Judges 16QUESTION: Delilah and Blindness - 1ANSWER:Judges 16 – Part 1
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
Nathan Shepherd leaned against the edge of the stage before the congregation of the Dive Chapel in Candle Key, Florida. A young girl named Courtney Paine had just given the testimony of her becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. Courtney, an intern at Reef Restoration Ministries, was raised as an atheist. Her mother, an attorney, had taken six “separation of church and state” cases to the Ohio Supreme Court.
“Courtney, we praise God for your exuberance for Jesus and your hunger for His word. I am blown away by your new faith. Thanks for sharing with us this morning. I’m amazed at the efforts people in your life have made to try to make you anti-Jesus. Bless you, girl.
“I sure hope all of you are enjoying this study of the book of Judges as much as I am. We are in Judges 16, continuing the saga of Samson. Can you turn there now if you haven’t already?
“Now, I think most of us have seen a different side of Samson in this study. The commonly-held, historical Samson is some kind of Incredible Hulk for God. I think we’ve seen him to be a spoiled brat, rock star-acting, normal-sized guy. Well, all of Samson’s preening, arrogance and compromise comes to a head in Judges 16.
“The end of chapter 15 says, ‘He judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines.’ Note what it does not say. It does NOT say that he delivered Israel from the Philistine oppression. Remember back in chapter 13, verse 5, when Jesus appeared to Samson’s mom? He told her that her son would ‘begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.’ And so, we see, he has. But mark that. The Word of Jesus in right on!
“In verses 1 through 3 of chapter 16, there is a compelling passage. Samson goes to Gaza and sees a hooker that he desires and ‘went in to her.’ There are many Bible scholars who read the end of chapter 15 and the beginning of 16 to say that Samson spent twenty years not being enticed by women. I don’t see it that way. He certainly could have spent those years dedicated to God and his Nazirite vow and steered clear of hookers and strippers and floozies, but that does not appear to be in his character.
“Anyway, the men of Gaza find out he’s in with the hooker and they think they’ve got him trapped. They stake out an ambush to kill him in the morning. But Samson gets up and leaves at midnight. On his way out, he rips the gates and posts from the city and carries them on his shoulders to a distant hill. “Now, did you catch that? Samson spent the night with a prostitute, but was still able to use his God-given, out-of-this-world strength. Hmmm. As we’ll see, God will not be stopped. Man cannot kill God’s conqueror or judge until God allows it to happen.
“So now we come to Delilah. Remember how we first met Samson? ‘Samson went down and saw a woman.’ Here we go again. Verse 4 says that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, and her name was Delilah. Now, every indication we have is that Delilah was a great looking gal. Samson is a ladies man. All through his life he sidles up to women. But this one, Delilah, catches his eye more than any other. She has power over him with her feminine wiles. Our boy is in trouble and he doesn’t even know it.
“Delilah may be beautiful, but she has no class. Watch what happens when money comes into the picture, she sells out Big Sam.
“Here comes the kicker in verse 5. The big dog rulers of the Philistines said to Delilah, ‘Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him.’
“Let’s stop right there. Again, we see evidence from the text that Samson wasn’t a huge, Neanderthal, brute of a man. The Philistines continually wonder where he gets his strength. But the word I want to zero in on is ‘entice’. Put a finger in your Bible to mark your place. Turn back to James in the New Testament. It’s back past all of Galatians, Ephesians, even Hebrews. Way back.”
The pages turning throughout the old warehouse sounded a lot like a rushing wind. An older lady in the congregation once said it was like the sound of angel’s wings.
“James 1, starting at verse 14. This is the cycle of sin in all of our lives. It says, ‘But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.’ Did you catch that? ‘Enticed.’ Going on with verse 15, ‘Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.’ Watch what is going to happen back in Judges.Judges 16 – Read Part 2!