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Samson: A Slave to His Desires
Scripture: Proverbs 10:24; Philippians 1:22-24; Jam...
Track 3 of 5 in the The Weight of the World series
Running time: 1 hour, 03 minutes, 40 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.

It is amazing to me at the lengths people will go to do the things they purpose in their heart to do. Some people call that behavior stubborn, pig headed or obstinate. Once these people get something in their heads, they go for it with little regard to the consequences that await them. In some cases, their lusts are addictions even though most would totally disagree they are addicted to their desires. But their behavior is totally enslaved to the desires that run through their minds.

This kind of behavior is very dangerous. In fact, God warns the church to be careful with this kind of behavior because it is very powerful and it can lead many to sin and can ruin many souls in the process. It makes no difference what the desire is; uncontrolled desire with the intent to satisfy it no matter what is wrong.

When you hear the word "Lust", what images come to your mind? Why is that?
Is there a difference between deep desire and lust? How?

Proverbs 10:24 What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted.

Philippians 1:22-24 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

We do see in scripture that deep desires, cravings and maybe even lusts for things that are righteous to be good and honorable things. What makes the desires, cravings or lusts wrong are what the person is craving for. The cravings can lead a person into traps, snares and evil intentions of people that only want to harm and destroy. Yet for some reason, some Christians allow themselves to be lured into sinful acts by the uncontrolled desires they allow to run unchecked in their lives.

James 1:14-15 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Such was the case with Samson. Here was a man who was so gifted by God but who had some deep weaknesses. He had the Holy Spirit working in his life but he allowed other influences to invade his mind that led him to do some pretty foolish things. The mind is the starting place when it comes to control over your lusts and desires. Paul writes it very clearly in Romans:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

To be honest, the spiritual battle is fought in your mind, at least that is where it starts. Here in Romans 12 Paul talks about changing your behavior patterns by renewing your mind. You are what you think and many times what you think is directly affected by what you see.

1 John 2:16-17 For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

For Samson all his problems started when he first saw a woman from Timnah. His eyes feasted upon a woman he never met, never talked to and right away because of what he saw, he wanted her and instructed his father to make arrangements so he could marry her. Forget she was a Philistine, forget her people were enemies of Israel and God, forget she was a pagan and forget the wisdom of his parents, he wanted her anyway based on his physical desires and he was going to have her no matter what.

Judges 14:10-14 Now his father went down to see the woman. And Samson made a feast there, as was customary for bridegrooms. When he appeared, he was given thirty companions.

The writer of Judges is not interested in all the marriage details. He writes about the important points. Obviously Manoah and Samson are there for a wedding feast. Not only did Samson make his dad go through the awful embarrassment of setting up a meeting between his son and a Philistine woman so they could date, but now we see this honorable father having to make arrangements for a wedding. Unlike today where it is the responsibility of the parents of the bride to throw the wedding, back then, it was the parents of the groom that threw the wedding feast.

Even though the details of the wedding arrangements are not spelled out in this passage, what do you think it was like to be Manoah? What would it been like to be him and have to make the arrangements?

Everything that is going on in this event is written in such a way that the average Hebrew reader would know exactly what was happening. You and I are not disgusted by what we are reading because we don't understand the middle eastern culture. But a Hebrew person would see this as something unthinkable. In fact, it would almost seem unnatural. The event itself is unnatural because a respectable Hebrew wouldn't be socializing with the Philistines let alone marrying one.

If you were the neighbors to the Samsonites, what would you be thinking about your neighbors? Maybe you are good friends, what would your conversations be like with them about this marriage?

How important is respect to you? Is your family name something to protect? Have you taught your kids or said something to them about protecting the family name? How about family names like Hitler, Stalin, Manson?

I find it interesting that there is no mention of the wedding itself. Who married them? Was it a Philistine wedding or a Hebrew wedding? All we know is Samson married the woman and now the feast has started. Again, we don't even know the name of Samson's wife. It's not important. The focus is on the stupid actions of Samson, no one else.

The feast is a 7 day event. Not only did Manoah have to be there, he had to be there for 7 days and he had to pay for the feast also. I also find it interesting that there is no mention of his mother either. We see the bride's parents there but there is no mention of his parents, only his father who had to be there to pay the bill. Verse 11 tells us a lot in a very short sentence.

To understand what this is all about, we need to turn to Matthew 9. Jesus talks about these people.

Matthew 9:14-15 Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

Who are these champions or "children of the bride chamber"? They are the friends of the bridegroom who stay with the groom all throughout the feast. They celebrate with him and are his closest companions. In a way they are like the guys who stand up with the groom on his side of the stage.

Why is Samson given 30 champions? 1) because he didn't have any friends that came with him to the wedding 2) since dad was paying for everything, as many as possible could come on the old man's tab and 3) Samson was an enemy and dangerous and 30 men seemed to be a good number to keep an eye on him.

How about you? Have you ever ventured into something where even your friends didn't want to participate with you in it? Maybe it was not a good deal and your friends warned you about it but you were convinced it was the right thing? Maybe it was a relationship you were in and those close to you didn't see it as good and stayed away? Have you ever done something you wanted to do but found yourself doing it alone? How fun is that? I think this is a little of what Samson was experiencing.

Judges 14:12-14 Let me tell you a riddle," Samson said to them. "If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. If you can't tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes." "Tell us your riddle," they said. "Let's hear it." He replied, "Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet." For three days they could not give the answer.

Now guys, when you are together with the boys, what are some of the things men do together that are men things? Tell jokes.

This is what is going on. During this seven day feast there would be a place for the men to stay and a place for the women to stay. Most likely the bride and her group would stay in the bride's home. The marriage is not final until the relationship is consummated. That has not happened yet. So here we have a scene where all the men are together. Like jokes today, riddles are very popular in the middle eastern cultures as it was back with Samson. To those of us who read the earlier portion of Samson's life, we know what the riddle is all about, the honey found in the carcass of the lion Samson killed with his bare hands.

What is wrong with this riddle? What does this riddle tell us about Samson for using it? When he ate the honey, he defiled himself and his parents because he was a Nazarite. By using this riddle, he plays down the seriousness of his disobedience to God.

Like the normal male who is too high on himself, the stakes of the riddle are pretty high. He offers as a prize a new set of clothes for each of his champions. Remember, these men are Philistines. Samson is in love with the woman, not the Philistines. He enters into this riddle not only as entertainment but also as a way to exploit them. He doesn't care for these men and they aren't his friends. It is a way to take advantage of them because they are pagans and he has the Holy Spirit working in him.

Judges 14:15-17 On the fourth day, they said to Samson's wife, "Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father's household to death. Did you invite us here to rob us?" Then Samson's wife threw herself on him, sobbing, "You hate me! You don't really love me. You've given my people a riddle, but you haven't told me the answer." "I haven't even explained it to my father or mother," he replied, "so why should I explain it to you?" She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

What major no-no mistake did Samson just make? Now men, what are the major rules in dealing with a nagging wife? Do you think the woman loved Samson? What does this tell you about the nature of the Philistines? They were very ruthless people, so ruthless that they would consider burning a whole family to death just to not have to pay off a bet.

Judges 14:18-20 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him, "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" Samson said to them, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle." Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of their belongings and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he went up to his father's house. And Samson's wife was given to the friend who had attended him at his wedding.

How did Samson know his wife told them the answer to the riddle? If you remember, the event Samson was referring to was an unnatural event so they never would have guessed it. They had to be told by his wife. I think it is interesting that the Holy Spirit is involved in the rage of Samson while he goes off and kills 30 Philistines to pay off his debt. Is God approving such behavior or is there something else? I think it is so God can gain an opportunity to begin to fight against this terrible group of people. It is clear that the Spirit of God was working in this tragic chapter in order to teach the Israelites the following things:

The Philistines did not honor marriage
The Philistines were a vicious and ruthless people and were no friends they needed to be associated with
The Philistines relied on falsehoods and treachery to achieve their objectives

But the supreme tragedy of the chapter is that Samson learned nothing from his dealings with the Philistines. He will go right on trusting that pagan people. This had to be a sad day for his parents not only to see their son humiliated, but that he didn't learn his lesson and will make even more stupid mistakes with greater consequences.