Judges 16:1 – Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.
Judges 16:2 – And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.
Judges 16:3 – And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.
I recently did a number of blogs on the life of Samson, but missed this bit of his story for whatever reason. There is so much to learn from the life of Samson. Samson lived in a time when the Bible says that every man did that which was right in his own eyes, and this is a time that we are going through now in the world today. At the end of the previous chapter, Judges 15, God had won a great victory through Samson when he killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Samson was being used by God to begin to deliver Israel from Philistine dominion. However despite this, Samson had one critical weakness which would set the stage for much pain, failure, suffering and destruction in his life. Samson had a weakness for the beautiful Philistine women. He was a man ruled by his flesh, he was dictated to by his flesh, he was a slave to his passions and desires. 2 Peter 2:19 says that for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. Jesus said in John 8:34 that whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. Samson loved the world, but the Bible commands to love not the world, and that the world consists of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. As Samson struggled to control his lusts, so we will have this same struggle over lusts in our lives. We will see in this blog that we may go to our Gaza, a place which represents a stronghold that the enemy has in our life, the strength that sin has in our life. Satan builds strongholds in our life, as he did in Samson’s life with Philistine women, and these strongholds are impossible to remove in our own strength. We need God’s grace, strength and power. The Bible speaks of the sin that doth so easily beset us. Samson had a besetting sin, and so do we have sins that so easily beset us. Sins that have mastery over us, sins that we indeed are slaves to. Jesus came to set the captives free, and God wants to liberate us from such sin in newness of life. We can have the victory, but do we truly want it, are we willing to let God give us the victory, or do we prefer our existence in bondage to sin, just as the children of Israel who longed for the yoke of Egypt after they had been set free? Just how attached are you to your besetting sins?
We have an enemy, and the sooner we realize and acknowledge the existence of enemies in our lives the sooner we can begin to do battle with them. And we need the power of God to deal with them, because our enemies will triumph over us when we try to deal with them with our own resources, in our own strength. Satan and his angels are our enemies. The world is our enemy. Sin is our enemy. These combine to bring us down as they brought Samson down. They destroy our fellowship with God and with others. They can render us useless in ministering to others. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 2:11 to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. Samson’s lust for women was his enemy. Samson saw the harlot. This was the lust of the eyes. We can see things in the world, the devil brings things before us, just as he brought temptations before Jesus Christ, and just as he had tempted Eve when she saw the that fruit of the tree was desirable to eat. Samson’s lust gave him temporary earthly pleasure, which the Bible says lasts only for a season, but gave him long term pain. He would find out that it was not worth it time and time again, and culminated in his capture, torture and imprisonment at the hand of the Philistines. Samson’s lust betrayed him. It promised pleasure, and brought forth death. The Bible says that the Gazites were quiet all night. Our enemies are quiet all night. When we are in sin, they are not going to tell us that our sin is going to bring forth death, that we are going to reap what we sow. Satan does not want the unsaved millions to know that they are going to hell. Satan is not going to tell the inhabitants of the world that they are condemned, and heading to a place that they were not even meant to go and do not need to go – hell. Our enemies don’t warn us, but God does through his Word, the Bible is a book of warning, it warns us about hell and tells us how to not go there, it gives us assurance of our salvation and eternal life. The enemy knows, that just as Moses said, our sin will find us out. They said, when it is day, then we will kill him. When we die, it will be to late to repent and be saved. It will be too late when the fearful, terrible and dreadful day of the Lord arrives, just as the unrepentant masses in Noah’s day found out. And our sin always finds us out. It brings forth death. Samson fell for the age old tactics of Balaam, the false prophet who we read about in Numbers. Balaam wanted to but could not curse Israel. But he figured that he could make Israel bring the curse upon themselves by their own actions. He caused them to commit fornication and sacrifice to devils. Your enemy is happy to let you sin and bring a curse upon yourself.
Are you a sleeping Christian? Are you saved or unsaved, but living in darkness? Are you sleeping while the enemy closes in on you, as the doors of the stronghold that the enemy has built in your life slam shut? One of the ways to know if you are truly saved, and hence a child of God, is if God deals with you as a son or not. When we are saved, we are born again, making us a child of God, a son of God. God was dealing with Samson. He awoke, and God awakes his children at the midnight of their lives.Was it a guilty conscience? Was it the prodding of the Holy Spirit? As the Gazites could surround and enclose Samson, so the enemy closes in around us. But just as they were helpless to resist and overcome Samson, so sin and death and Satan are helpless against us when we are in Christ. 1 John 5:18 – We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, did the work, and finished the work, he said it is finished as he hung on the cross. Jesus paid the price for our sins with the shedding of his pure, sinless, undefiled blood, he gave us eternal peace with God, Satan is utterly powerless to stop Jesus. Our victory over Satan is based on the finished victorious work of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. The Gazites strength against Samson was based on his sin, they were happy to let him lie there with the harlot, the only way they could defeat Samson was by getting Samson to deny Christ in his life himself. It is the age old Balaam tactic, as we have discussed. Satan cannot touch us, but he can cause us to bring harm, pain, suffering, and even death upon ourselves by our own actions. But we have a Saviour, a Redeemer, a Mediator between God and us, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus has dealt with sin and death and the law. Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly, Jesus died and arose with death having no hold on him, and Jesus was the sinless, pure Son of God. As Samson did, so we can enter into the victory of Jesus Christ and take off at midnight from Gaza. He was untouchable in Christ, just as we are. He was living by faith. Samson took the doors and gates of Gaza to the hill before Mount Hebron. Mount Hebron speaks of fellowship with and dedication toward God. Samson cast his Gaza before God at the top of the hill. However Samson compromised, he did not go all the way. He did not go to Mount Hebron, he went to the hill before it. Samson was nearly there, but not quite there in his life! There was still a little bit of him that loved this sin. In the very next verse we see that he loved another woman, Delilah, and we know how that turned out. The Bible tells us that we cannot serve two masters. James says a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
But Samson did have the victory that night in Gaza, because God was on his side. He literally took Gaza and cast it before God at the top of the hill before Hebron. This symbolizes what we must do. We must bring our stronghold to God and let God deal with it. Maybe your sin is a very attractive sin, a favorite sin, maybe you don’t want to let God deal with it because you cannot imagine your life without it. Because you have no idea of an existence without it. Are you such a slave to sin that you cannot imagine life without it? Do you really want God to deal with it? Samson still couldn’t quite let his sin go, he still had the world inside him. He was living more and more dangerously, he hadn’t gone to Gaza before this, and Gaza was the stronghold of the Philistines. Are you edging closer and closer to destruction? Are you tempting God? Be assured, saved or not, you have very real enemies that are ever patiently engineering and waiting for you to fall. God delivered Samson time and time again, but he eventually became so reprobate in his thinking, and his sin eventually found him out, and he reaped what he sowed. Do not think that God turns a blind eye to your sin. He is long suffering, and patient, but if you are his child he will deal with you when you sin. God may let painful things happen to you in order to purge sin and uncleanness from your life. Are you in Gaza reader? Are you lying with the harlot of false religion, false Christianity? Will you awake, or will you go on sleeping? Will you cast your Gaza before the true God of the Bible? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? The God of Creation, the God of the Universe, the God whose kingdom is above all? Whatever the stronghold in your life, nothing is beyond God’s grace and power, the victory is there, and has already been won through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Fully commit, fully turn, don’t compromise, go all the way to Mount Hebron today.