The Bible Speaks
“He loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.” Judges 16:4b
One of the many reasons that I know the Bible is God’s word and not man’s is that it is so honest and candid when it comes to describing its “heroes.” The story of Samson is a case in point. This mighty judge and deliverer of God’s people was filled with weakness, and it showed up most glaringly when it came to his love for the ladies. Samson was a “ladies man;” a James Bond of the 12th century B.C. However, unlike Bond, his passion for women got him into trouble and not vice versa. A quick overview of his life will explain.
God used Samson to deliver his people from Philistine oppression through mighty feats of strength. Samson alone killed thousands of Philistines (Judges 14-16) and brought a renewed freedom to Israel, but he also got in much trouble that could have been avoided if he had gotten control of his libido. Samson’s pursuit of women led him down the wrong paths in life and was his eventual undoing. The slippery slope to his death can be seen in three incidents of disobedience to God’s instructions on male and female relationships.
Samson begins by going after physical beauty instead of spiritual character. He “sees” a woman of the Philistines and desires to marry her instead of an Israelite who would share his faith in the only true God. Trouble ensues, and he eventually loses his wife to another. The lesson is not learned, however, as Samson is soon found in another Philistine city where he takes up with a harlot. He is almost trapped and killed, but his great strength delivers him from the jaws of death.
Again, Samson doesn’t profit from the incident, as he winds up loving a women of the Philistines whom he doesn’t bother to marry but just lives with instead. This woman, the infamous Delilah, works her seductive powers upon him, and he confides in her the secret of his great strength. His enemies are then able to capture him, put his eyes out, enslave him and bring him out for mockery and amusement — how tragic, how sad — how totally avoidable! If Samson had followed God’s principles for courtship and marriage, the ending would have been drastically different.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and we see many modern-day Samsons. They are not mighty heroes with supernatural strength, but men [and women] who won’t follow the Lord’s guidelines for relationships. Like Samson, many today are marrying ill-advisedly, engaging in relations outside of marriage and living together without the bonds of matrimony. And, like Samson, they are paying for it with troubles and trials of their own causing.
The Bible speaks of one pathway that always works and works well: chastity, courtship, marriage and fidelity — God’s law for men and women that is time tested and trial proof. Ask anyone who has done it that way; they will wholeheartedly agree it was and is the best of all paths to follow.
The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor of Turner’s Chapel.