On Sunday, we talked about not missing spiritual warning signs in our lives that are meant to help us make sure we stay on track with the Lord. Using Samson’s story from Judges 14:1-9, we identified four warning signs that should have made Samson reconsider the decisions he was making.
If you look at Judges 13:25 you will discover in chapter thirteen and verse twenty-five that the Spirit of the Lord was on Samson’s life, and the Holy Spirit was stirring Samson to prepare him for something great. He was to be a deliverer of his people, delivering them FROM the Philistines. He had been set apart for God’s use. He had taken a Nazarite vow. Part of the vow involved not cutting his hair. Part of the vow involved not drinking alcohol. Nazarites couldn’t even eat grapes or raisins. The vow also included not going near anything dead. You see several violations, several red flags in Judges 14 that should have caused Samson to reconsider his ways.
Samson became attracted to young Philistine woman. He was smitten with her instantly and impulsively, foolishly desires to take her as his wife. What was he thinking? She didn’t serve the Living God. She was one of the enemies Samson had been anointed to deliver his people from. He didn’t get God’s permission or his parents’ permission to marry the girl. He just ordered them to “get her” for him. Here’s what we can learn:
1. When you desire the things that God says are off limits, you are headed for trouble. That is a warning sign.
He not only was crossing a major boundary with God, one that was clearly stated for all Israelites, but he was also compromising his mission to deliver God’s people from Philistine oppression. Listen, when you ignore the warning signs and step across clearly stated boundaries for your life, you will absolutely compromise God’s intended future for you.
He demanded that his parents make this wedding happen, that this alliance with an enemy of the people of God go forward. Here was their response: “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?”
Samson wasn’t even willing to consider his parents’ words. He just said, “Get her for me. She’s the girl for me.”
2. When you disregard the counsel of godly people, you are headed for trouble. That is a warning sign.
Samson’s parents tried to talk some sense into him. They tried to get him to consider the ramifications of what he was doing, but his mind was made up. He couldn’t see the big picture. He couldn’t consider the compromise. He couldn’t weigh the impact of his decisions on the others around him. He didn’t even think about the example he was setting for the rest of the Israelites. Here he was, the designated deliverer, and he wanted to sleep with the enemy.
As we move on in Samson’s story we see that he and his parents went down to Timnah and as they approached the vineyards, Samson was attacked by a lion. He was given supernatural power and tore the lion apart with his bare hands. But the text says that he didn’t tell his parents about it. Somehow, they must have gotten separated or maybe they arrived and then Samson went for a walk. I don’t know, but his parents weren’t with him when the lion came charging at him.
What I want to call your attention to is where the attack took place. Verse 5 says it happened in a vineyard. What business did Samson have for being in a vineyard? He wasn’t supposed to drink wine or even eat grapes due to his Nazarite vow. Why was he hanging out in a place of temptation? Here is the third warning sign we see in Samson’s life that also applies to us:
3. When you dare to go places where you will tempted to break your vows to God, you are headed for trouble. That is a warning sign.
Maybe Samson thought he was too powerful to be tempted, maybe he thought he could put himself in places of compromise and not give in. God wanted us to know that it was in the vineyard where he was attacked. It is a detail we must not overlook. Thank God that God protected and helped him even though he had put himself in a compromising position, but doing so revealed a carelessness on Samson’s part.
Well, after a while, he went back to marry her and he passed by the lion’s dead body which means he went back into the vineyard again (like I said, sin creates patterns). As he walked by the lion’s carcass he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. Even though he wasn’t supposed to be near any dead person or animal, he stuck his hand in the lion’s carcass and scooped out some honey.
He may not have violated any vow the first time through that vineyard, but he did on the second trip through. Sin is powerful. It lures us back time and time again, wearing us down until we give in. When he broke that vow he was supposed to go find the priest and offer sacrifices. He was supposed to shave his head and start his Nazarite experience over, but he acted as if he had done nothing wrong.
Samson not only broke his vow, but he gave some of the honey to his parents and they enjoyed it right along with him. Funny thing, he forgot to mention to his parents that it came from a lion’s carcass. He sort of left out that detail which brings me to the last warning sign that we are in spiritual trouble:
4. When you deceive others through lies, pretending or omitting the truth, you are headed for trouble. That is a warning sign.
When you lie or deceive people by leaving out the truth, you have basically aligned yourself with the devil who is called the “Father of Lies” in Scripture. It is a very dangerous thing to dance with the devil. Samson defiled himself and his parents through his actions.
Samson’s life did have a victorious ending as well as a tragic one. He did take down the Philistines, but he lost his own life in the process. I wonder how different things would have been if he would have chosen to do things God’s way all along. I wonder how different his ending would have been had he not chosen to ignore the warning signs along the way.