Judges 14:1 – And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
Today we will be looking at Samson again. There is so much to learn from his life. He is greatly misunderstood. His exploits are so unusual, he lived a very unique, seemingly exciting, yet truly sad life. He was alone. And this is what our lives can be like. Being saved does not mean your problems in life go away. In fact they are likely to increase. Elijah complained to God that he was the last one left. He felt all alone. Romans 11:4 – But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Satan hates believers, they threaten his kingdom, and God will try your faith. Because we are in this world, and this is the place we are born, it’s all we know, we struggle to see beyond this world. This is why it is important to die to yourself. But it is why it is hard. John 12:25 – He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. God will test how much you love the world. And it isn’t easy. It takes faith to surrender our wants and desires in this life. It takes faith to see beyond this life. This world is temporary.
Samson lived a lonely life. He was for the most part separated from the world. He was mostly in the world, but not of the world. But he couldn’t quite let the world go. He was a Nazarite from birth, from before he was born. It was a privilege. But the Nazarite life didn’t feel very privileged. He wasn’t allowed to drink! That’s no fun at all! The world had fun to offer him, fun that couldn’t be had in the drinking-less life of a Nazarite. He was peculiar, as we are in this world. He was a Nazarite from the womb. He wasn’t even born yet, and he was a Nazarite. God gives us all the ability, the freewill, to make choices. Our life is about choices. God gave Adam and Eve a command in Eden, but they were able to make the choice to obey or disobey. People accuse God for all the suffering in the world, but it is not God who is to blame. He didn’t make us a robots, and we are more than happy to exercise our free will whenever it suits us. God wants us to make the choice and commit to have faith in him. He wants us to choose to love him, to follow him, to serve him. He wants us to choose it, rather than force us to be saved. Samson’s life was determined before he had started. But the Bible says, the child grew. He would quickly come to an age where he would have to make some choices himself, and he would have his choices and commitment to God tested. Samson had to own it for himself. He had to make the choice to be a Nazarite himself. Noone can be saved for us. We can hide in the camp of Dan for a long time, as Samson was hidden from the Philistines, but there will come a time when we leave for the vineyards of Timnath, vineyards which will test the reality of our profession.
The Bible says that the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan. Samson was in his comfort zone in Israel. But he had not yet gone beyond the Israel camp. He was in friendly territory. He was not tested yet. The reality of his choice and commitment was not yet tested. Outwardly it all looked fairly good. He put on a good enough performance to even convince himself that it was his keeping of his vows that were the secret of his great strength! God’s plan wasn’t for Samson to just stay in the camp of Dan. There came a time for him to do what God had purposed for him to do. The Bible says, God sought occasion against the Philistines. So Samson went beyond the camp of Dan. He went to Timnath. Philistine country. God wants to use us when we are saved. God will use us. We can be mighty like Samson for God. We can venture to enemy territory. We can break the dominion of our enemy. We can break the power that the devil, the world, the flesh formerly had over us. We can reclaim ground that the enemy has taken. We can reclaim ground that the enemy is now prospering on. But it is hard to keep up a pretense on enemy soil. The Philistine women were beautiful. When we go to enemy territory, we find just that, the enemy. But your enemy will not always appear to be your enemy. This world does not always appear to be our enemy. Satan can appear as an angel of light. Sin would not be nearly as tempting if it was not so inviting, enticing, if it didn’t look soooo good.
Samson was living a life that was largely determined for him, rather than a life that he had chosen and committed to himself. He was not committed. He was not surrendered to God’s will. He was not dead to himself. He wanted to be part of the world. He fell for a Philistine woman. He wanted to get married. He got married. He had a party. His friends were Philistines. The mighty deliverer of Israel, in bed with the Philistines! They called him the son in law of the Timnite, they did not call him, Samson, the judge of Israel. He became so absorbed in the world, that he looked like one of them. The world considered him their own. It took him being wronged by the Philistines to finally start doing what he was meant to do. He did it for revenge. God is sovereign, and he will achieve what he wants to in your life regardless. That is his right, his ability as God. Try fighting it all you want. Samson did as well. Samson was meant to deliver Israel from the Philistines. But Samson’s own will got in the way of this. Philistine women were able to expose the part in his heart that was reserved for the world. He went to Timnath, and instead of delivering Israel from Timnath, he became a Timnite. We can want to do God’s work, but the devil can easily sidetrack us if we stray from his word, wander from his will to our will, if there is part of us that loves the world. Samson was more interested in himself. Get her for me, for she pleaseth me well. This was the evidence that Samson, although a Nazarite outwardly, was not yet a true Nazarite in his heart, in his spirit.
John 1:12,13 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. The will of the man, the will of the flesh cannot save you, it has no power to save. No amount of Christianization can save anyone. You can immerse yourself in the Christian life and not be saved. You can like the Christian culture. The way they do things. It might make you feel good. You can live like a believer and not be saved yourself. You can go to church, you can grow up in a godly home and not be saved. You can appreciate the morals of the Christian faith and live good, and not be saved. As parents you can make your children look and live like believers by teaching them to do all the right things, yet they be not saved inside. This is why self righteousness, this is why emphasis on performance instead of reality is so dangerous. It address the outward. It can never change the inward.
Choices were made for Samson before he was of age to make choices for himself. He had a head start, but quickly set about squandering it. Jephthah was the son of a harlot, he was hated by his brothers, he had a tough start to his life, and yet he was able to overcome his start by the grace of God to be a great deliverer of Israel. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And Samson did finish well, despite how much of a mess he got himself in to. This is because, despite his shortcomings, he was a man of faith. He believed God. God knew his heart. God knew his deep down, which nobody else could see. You can come from a terrible situation, and God can use you mightily. It’s not the situation. It’s the choices you make. It took time for Samson to fully commit to God, to choose God for himself, to own God himself, and it can take us time as well. The reality of our heart, our spirit, is far more important than the outward show. The outward is taken care of if the inward is right toward God. God starts inside out, that’s why Jesus said, ye must be born again. The spiritual new birth is the starting point. There is no way around that step. You have to be saved yourself first, to then start following and being used by God. If you are following God, and you are not saved, it is only a matter of time before you leave God, as many of the Jews followed Jesus no more in John 6. This is why it is important to to saved, and not just religious. Because everything consisting of the will of the flesh and the will of man will fall away, and it has no power to save. God eventually brought Samson to a place where he made a choice and committed. It took Delilah’s betrayal, and capture, pain and humiliation by the Philistines to get him there. God finally took the world out of Samson. The world is in us, this life is a life where God takes the world out of us. Do you want to leave for Timnath? Perhaps you think God is sending you, he wants to use you. But make sure you are doing it because of a real relationship with God, from a born again spirit, because of your faith in God, otherwise the vineyards of Timnath will hold more danger than you can deal with.