Judges 16:1-22 – When We Replace Worshiping God With Worshiping Desire

Posted: September 20, 2017 in Book of Judges
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Judges 16:1-22
Samson & Delilah

In my blogs over these past few years that I have been doing them, you know that my past was ruled with the pursuit of female pleasures. Pursuing it. Maintaining it. Worshiping it. It was my god. That has been well-documented here. So, for today, I am not going to spend a great deal of time rehashing that past. Just know that when I read about Samson and Delilah, I can just so so so see myself. Samson is me and I am Samson. The Samson and Delilah story is my story. You would think that Samson would have caught on to the deceptions of Delilah the second time around, but, geez, he kept letting himself be fooled. Over and over again. Why? Because Samson worshiped passion more than he worshiped God. It was his idol. The passage starts out with his pursuit of passion and it ends with the pursuit of passion causing Samson’s downfall. Let’s read about in Judges 16:1-22:

16 One day Samson went to the Philistine town of Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute. 2 Word soon spread[a] that Samson was there, so the men of Gaza gathered together and waited all night at the town gates. They kept quiet during the night, saying to themselves, “When the light of morning comes, we will kill him.”

3 But Samson stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up, took hold of the doors of the town gate, including the two posts, and lifted them up, bar and all. He put them on his shoulders and carried them all the way to the top of the hill across from Hebron.

4 Some time later Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek. 5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “Entice Samson to tell you what makes him so strong and how he can be overpowered and tied up securely. Then each of us will give you 1,100 pieces[b] of silver.”

6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes you so strong and what it would take to tie you up securely.”

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.

10 Afterward Delilah said to him, “You’ve been making fun of me and telling me lies! Now please tell me how you can be tied up securely.”

11 Samson replied, “If I were tied up with brand-new ropes that had never been used, I would become as weak as anyone else.”

12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him up with them. The men were hiding in the inner room as before, and again Delilah cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” But again Samson snapped the ropes from his arms as if they were thread.

13 Then Delilah said, “You’ve been making fun of me and telling me lies! Now tell me how you can be tied up securely.”

Samson replied, “If you were to weave the seven braids of my hair into the fabric on your loom and tighten it with the loom shuttle, I would become as weak as anyone else.”

So while he slept, Delilah wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric. 14 Then she tightened it with the loom shuttle.[c] Again she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” But Samson woke up, pulled back the loom shuttle, and yanked his hair away from the loom and the fabric.

15 Then Delilah pouted, “How can you tell me, ‘I love you,’ when you don’t share your secrets with me? You’ve made fun of me three times now, and you still haven’t told me what makes you so strong!” 16 She tormented him with her nagging day after day until he was sick to death of it.

17 Finally, Samson shared his secret with her. “My hair has never been cut,” he confessed, “for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else.”

18 Delilah realized he had finally told her the truth, so she sent for the Philistine rulers. “Come back one more time,” she said, “for he has finally told me his secret.” So the Philistine rulers returned with the money in their hands. 19 Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down,[d] and his strength left him.

20 Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!”

When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him.

21 So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison.

22 But before long, his hair began to grow back.

Here, in this passage, we see that Samson was deceived because he wanted to believe Delilah’s lies. Although he could strangle a lion, he could not control his burning lust for women. When the passage opens, he has spent the night with a prostitute. Next, he finds Delilah and his lust for the pleasures of women blinds him, pardon the pun, to who Delilah really was. Delilah was a deceitful woman with honey on her lips and poison in her heart. Cold and calculating, she toyed with Samson, pretending to love him (realizing his lust for the pleasures of women) while looking for personal gain. Four times, Delilah took advantage of him. If he didn’t realize after the first, or second, or third time she fooled him surely he should have understood the situation by the fourth time, right? We think Samson is foolish but how many times do we allow ourselves to be fooled by flattery and give in to temptation and wrong actions and event accepting behaviors that we know to be wrong. Sexual desire can lead us to do many stupid things that we would not ordinarily do or accept things we would not ordinarily accept. How can we keep our desire for sexual pleasure and the acceptance and validation that it may temporarily bring us from deceiving us? First, we must decide in advance what kind of person you will be willing to fall in love with before you allow passion to take over. Second, because most of the time that you will spend with your spouse will be NOT having sex, determine if your lover’s personality, temperament, interests, quirks, habits, etc. are as gratifying to you as the sexual encounters that you desire to have with that person after marriage. Third, take your time. Observe your potential mate over time. Over time, our potential mate will inevitably begin revealing more than just the seductive touches and kisses and their best behavior. Fourth, and most importantly, do they have a relationship with Jesus Christ or are they at least open to talking about Him?

Sexual desire is the most powerful of human urges and it can blind us to many things about our potential mate. Sexual desire without discernment can destroy our lives when we let it rule our lives. I can personally vouch for that. My life has been dominated in the past by the quest for sexual pleasure. I was ruled by the pursuit of it, the thinking of the pursuit of it, and it nearly ruined my life. When I look back on the stupid things that I did, the money I spent, the mistakes with money that I made, and poor moral choices that I had made, it was all in pursuit of obtaining or maintaining access that god I worshiped which was desire.

My momma always said to me when I was a young man and I just blew it off at the time as an old woman just spouting off. However, my mom may have not had a doctoral degree like my dad but she was a wise woman. She always told me that I needed a woman in my life that I could be friends with in the living room just as much or more than I could be friends with her in the bedroom. What that meant was that you spend a hell of a lot more time with the woman in your life NOT having sex than you do having sex so you damn sure better be able to get along with her outside those brief times that you have sexual intercourse. Wise words, mom! Wise words. Elena has told that her mother had a wise saying about that too. Her mom would say don’t accept even one time what you are not willing to put up with the rest of your life. These are wise words, momacita! Wise words. These are things we must get through our heads when we are measuring our success in life by sex and the validation that it brings. We often mistake passion for love, especially when you worship passion and get your personal value from passion. That was Samson’s downfall. He found value and personal validation from the pursuit and conquest of women. He did not find his full value in the Lord. His desire and passion led him to make stupid mistakes and make them over and over again. It is my story as well. It was not until I had been a Christ follower for quite some time that the Holy Spirit finally wrestled and vanquished that demon in my soul.

I am now married to a woman that our marriage is not based on putting up with crap 99% of the time just so we can have that 1% of the time that sex actually takes place. I am friends with her in the living room. We have the same goals in life. We both love the Lord. We both have courtesy for each other. We both forgive quickly. We both allow the other to be themselves. We both don’t require the other one to jump through hoops to be accepted by the other. We are just good friends who enjoy spending time together. Sure, the sex is there and it is good, but it is not the measure of our relationship. Sex is not used as a weapon in our marriage. Our marriage is one that is about loving each other and making each other better as a result of being together. This marriage has been a long-time coming. It took a lifetime of being Samson to figure out that I needed an Elena instead of all the Delilahs that have littered my life’s path. I pray that you have that. I pray that you have honest conversations with your spouse if you do not. If you are single, please, please be discerning about the men you date (if a woman) or the women you date (if a man). Don’t put up with for one minute what you are not willing to put up with for a lifetime. Make sure that the passion that you feel for this one girl or guy of this moment doesn’t blind you to a lifetime of putting up with what you said you would never put up with. Make sure that this girl or this guy is someone that you can be friends with for a lifetime outside the bedroom as much as you can easily be friends with them in the bedroom. You spend a hell of a lot more time in the living room than you do the bedroom. Think with your brain rather than just the passion burning in your loins. Do not let that burning desire make you accept things that are not of God, not good for you, and just plain wrong.

Amen and Amen.

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