Monday, March 28, 2011

Beware of Delilah

I have a tendency to be like Samson: strong and empowered by the Lord, but I hardly use it unless it benefits me in some tangible way. 

Samson had a control problem.  He knew he was supposed to keep himself away from certain things, but he would go after them anyway.  Why? Because his feelings told him to.  Samson slew a lion, then saw bees making honey in the carcass, so he took some.  Problem?  Samson was a nazirite.  Nazirites are forbidden from three things: cutting their hair, drinking wine, and touching dead bodies, as outlined in Numbers 6.  Furthermore, Samson was one of a few Biblical characters who was a nazirite from birth, also including Samuel and John the Baptist.  While Numbers speaks in terms of the nazirite vow being for a certain time, these men had to keep up the vow throughout their lives.  What was the purpose behind this?  Nazirites are meant to be holy before the Lord, called to a higher place in life than the average Hebrew.  This speaks to the current generation, as we are called to go higher than the average Christian in our devotion to the Lord.

Of the three forbiddances of the nazirite vow, there is grace for only one: touching a dead body.  Numbers 21:9 says, "And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it."  Here's the problem: Samson didn't go shave his head.  He thought he could get away with it.  Samson judged Israel for twenty years (Judges 15:20), and was only able to do marginal amounts of good while he served.  The Philistines maintained their rulership over the Hebrew people throughout his reign, until the very end (we'll get to that soon).

1And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
 2And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
 3Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. 
-- Judges 14:1-3

Samson makes his first mistake when he departs from Israel to go down to Timnath, where he seeks his first wife. The children of Israel have been commanded not to intermingle with the other peoples so they could keep themselves separate unto the Lord.   But Samson gets distracted by her beauty.  This first wife is stolen away from him, and Samson next goes to a harlot in Gaza and then after a Philistine woman in the Valley of Sorek named Delilah. Delilah, of course, becomes his undoing, as he eventually reveals to her that the secret of his strength is in his hair.  She shaves it off, stealing his strength, and Samson is imprisoned with his eyes gouged out.  Only at the end of his life, when Samson and the Lord are being ridiculed by the Philistine people, does Samson surrender everything to the Lord, to be used in one last heroic effort, which brings down the palace and kills thousands of Philistines.  Samson, of course, dies in that moment.

Delilah, I have no doubt, actually loved Samson.  What she didn't do was respect him.  He had something that he refused to reveal to her, and this burned her up.  Nevertheless, she turned the charm up to 11 as she continued to badger Samson into revealing the source of his strength (i.e. how she could weaken him).  She tries everything he suggests, but he can't keep lying forever.  In what Aristotle would call the catharsis moment, Samson finally succumbs to Delilah and tells her how she can bring him down.  Naturally, she does.

This is where you have to watch out for a certain type of woman, what I call the Delilah spirit.  She doesn't want to bring you down because she hates you (i.e. Jezebel, I'll get to her in another post), but because she feels weak.  She doesn't trust you because she can't control you.  While she doesn't have the spirit of anger like Jezebel, she will use whatever means necessary to bring you down.

As I said, I tend to favor Samson.  I may not go down to Timnath, but I'm definitely at the corner of the road that leads there.  I may not be at the harlot's house in Gaza, but I know where it is.  I may not be in a relationship with Delilah, but flirting can't hurt, can it?

Run from Delilah.  These days, she may not even know who she is herself.  You have to be discerning and wait on the right one.  Just not Delilah.

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