Judges 14QUESTION: Samson and Lust - 1ANSWER:Judges 14 – Part 1
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
Pastor Nathan Shepherd stood on the stage in front of his congregation at the Dive Chapel in Candle Key, Florida. The praise band had just racked their instruments. The location of the waterfront warehouse where the church met was just south of Tavernier Creek, on the Florida Bay side of U.S. highway 1. It was unusual for Nathan to address the crowd from up on the stage.
“I’m probably going to get in trouble for this later today, but I’d like to get my wife, Maya, to come up and join me on the stage this morning.”
A beautiful woman with dark skin and a lot of wavy dark hair stood from her seat in the front row. She shook her head as she mounted the steps up to where her husband stood. Maya was a petite five-foot six. She was dressed in faded jeans and gold-colored chamois shirt that buttoned up the front. When she reached Nathan’s side, he put his arm around her waist and kissed her.
“I know you don’t like to get up in front of the church, but I just felt compelled to tell you, in front of everybody, how much I love you. We’ve been married almost twenty-one years and I desire you more now than I did when we first met as sophomores at Stetson University. I love the way you love Jesus, the way you love me, the way you act, the way you look, the way you live, the way you laugh. You complete me and I can’t imagine life without you.”
Maya grinned shyly. She looked down and said, “Thank you, my love. Can I sit down now?”
Nathan chuckled from deep in his gut and nodded.
“Okay, gang, we are in Judges 14 today and one of the reasons I wanted Maya to come up here was that this chapter, more than almost any other in the Bible, speaks to what it means to go about finding a life-long spouse in a Christian, God-following way. It is a negative example. It shows and tells us what NOT to do.
“We want to take a quick look back at the last couple of verses of Judges 13. It says there that Mrs. Manoah bore a son and named him Samson. The boy grew and the LORD blessed him. Then, in verse 25, it says that ‘the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon him.’
“If we remember back to when the Angel of the LORD, Jesus in the Old Testament, appeared to Samson’s mom. He told her that she’d have a son who would be a Nazirite to God all his life and, this is a quote, ‘he would BEGIN to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.’
“First, if we look at Numbers, chapter 6, we see that men may take a Nazirite vow for a period of time. Samson, however, was to be a Nazirite his entire life.
“A Nazirite was to be set aside for God in three specific ways: touch no grapes, let his hair grow, and stay away from anything that had died. Grapes and wine represent the flesh, the things of the world. Letting his hair grow would be an outward sign that he was set aside for God. The dead represent the unclean things of earth – dead, decayed, defiled.
Nathan put his right index finger in his Bible and walked over to the steps, down off the platform, and came around and sat on the edge of the stage.
“I like it better down here. Now, I want to propose something interesting. We’ve all been conditioned to think Samson looked like a muscular giant of a man, right? Well, I think he might have been a normal looking guy. The text over the next few chapters speaks of him walking through the cities of the Philistines without people cowering away from him. And, in chapter 16, the Philistine leaders tell Delilah to ‘find out where his great strength lies.’ If he was huge and muscle-bound wouldn’t it have been obvious to them? Also, from what we’ve seen in Judges so far, God gets the glory from delivering Israel. He doesn’t use geniuses and giants.
“Nope. I think maybe Samson looked a lot more like Tom Hanks than Arnold Schwarzenegger. With his uncut hair he probably looked like Tom Hanks when he was on the island in the movie Castaway.
“Anyway, on to Judges 14. Verse one says, ‘Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman.’ That’s about all we need to know about old Samson. He went down. He saw a woman. When the Spirit of the LORD is on this man, he is unstoppable. But, as we’ll see, he has two main issues. First, he goes down, his focus is continually on the things of the world, not the things of heaven. And, he has a serious, serious lust issue. He likes the ladies. Not the meek, pure Israeli ladies, but the loose, enticing Philistines girls. The old country song, ‘I like women just a little on the trashy side’ speaks rightly of Samson.Judges 14 – Read Part 2!