Judges 14:14 – And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
Judges 14:18 – And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.
I have in recent blogs been looking at the life of Samson. Samson was a great man of faith. We can so easily reduce his life to a few choice words, like failure, womanizer, waste. But he is a hero of the faith. He had great courage. He had great faith. His story is unique in the Bible. In Judges 14, we find the famous story of Samson’s riddle. He put it forth to his Philistine “friends” at his wedding feast. The riddle was based on his previous life experience. When he went down to Timnath to talk to the Philistine woman he was interested in, the Bible says that a young lion roared against him. 1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. This lion that roared against Samson is a picture of the devil. The lion roared against Samson, and the devil will roar against us in our lives today. The devil does not leave us alone, and particularly after we are saved. He will do his best to make a mess of your life. He roared in Job’s life, but Job’s faith in God won, as Samson’s did. Have you heard the roar of the lion? Is he roaring at you today? The devil wants to destroy you. He has no power over the believer, but his roar can scare, it can cower down, it can inject fear and doubt into us. And he is a liar, don’t listen to his lies. The Bible says the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson. He ripped the lion apart easily, and with his bare hands. Later, when Samson returned to Timnath to take his wife, he revisited the site of his victory. He had kept the incident to himself. He saw the lion carcase, and there was a swarm of bees and honey inside the lion. He took of the honey, and enjoyed it himself and shared it with his parents. He didn’t tell them about his great victory, God’s great victory. This great deliverance in his life was a complete secret so far.
Samson experienced God’s mighty deliverance. He tasted the honey from the carcase of the lion. It was a huge moment in his life, it was important to him, and he could no longer keep it to himself. But he shared it with those who were not truly his friends. Those who did not truly care about the meaning of the riddle for anything other than making material gain. He shared it with those he was meant to be delivering Israel from. Samson made this important life experience the subject of a wager, a bet. The Bible says, Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Samson cast his pearls before swine. And they trampled him. It goes to show how little we can value who God is and what he has done for us, just like Esau who sold his birthright for a morsel of food. The riddle saga set on course the bitter exchanges between Samson and the Philistines in the following chapters. What Samson experienced and learned from his victory over the lion was much more valuable than anything the Philistines could give him. And evidently he did not truly learn the lesson, because although the Philistines answered the riddle, they did not truly ascertain its meaning. They answered, but did not answer his riddle.
The riddles goes, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. What does this mean? We know that Samson was referring to his encounter with the lion. The eater is the lion. Satan is an eater, he is a hunter of souls. He devours, and will do it any way he can. And he is strong. The strong is referring also to the lion. Jesus referred to the devil as a strong man. Eater and strong are referring to the lion and we know that the lion is a picture of Satan. Samson, through the power of God, killed the lion. When he returned later he found honey in the carcase. The honey was his meat, he ate it and it sustained him. Honey is sweet, and it was sweet to Samson’s taste. Meat and sweetness are referring to the honey that Samson found in the carcase of the lion. The Promised Land was described as a land flowing with milk and honey. Honey is good, it is good for you, and honey is compared to God’s word in the Bible. God’s word is described as sweeter than honey! God’s word is our honey, it is sweet to our taste. It is sweet to the believer, but for the unbeliever, instead of the honey of the word, they find bitterness. God’s word is a two edged sword, and it will minister life or death depending on the heart of the hearer. In this riddle, Samson was talking about the honey coming from his victory over the lion.
Samson defeated the lion through the power of the Spirit of God. It was God through Samson that defeated the lion. And Samson had faith. It was by faith he slew the lion. Samson had nothing in his hand. We have nothing in our hand. We have no power to beat Satan. We are helpless, hopeless, useless. We do not bring anything to the table. We did not assist Jesus at the cross. The Bible says all forsook him. Jesus did the work, and he did it alone. It is Jesus that had victory over the devil. The devil had the power of death, but Jesus took it from him. The Bible says that Jesus spoiled the strong man’s house. He is stronger than the strong man. You may ask, how did Satan have the power of death? It is because Satan was able to cause mankind to sin. And by causing man to sin, he murdered mankind at the beginning. We are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins before we are saved. And physically, we all die. We are under the curse. The penalty of sin is death. Therefore Satan had the power of death.
However, we have hope, and that hope lies in our Saviour, the Saviour of mankind, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Revelation 1:18 – I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Jesus completely and utterly defeated the devil. Jesus died, and in so doing defeated death. He arose from the dead. Death could not hold him. Death had no power on him. He was sinless, perfect, undefiled. And he is God. And Samson entered into that victory the day he slew the lion. He had power over the lion, because Jesus has power over Satan. We can have the victory that Samson experienced ourselves. The devil is defeated. This is the sweetness that Samson was referring to. This is the sweet message of the honey of the word. It is a sweet victory. Life over death is sweet. Heaven instead of hell is sweet. It is good news. It is great news! We can have victory over the roaring lion today. It is through the Spirit that we will experience this victory. The Spirit of Christ, which dwells in us when we are saved forever. We defeat Satan because of Jesus’ victory, we enter into his victory. Without the Spirit of God, Samson would not have defeated the lion. And there is honey in the carcase of the lion. The Lord Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan, death, hell, the world is sweet to our soul. And we read about his victory in his word. This is why his word is so sweet to us. God’s word drops like honey for us.
Samson’s riddle shows that the meat and sweetness that we enjoy from God comes because he has vanquished our foe. Satan had to be defeated, and he was defeated, once and for all. Death, hell, Satan, have no hold on us anymore. This is the gospel message. Peace with God. Our sins have been paid for. We have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. We have abundant hope. We no longer have to serve our old master. We no longer have to do his bidding. We no longer have to commit the sins that destroy us. We look forward to the world to come, wherein dwelleth righteousness. No more curse, pain, tears, death, suffering, wickedness, violence! An eternity in heaven with our Saviour.
Samson gave this riddle to the Philistines and they could not expound the riddle.This shows the irreconcilable difference and contrast between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. They have no part with each other. Jesus said of Satan, he hath nothing in me. And Jesus spoke in parables, just as Samson told the riddle. Unless you have the Spirit of God, you will not understand the riddle. The riddle speaks to a believer’s heart. 1 Corinthians 2:11, 12 – For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 1 Corinthians 2:14 – But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Matthew 11:25 – At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. You have to become a babe. It is not about becoming more intellectual, it is not about reading more commentaries, it is about doing that less and instead humbling yourself before God, becoming as a child, being saved with simple faith, asking for wisdom. He gives all as a free gift, you need to but ask in faith. The riddle is not a riddle to us.
The Philistines could not expound the riddle because they had not experienced what Samson had experienced. The Philistines, although they solved the riddle, did not truly understand it. They gave questions as their answer to the riddle. What is stronger than a lion? What is sweeter than honey? We can answer those questions, we that are saved. Jesus is stronger than the lion! Jesus is sweeter than honey! And we know what Samson’s riddle truly means, because it is Jesus that has slain our enemy and given us life. Their answer consisted of questions. They would never experience the meat and the sweetness. For them there would be no carcase, but instead a roaring lion which they were unable to resist. They would never know Jesus. They would never receive Jesus. Just as the world doesn’t and doesn’t care either. There are no shortcuts to solving the riddle. Sure you can cheat like the Philistines did, but you are only robbing yourself. They were more concerned about the material consequences of losing the bet. Will money, will material possessions, cost you your salvation? Does your Christianity only extend as far as your wealth? You can only experience the victory, the meat, and the sweetness by being saved first. Does the riddle minister questions or answers to you? Samson, although rebellious, although sinful, although selfish, was a great man of faith. He knew and experienced the victory through his faith in God. He tasted the sweetness of the honey. And it is Jesus that is stronger than the lion, it is Jesus that is sweeter than honey. Psalm 119:103 – How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!