Mezuzot (The Doorposts) Part 2 of 2
You see, glue rinses off; but superglue does not rinse off with a detergent or a solvent. It scrapes off; the polymer binds with the cornified epithelium of the epidermis.
In other words, when it does come off, some of you comes off with it, leaving a mark that should never have been there. In a marriage, that kind of bonding is one of the things God uses to preserve a marriage; it is good in that situation. Outside of matrimony, however, it is not a good thing. Did God forgive the sin? Yes. At the Resurrection or when Jesus comes will it still matter? No. But does it leave a mark now? Absolutely. There is a mutual vulnerability with this kind of bonding, which is what led Samson to become emotionally and to a degree spiritually susceptible to Delilah.
Let us continue: Samson foolishly lets Delilah know that the source of his strength has something to do with his hair; he begins sharing the things of the Lord with someone who does not even believe in the Lord. "So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his hair and she wove them into the web, and she fastened it with a pin. And she said to him the third time, 'The Philistines are upon you, Samson!' But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web." He thinks he has gotten away with it once more, not knowing how close he is to the abyss of his self-appointed doom.
Verse 15: "And she said to him," - check this out - "'How can you say, "I love you"?'"
"You don't love me! If you loved me you'd let me kill you. You don't really love me, otherwise you'd let me get you knocked off so I can get paid!" What a jerk Samson had to be! There is no question he acted like a moron. This guy is a real jerk. And I'm a real jerk. And you're a jerk. 'The sin that so easily besets'.
Understand something here: this took place under the Old Covenant. It was not then as it is now, where the Holy Spirit is for all who believe. Under the Old Covenant, only certain people at certain times for certain reasons had the Holy Spirit: high priests, prophets, kings, patriarchs, and judges. Samson may well have been the only person on the face of the earth at that time who had the Holy Spirit. He was someone who had been supernaturally conceived as a type of Jesus: the angel appeared to his parents to tell them he would be born, and he carried the thing he would die on, just as Christ did. So Samson is a type of Christ, as all of these Old Testament figures are in some way. This was a man who was called by God before his conception; this was a man whom God empowered. He had God's hand upon him for the glory of God's name and for the deliverance of God's people - this was the judge of Israel! Called by God, empowered by God, anointed by God, and used mightily by God. But he continually returned to that same stupid sin.
In the same way, you could be witnessing and leading people to Jesus, laying hands on people and seeing them be healed - God could have His hand on you, you could be filled with the Holy Spirit, and God could really be using you; yet you could still so easily fall back into that same old thing. That's Samson, that's me, and that's you - it's all of us. Do not ask me why God continues to put up with someone like Jacob Prasch - I don't know. Fortunately, I am not God; because if I was God, Jacob Prasch would be in big trouble. Thank God that He is He and I am me; because if I was He, me wouldn't be here.
What Samson says next to Delilah shows the power of sin to deceive, and the vulnerability that takes place in that kind of bonding that should be reserved only for wedlock. Let us look at verse 16: "It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death." Why does he put up with this kind of nagging? That would drive any man crazy - the book of Proverbs tells us that living with a contentious woman is like trying to sleep next to a dripping faucet. Samson could have had any wife he wanted, with his position as the Judge of Israel. But he had bonded with Delilah, "so he told her all that was in his heart, and said to her, 'A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak like any other man.' When Delilah saw that he had told her all that was in his heart, she sent and called for the Philistines, saying, 'Come up once more, for he has told me all that is in his heart.' And the lords of the Philistines came to her, and brought the money in their hands." So Samson bought the whole bill of goods; he told her the truth, "and she made him sleep on her knees and called for a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him." Notice that Delilah began to afflict him before the Philistines did.
People are not initially judged for their sin; judgment for our sin is not the first thing that happens. Rather, what initially takes place is that we are judged by our sin. The sin itself turns against you; after that come the consequences for it.
"His strength left him. And she said, 'The Philistines are upon you, Samson!' And he awoke from his sleep and said, 'I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.' But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him." His strength was gone, his God evicted, yet Samson did not know it. We grieve the Holy Spirit with our sin; He does not stay where He is not wanted. He will not leave us, but we are certainly good at evicting Him from our lives. A question many people ask me is at what point the Holy Spirit leaves an unrepentant backslider: that is just the point - you do not know, and you cannot know. 'Is Saul among the prophets?' - Saul didn't know when the Lord departed from him, and neither did Samson. But we do know what follows; let's read it in verse 21: "Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes, and they brought him to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains. He was a grinder in the prison." What happens when God's Spirit leaves? You lose your sight and you lose your might. You become spiritually blind, and you no longer have the strength to pick up your cross; now you no longer have a way out, because you have gone too far for too long.
God's Spirit left Samson; he lost his sight and he lost his might. That is what happened to him, and if we are not careful, that is exactly what can happen to us also. None of us is immune.
Let us continue, however, in verse 22: "However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved off." Romans 11:29: "The gifts and calling of God go forth without repentance." God does not take away what He has given; but although we may lose our hair very quickly, it only grows back slowly. You may lose it overnight, but getting it back is not so easy. Only slowly does a backslider who has gone this far for this long recover; they are blind, without strength, and have made shipwrecks of their lives.
Verse 23: "Now the lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon, their god." Dagon was the fish-god of the ancient Philistines. The miter of the Roman Catholic bishops has its origin in Dagon-worship. "And they said, 'Our god has given our enemy, Samson, into our hands!'" In the mentality of the ancient Near East, the battles between armies were simply an extension of the battles between spiritual forces. We see this clearly in Daniel and in Revelation, and we have other messages that explain this. Therefore, in the minds of the Philistines, Samson's capture did not merely mean that they were stronger than he, but that their god was stronger than his God. But God will always vindicate His name - He will not give His glory to another.
Verse 24: "When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said, 'our god has given our enemy into our hands, even the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us.'" So often, God blesses His people even when they are unfaithful for His own name's sake; we often fail to understand that. "It so happened that when they were in high spirits they said, 'Call Samson for us, that he may amuse us.'" Backsliders will always wind up in a state of humiliation - as Isaiah 31 says, 'woe to those who go down to Egypt, for the safety of Pharaoh will turn to your disgrace and humiliation.'
Continuing in Judges 16:25, "So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars." The word here for 'pillars' indicates the pillars of the city. They made a mistake: he could not go to the Cross, but they brought the Cross to him and didn't know it. "Samson said to the boy that was holding him, 'Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I might lean against them.' Now the house was filled with men and women, and the lords of the Philistines were there. About 3000 men and women were looking on while Samson amused them. Then Samson called to the Lord and said, 'Oh, Lord God, please remember me and strengthen me just this one time, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.' And Samson grabbed the two middle pillars on which the house rested, braced himself against them, one with his right hand and one with his left" - he stretched out his hands - "and Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines,' and he bent with all his might, so that the house fell upon the lords and all who were within it. So the dead whom he killed in his death were more than those whom he had killed in his life." Once again, Samson is here a picture of Christ: he goes from a place of defeat by stretching out his hands to a place of unprecedented victory, when his enemy thought he had been completely defeated. Instead it was the chess gambit; you got my rook, but now your king is in check.
Verse 31: "Then his brothers and all his father's household came down, took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaole in the tomb of his father Manoah. Thus he judged Israel twenty years." Samson should have judged Israel sixty years; instead, it was only twenty. Do I believe in unconditional once-saved-always-saved? No. Calvinism is a perversion of Christianity. Neither do I believe, however, that God saves people in order to lose them. One does not need to understand the New Testament teaching about He who is able to keep you in terms of the Calvinistic misinterpretation and corruption of that truth; the gifts and calling of God go forth without repentance, as quoted earlier.
To understand this, we must go to the New Testament equivalent of this story: we always interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament revelation of Jesus - I Corinthians 5: "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind that does not exist even among the Gentiles" - that is, the pagans - "that someone has his father's wife." The Greek scholars usually reckon that this was the man's stepmother. Be that as it may, there is an incestuous relationship going on, where a believer was sleeping with his father's wife. A believer! Paul says, remember, 'among you'. Paul called this so grotesque and ugly, so morally repugnant, that even the heathens would not do it. Even the pagans had more morals than to do such a thing. Paul goes on to rebuke them: "Yet you have become arrogant, and have not mourned, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst." Notice that the politically correct, compromised, half-backslidden contemporary church today says that the one who is arrogant is he or she who will stand against immorality. God says, on the contrary, that the one who will not stand against it is the arrogant one.
Ray MacCauley divorced a Christian woman in order to marry another woman who had been married to another man; yet if anyone speaks against it, that person is rebuked for daring to stand up for God's standard of righteousness. If anyone calls you arrogant for this type of action against immorality in the church, you may tell them from God's Word that it is rather they who are arrogant for refusing to speak against the immorality themselves. God calls it arrogant not to stand against obvious evil.
Paul goes on to say this in verse three: "For I on my part, though absent in body, yet present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of the Lord Jesus I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his soul might be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus." This is not something anyone may do arbitrarily; it is similar to binding and loosing: both concepts come across more clearly in the Greek text, where the verb tense is present continuous active; you can only bind on earth what is being bound in Heaven, and you can only loose on earth what is being loosed in Heaven. (This actually has nothing to do with territorial spirits and the like.) In the same way, the Lord was leading Paul to hand this person over to Satan in the text of I Corinthians 5 that we read above.
Notice here that Paul was not Reformed; he was not a Calvinist. He did not say here, as a Calvinist would, that since this person was backslidden and sleeping with his father's wife that was in itself proof that he had never been saved to begin with. Neither, however, does Paul say anything to support a belief in unconditional eternal security (once-saved-always-saved). He never implies or leaves room to imply that this man still had the assurance of salvation while living in this backslidden state. Rather, he states directly that this man was in danger of going to Hell.
But once again, the Lord does not save people only to lose them. What Paul does say is this: If this man is going to sow to the flesh to this degree for this long, this habitually, and will not repent, the enemy will have him. We will let the enemy have him, that he might be driven in the end to fear God and repent, though he forfeits his life. I have heard many parents talk about how good and godly their children were until they went away to University; then a boy began living with his girlfriend, or a girl began living with her boyfriend, and they won't repent. (My children are at that age now, and I am praying that God keeps them from sin.) But then one day these wayward children come home and knock on the door. They say, "Mom, Dad, I'm HIV-positive. Will you pray with me?" or, "I've been diagnosed with Kaposi's Sarcoma, and they tell me I will soon be dead; please pray with me." Terrible! Horrible! But better that than burning in Hell.
I prayed for the salvation of my children from their mother's womb; I actually prayed that my children - whom I love just as indescribably as you love your children - would die in their mother's womb rather than spend eternity apart from Yeshua their Messiah.
The life is destroyed, but the soul is saved. Samson should have had many more years, many more decades of fruitful service. Sin can kill. Please do not misunderstand me - I do not suggest that all illness is the result of some personal sin; it is only the result of sin in the sense that illness is a result of mankind's fallen state. Yet as Psalm 32 and the epistle of James tell us, sin can cause illness. In fact, by defiling the Lord's table with unconfessed sin we can eat and drink judgment to ourselves and die prematurely, as Paul tells us in I Corinthians 11. It does say here 'fall asleep' rather than 'die' with reference to these believers who sin against the Lord's table, so we know that this does not mean they will go to Hell for it; believers fall asleep, unbelievers die. Similarly, even the New Testament says that if we neglect needy parents we reduce our own longevity. Sin can indeed kill; we see it in I Corinthians 5 and we see it in Samson's life. God forbid this should happen to any of us or to our children, but once more, better that it does than that we burn in Hell. God does not save in order to lose.
Samson could have had a nice godly wife, and many more years and decades of judging Israel. All of the blessings that God had in store for Samson he forfeited. He lost his calling, his sight, his might, his blessing, and even his earthly life; what a tragedy! Yet, as Hebrews 11 assures us, in the end his soul was saved. Samson was defeated by the sin that so easily besets; but even then, God's mercy stood.
The most difficult, painful book of the Bible is without doubt, in my view, the book of Lamentations, written by Jeremiah. It recounts the consequences of stubborn, continual, unrepented sin and rebellion against God by a nation, its capital, its people, and its children. Yet right smack dead-center in the most painful, depressing book of the Bible, we read this: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning - great is Thy faithfulness" - see Lamentations 3:22-26. You may be right in the middle of your worst trial, but the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
Maybe even as a Christian, you do not love Jesus Christ as you should; but you cannot stop Him from loving you.
Certainly what happened to Samson was a tragedy, and what happened to this unnamed man in I Corinthians 5 was a tragedy, and what happens all too often today is a tragedy; it should never happen, yet it can and it does, because of that sin that so easily besets. If you are in that sin now, do not get comfortable in it - get out now, before it turns against you, for you can be sure that it will. There are a million ways into that quagmire; there are countless ways into that debacle; but there is only one way out: the Cross of Jesus Christ.