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Jul 23, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at Our website

Samson’s downfall started way before he met. Let’s take a look at why he started to fall and how we might be similar. So here’s something to ask yourself before we take a look at Samson. How often do you lust after something. Lust isn’t confined to sexual things, but for the men out there, do you flip through the channels and stop on one too long because you saw a skimpily clad woman on one of those channels? Ladies, do you obsess over a piece of jewelry or clothes or makeup or some other material thing.

You can lust over almost anything. And usually, that lust starts because you find yourself in a place you shouldn’t be in the first place, right? You shouldn’t have stopped on that channel. You shouldn’t have stared at fashion magazine. You shouldn’t have been in that part of town. You shouldn’t have stayed around that group of people when conversations started going the wrong way.

So let’s go back to Samson. Judges chapter 14. Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”

His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” (His parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)

So what do we find out about Samson in those few verses?

First, he was in a place he shouldn’t have been. Timnah was in the heart of Philistine territory. That was the enemy’s camp. What did he think he was doing? Those places were off limits to God’s people. God didn’t want his chosen to have anything to do with the pagan populations across the land. The reason the Israelites were in this predicament in the first place. They didn’t destroy all those pagan symbols and idols as they went through those battles. God told them to, but they didn’t. It started at Jericho when Achen kept some of the silver and clothes and hid them in his tent. And just like Achen, in battle after battle, someone just couldn’t believe God meant what he said and thought they knew better than he did. They didn’t obey his commands and so the nation paid the price.

Samson was amazingly strong. His parents raised him as a Nazarite, someone special, set aside for God’s work. Someone with more constraints that even the priests. He was born to rule. His parents raised him well. But we all have a choice and he made some poor ones. Samson went to Timnah. And there his eyes began to wander and he saw a Philistine woman that caught his eye. He wanted her as his wife.

Mistake number two. Samson knew and his parents knew Israelites were supposed to marry among their people. Marriage outside the tribe was forbidden. Why did God put that rule in place? Take a look at every marriage to someone from one of the pagan nations around them. The bride or groom brought their pagan gods with them and it wasn’t long before the household was worshiping that pagan god. Then the worship of that pagan god spread to other neighbors and friends. The clan just couldn’t figure out Jehovah didn’t bless them. They forgot he was a jealous God and would not allow them to worship anyone but him.

But Samson, he lusted after this pagan woman and didn’t care if she belonged to the tribe or not. He didn’t care if she was one of the enemy. He didn’t care if it violated one of God’s rules for his people. He didn’t care that marrying her might lead to disaster as had every other marriage outside the rules God set for his people.

Mistake number three, Samson’s parents quit acting like parents and Samson broke another of God’s commands. One of those ten written on the tablets God gave Moses on Mount Sinai. Remember the one that says honor your father and mother so your years may be long? Samson’s parents tried to get Samson to marry someone from Israel, but Samson pitched a small fit and his parents quit exercising their authority and gave into him.

There’s a mistake we see all too often today. Johnny pitches a fit and parents give in. Parents want to be their kid’s friend instead of being a parent. Proverbs tells parents to raise children in the way they should go. That doesn’t meant let them do what they want. Is it hard. Yep, sometimes it is. But our role is to be a parent, not a friend. And in Samson’s day, without his parents securing the arrangement, there would have been no marriage between Samson and the Philistine from Timnah. If they had said no, Samson might have pitched a fit, but if they held their ground and been good parents, in their day, there would have been no marriage. As simple as that.

And if Samson had listen to his parents’ early request to marry someone within Israel, he wouldn’t have gotten into the mess he did. The footnote the writer gives us says the Lord set all this in motion, but sometimes I’m not sure God really did that. I’m sure he used it by turning the bad to good. But I’m not sure Israel had a very mature understanding of God at that point as they blamed God for Samson’s disobedience. He made bad choices just like we do. And he paid the consequences for his bad choices, just like we do.

So there they are in those first four verses of Judges 14. Bad choices. Samson purposely went to places he knew he shouldn’t have gone. He let his eyes stray and lusted after someone (or something) he know he shouldn’t have. And he failed to honor his parents by listening to their choice for his marriage. Then as a side note, his parents quit acting like parents.

Now take a look at yourself. You know reading and studying God’s word is really worthless if we don’t apply what is says to ourselves. So here are some things that we need to ask ourselves in this fight we wage every day against the devil.

Do I know my weaknesses and where Satan will try to tempt me?

Do I stay away from those places I know will tempt me in my weakest areas?

Do I lust after things that I know might affect my relationship with God?

Do I listen to the sage advice of my elders and especially my parents, understanding they have gone before me and have my best in mind?

Do I pay attention to God’s word and follow his commands to the very best of my ability?

A little introspection in those areas might just keep you from falling into the consequences Samson suffered. He did some great things for Israel, but he also spent a lot of time suffering because of his failures. Learn from him.