why did Samson play with all this temptation to eventually betray his God by revealing his secret, because he thought he himself could play with temptation and not be affected by it? In reality, he had no control and the temptations he liked to play with only ended up playing him and brought him to disaster. Temptations path leads to destruction and once you are on that path, Delilah will call out to you and nag at you until she wins and you sin.

Judges 16:21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison.

Often it is the weaknesses that we have that get crushed when we fall. In Samson's case, it was his eyes that got him in a lot of trouble and it was his eyes he lost when he betrayed God and his secret. The good news is Samson comes back to God and prays to God to help him defeat the enemy one more time. Samson was brought out to be used as sport in the great temple of Dagon and with his renewed strength, was able to pull down the two main pillars he was chained to and killed everyone who attended the spectacle including himself.

Judges 16:29-30 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

If you are a person who likes to play with temptation or think that you are stronger than temptation, beware and learn from Samson. The voice of Delilah is very strong and inviting, flee from her and run as fast as you can toward God to keep you safe from the sins she invites you to participate in.