Judges 16:17 – That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
I have often thought about the story of Samson and Delilah. I ask myself, did God leave Samson high and dry? Did God let Samson down? Did God forsake Samson, when he needed him most? God delivered Samson so many times, but this particular time God did not. What kind of God would do that? Yes, Samson was a sinner, yes, Samson had a weakness for women. But God had been using Samson, he was a Nazarite to God. Was his hair really that important? What was the point of God’s deliverance all the years, if he was just going to let him down at the end? Do we have only a certain number of deliverances that we can use up, a bit like a cat with 9 lives? Did he run out of credit with God? Absolutely not. Samson did not exhaust God’s willingness or capacity to deliver him. 2 Corinthians 1:10 – Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.
But why did the Spirit depart from him? A good place to start in unraveling this question is in Hebrews 11. After all Hebrews 11 is what gives us a clue that Samson was a great man of faith. His name is etched alongside men like Abraham and Moses! Hebrews 11:32 – And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets. So Samson had great faith, but this is not always obvious from reading Judges 13 – 16. Samson is a famous character of the Bible, but he is often ridiculed, he makes us holier-than-thou people feel justified, he makes us feel good about ourselves at Samson’s expense. Samson is not a joke in heaven today. He is a great man of faith. Today we will learn the most important lesson you could possibly learn from Samson’s life. We will see just how important faith is.
Immediately after Samson’s mention in Hebrews, we read a little more about him, and this is what we can easily miss. Hebrews 11:33,34 – Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. It goes on. It says the world was not worthy of people like Samson. It was by faith Samson won his victories. It was by faith that he caught the foxes and turned them loose in the Philistine fields, it was by faith that he picked up the jawbone of the ass, it was by faith that he drank of the water from the jawbone, it was by faith that he carried the gates of Gaza all the way to the top of Mount Hebron. But then Delilah happened. And the story of Samson and Delilah is the most crucial one to learn from. Delilah was able to achieve something that the entire Philistine army could not.
The biggest trick the Devil will pull will be to make you voluntarily surrender your faith. The devil cannot touch you, the Bible says that in 1 John 5. The Philistines shouted at Samson. But they did not harm him in the slightest until after his head was shaved by Delilah and the Spirit departed. In much the same way, Balaam could not curse Israel. He tried to, he wanted to, but he simply could not. This was because they were blessed by God. If God has blessed someone, noone else can do anything about it. But Balaam, in the madness of greed, figured that he could cause the Israelites to surrender their blessing by committing fornication and worshiping idols. He let them bring the curse upon themselves. It is an age old trick of the enemy. The Philistines could never beat Samson. After all, who can stand before the Spirit of the Lord? He made a mockery of them. He was so emboldened by his faith that he could walk right into the very stronghold of the Philistines in Gaza. And then he walked out. The Philistines ran out of ideas. They did not know where his great strength lay, a bit like the world does not know where our great strength lies. The world did not know, did not comprehend, did not receive Jesus. The carnal man cannot understand the things of the spirit. Samson’s great strength lay in his faith in God, but he had started to trust in his vow, he started to trust in his self righteousness, he started to have faith in himself rather than God. What a warning for us today. And Delilah was able to exploit that, Delilah was able to make him deny and surrender his faith in God.
We are all Samsons. And we will all spend time in the valley of Sorek for testing. Delilah will test us. And it is God who is ultimately trying us. God uses Satan to purify us. God is above all. He will reveal what is truly in us in this life. This is what our life is about. Delilah represents Mystery Babylon, she represents Jezebel, she represents the strange woman of Proverbs. These all represent false religion. Through looking at these characters, we understand how deceitful false religion is. False churches, false Christianity, despite masquerading to the contrary. Satan appears as an angel of light, so do his ministers, he knows how to make us fall, he knows how to present sin to us. We may not have ever been with a strange woman physically, and we may feel pretty righteous, spiritual and dignified about that. But the odds are, you have been and will be with the strange woman spiritually. And this is worse than any physical sin you may fall into. She will court you. She will entice you. She will seduce you. John said in 1 John, these things have I written concerning them that seduce you.
Delilah is a faith killer. She causes you deny your faith. To deny Jesus. To deny his word. To deny his Holy Spirit. To deny his power. To deny his strength. Delilah appeals to our eyes, our lusts, our flesh. She is worldly religion, which is all about what I can do, as compared to true Christianity, which is about what he has done. Our strength is in our faith. Simple faith. Childlike faith. Denying our faith, denying the Lord Jesus Christ, will cost us the power of the Spirit. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. Faith and God’s word are inextricably linked. You cannot have one without the other, and neither is independent of the other. Will you love Delilah? She has a lot to offer, she has a lot of appeal to your flesh, to your carnal understanding, to your physical needs. Jesus said, I am the way. True Christianity is following the Lord Jesus Christ. It is following a person. It is faith in Christ.
But Delilah will destroy that faith if you love her. If you give yourself to her. When we become religious we become reliant on what we are doing, rather than what God has done. It is vain and deceitful. We quickly become self righteous. Self righteousness denies Christ, it exalts ourselves over himself. We become independent. We become confident in what we are doing, rather than confident in God. Confidence in any other than God is overconfidence. I was thinking about what Samson said, when he told her all of his heart, and said that his strength laid in his hair. This was in fact wrong. His strength was not in his hair at all. His hair was just hair. But Samson had become self-righteous. But his self righteousness was worthless!!! Just like ours is. The Bible says our ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Samson had already broken his Nazarite vow. James says, If you offend in one point, you offend in all. Jesus said, Not one jot nor tittle will pass from the law till all be fulfilled. The Bible expressly warns against making our boast of the law in Romans 3. Noone can keep the law, noone has kept the law, except the Lord Jesus Christ. Samson’s hair was not the secret of his great strength. It was his faith in God that was his strength, he only did his great exploits when the Spirit of God came upon him.
Delilah made Samson surrender his faith. He denied Christ. The Bible says that if we deny Christ, he will deny us. And this is why the Spirit departed. He surrendered his faith. He laid it down voluntarily. He believed that his keeping of the vow was the reason he was strong. But it wasn’t. Because he didn’t keep his vow. He was justifying himself, rather than being justified by Christ. And he surrendered his faith. 1 Timothy 1:19 – Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck. Samson made a shipwreck of his life. It is because he sincerely believed that his strength was in his hair, and not in his faith in God. It was God that clave the jawbone, his hair did not. It was God that provided the jawbone in the first place with which he slew a thousand Philistines. It was the Spirit of the Lord that enabled him to tear the lion in half. He denied the source of his own strength to Delilah. God used Delilah to reveal what was in Samson’s heart. His hair, his vow was worthless. Our vows to God are worthless. We will break them. If you want to be a Nazarite, do it out of love for God, not to be saved. Not to feel justified, and better than everyone else. Our self righteousness is so deceitful.
But there is hope. This is not the end of the story. Samson was truly saved. He had drifted from God. He became dependent on himself, rather than God. We can be saved and deny Christ. Peter did. He denied him thrice. There was hope for Peter, there was hope for Samson. Our God is patient. Longsuffering. Of great mercy. And when we are saved Christ is in us. Therefore we will win in the end. The Bible says faithful is he that calleth you who also will do it. God allowed what happened to Samson. It is hard to understand, but the fiery trials of life are what purifies us, which burns the dross of sin from us. Samson would be a changed man. They put Samson’s eyes out, and in turn really did him a favor, as his eyes were what had gotten him into so much trouble with women. He ground corn in the prison house. He was working for the Philistines. But God was working in his life. Samson was remembering. The Lord had blessed him as a child. He remembered the simplicity of childlike faith. He did not blame God. God was working repentance and faith in Samson’s life. Sometimes God will let us reap what we sow. Samson reaped what he sowed. He sowed to the flesh, and of the flesh reaped corruption. We cannot expect to avoid consequences of our sin. But God does not leave us there. His hair began to grow back. This time he would be a true Nazarite. He would be a Nazarite in his heart. He re-consecrated himself to God. He finally died to himself. He died to the world. And in his death, Samson achieved more than what he achieved in his whole life. He was victorious in his death.
What will you do with this? Are you in the arms of Delilah at the moment? The Bible says in Proverbs 5:3-5, For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. The Bible says, when Samson saw her. This what got her into trouble. Unless you have spiritual eyes, your carnal eyes will lead you into trouble. She may have great beauty. She may be attractive. She will be irresistible to your flesh. You need the grace and power of God to resist her. Delilah will bring you low. Is your faith in your religion, your denomination, your self-righteousness, your worthiness, your good works, your vows? Is your boast in yourself, or in God? Does your religion make you deny Christ? If you go to church, is your church building your faith in Christ, and Christ alone? Because that is what church is meant to do. Our great strength, as Samson’s, lies in our faith. And it was his faith in God that was his great strength. He had faith in his vows, in his hair, but this was misplaced faith. It is faith in God that counts. It is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone that will save you. Believing in yourself is a deceitful lie. Look where Samson’s belief in himself got him. And it was faith in God that saved him. We may laugh at Samson,but end up being even more foolish than he was, because we have his life to learn from and yet still make the same mistakes he did. Samson won the victory in his death, and you will win the victory when you die to yourself and put your faith in Christ. What will your story be?