Judges 16:13-14, “13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies; tell me how you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my hair with the web and fasten it with a pin, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his hair and wove them into the web. And she fastened it with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web.”
At this point in the life of Samson it is clear that Samson has been equipped by the Lord with extraordinary gifts (Judges 13), but instead of using those gifts to bring glory to the Lord and be a blessing to the people, we see Samson using those gifts for his own personal gain.
We need to remember Samson has been doing this for 20 years. Samson knows he can wonder into Philistine territory behind enemy lines because he believes his strength will be able to rescue him from any danger (Judges 16:1).
Samson can hang out with prostitutes all hours of the night because he is confident his strength will be able to rescue him from any danger (Judges 16:3).
Samson can toy with Delilah’s threats of bondage and snap off the ropes (Judges 16:4-9), because Samson genuinely believes if worse comes to worse his strength will be able to rescue him from any danger.
You should read Judges 16 on your own, but in verse 19 Samson falls asleep on her knees, she cuts off the seven locks of Samson’s hair that were conveniently organized back in verse 14, and in verse 20, the Philistines come upon Samson, and in verse 20 it says, “Samson did not know the Lord was no longer with him.” Look at verse 20:
Judges 16:20, “20 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.”
At first glance it could look like Samson’s hair was magical, but the focus of Judges 16 is all around Samson’s relationship with the Lord.
Samson has become so confident in his own abilities that he doesn’t recognize that the Lord is no longer with him. Samson genuinely believes he can rescue himself from any danger or harm that might come upon him.
You need to know it is really common for us to respond the same way today. Everyone of us have been given incredible gifts and talents from the Lord, and there are so many ways those gifts and talents lead us to a place of self-sufficiency.
Sometimes we can become so self-confident and self-sufficient that we start to believe, “Just because I don’t see immediate consequences then the Lord must not care.”
But, we must remember in those moments the God of Scripture is being patient. He is being patient with Samson. Yes, Samson has a low regard for his Nazirite Vow. Yes, Samson can wonder into enemy territory and chase women. But, just because Samson doesn’t see immediate consequences from the Lord doesn’t it mean it doesn’t matter to the Lord.
If you continue to read Judges 16 on your own you will see the Philistines seize Samson, over power Samson, gouge out Samson’s eyes, place Samson in prison, and at the end of Judges 16 we see the famous scene.
Samson is standing between two pillars and Samson gives one last prayer to the Lord, and asks for His help to knock down the roof that was full of 3,000 Philistine men and women, and in that moment the Lord answers Samson’s prayer.
The pillars are pushed over, the roof collapses, and Samson and everyone under the roof is put to death, so that by the end of Samson’s life we see two primary themes being presented in Judges 16.
- All of us have been incredibly gifted in the Lord. It might not be as easy to see as Samson’s incredible strength, but we all have been given incredible gifts. And all of us have moments in life where those gifts can lead us to become self-confident and self-sufficient.
- The God of Scripture is patient. Even when Samson cries out his last prayer at the end of Judges 16 the God of Scripture responds to Samson’s prayer.
The Lord’s desire in our lives is to know Him. He longs for us to use our gifts to stir adoration for Him, and bless other people, and when we wonder toward self-sufficiency He is patient, but at some point His patience will end and He will bring discipline.
His discipline in our lives isn’t because He is angry, but because He is loving and He knows the greatest life we can every imagine will be found in Him.