29 May – 4 June 2016.

Judges 16 (click to read).

From beginning to end, Samson’s story is like a train wreck. We see the disaster coming, but just can’t look away! What was Samson thinking? He is supposed to be a Nazarite, a man living a life dedicated to God, but instead he’s a proud fool and a boasting womanizer.

Following his first terrible relationship with a Philistine woman, we now see Samson, the “man of God”, sleeping with a Philistine prostitute. Instead of being a great leader, instead of serving God and the people, he is serving his own pleasures. Even worse, while it was not unusual for Israelite men to visit local prostitutes, here Samson is sleeping with a foreign woman, one used by uncircumcised Philistines!

Then immediately in v. 4 we see that Samson has already moved on to his next Philistine woman. Delilah doesn’t even bother hiding her true plan: she takes advantage of Samson’s lust for sex to get him to reveal the secret of his strength. Over and over Delilah brings Philistine troops to capture Samson, but he arrogantly thinks he can keep playing this dangerous game. Then when his secret is finally revealed and used against him, in v. 20 he still stupidly thinks he can fight his way out. No, his pride has betrayed him, and his strength has left him.

In v. 21 Samson hits rock bottom. This oafish womanizer sacrificed his divine gift and calling for cheap sex. Now weak, blind, and bound in chains, it’s his turn to be used for sex by others – or as the Israelites would say, to “grind another man’s grain” (see for example Job 31:10). While Samson does get his revenge in the end, v. 28 tells us that he does it for the sake of his eyes, not for any noble religious reason.

So what does it mean to be a hero? In today’s Hollywood movies heroes are still very much like Samson, with big muscles, small brains, and a desire to sleep with all the girls. But is lust for sex and power really what makes a man a hero? It certainly didn’t go well for Samson!

Jesus shows us that real heroes are different. Real heroes care for others, stand up for the needy, and even lay down their lives for others. That’s what makes a man a true hero.

Pastor Stephen Lakkis