3/8/14 “Incredibly Strong and Weak” (Daily Bible Reading: Judges 14-16)

“Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, ‘Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver’” (Judges 16:4-5).

Because of the evil they had done, God delivered Israel over to the Philistines who oppressed them for 40 years (Judges 13:1). God raised up Samson to deliver Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:2-25). Samson is mentioned as being a great man of faith (Hebrews 11:32), but he is also a man who struggled with his own weaknesses which eventually led to his demise, sexual temptations.

As the opening verses above indicate, Samson loved a Philistine woman named Delilah (Judges 16:4). Earlier, he had married a Philistine woman (Judges 14:1-4). After his wife was given to another man and eventually killed by the Philistines (Judges 15:1-6), Samson goes to the Philistine city of Gaza and has sexual relations with a harlot at the time he was judging Israel (Judges 15:20; 16:1). He then enters a relationship with Delilah who entices him to reveal the secret of his strength (Judges 16:15-18). She has his head shaven. Samson’s strength leaves him as the Lord departs from him. The Philistines capture him and put out his eyes (Judges 16:19-21).

As I look at this account, it is easy to see that although Samson was physically incredibly strong, he was spiritually incredibly weak when it came to his ability to withstand sexual temptations. Because he did not control these sexual desires, but rather let these desires control him, time and time again we see him committing sexual sins (cf. James 1:14-15).

As I consider myself and how this applies to me, I need to be mindful of areas in my life where I am spiritually weak and be aware of inappropriate desires I may struggle with that I need to keep under control. I need to realize how the devil uses these desires to lead me astray. All of us struggle with inappropriate desires that lead to sin. Samson struggled with sexual desires. Delilah struggled with love of money. She was willing to hand Samson, a man who loved her (Judges 16:4) over to the Philistines for 1100 pieces of silver (Judges 16:5). The inappropriate desires you with which you struggle most are probably not exactly the same ones with which I struggle.

Even though he struggled with these desires and fell into sin, God was still able to use Samson to accomplish his purposes to deliver Israel from the Philistines (Judges 16:4). Even though Samson time and time again fell into sexual sin, he still displayed great faith in God (Hebrews 11:32), when at the end of his life he calls on God to give him strength one last time that he may push the pillars of the temple of the Philistines down causing its destruction, his death, and the death of 3000 Philistines (Judges 16:28-30). None of this excuses Samson’s sin. It just shows that God is able to use people who struggle with their weaknesses and display faith in Him to accomplish great things.

Today I will rejoice that God can use me even though I struggle with my own weaknesses. I will strive to guard against temptation, especially being mindful of my own inappropriate desires and how these lead to sin. I will seek the way of escape from temptation which God has provided!

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).