Samson: Hair Grows BackMay 17th, 2009 by Vic
There is a lot of slack in the steering of my tractor. There’s a lot of freedom. That means you have to be making constant corrections. You can’t hold it in one place and go straight. It wanders with the contour of the ground.
This week I took my grandson for a ride on the tractor. He stands in front of me with his hands on the steering wheel. He does not quite understand the need of a slight turning of the steering wheel to keep the tractor going straight or staying on the trail. The big turns he identifies as consequences of his action, but the need for little corrections he does not understand yet. The bucket or scoop lever he seems to understand. When using the scoop, the consequences of his actions are immediate. We picked up a load of firewood and he raised the bucket and dumped the wood in the pole barn. That single lever stick control he seems to understand because he sees immediate consequences.
If the consequences of sin were immediate, we’d all be dead. The wages of sin is death. However, God is gracious. Satan tempts us to the little sins rather than the big turns. Just a little wander off the road, a harmless thing that does not hurt anyone, and then another, and then another.
This story of Samson should be a warning and an encouragement to all of us. It is a little bit of a paradox. When we read the story, Samson seems so stupid, but he is mentioned in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith. He was a man of faith addicted to revenge and women. Samson starts with a little compromise and ends up in a pile of rubble. Getting his hair cut was a public sign that he had rejected his commitment to God. He failed to make a lot of minor corrections and a big crash was inevitable. But while in prison, his hair grew back. God restored the relationship, although his effective ministry was ended. His hair grew back. His final act of faith in God’s faithfulness gave him a place in the Hall of Faith. God the Father is waiting for our return.
Judges 13 – Samson was to be set apart and not like everyone else. (Instructions to parents)
The people again did evil in the sight of the Lord, but this time they did not cry out to God. God sends a deliverer and the people had not asked for one. He will begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines. The people did not know they needed to be delivered. They were blind and naked and did not know it. They had blended into the culture around them, just like Christians are doing today. They were not offending anybody.
Mystical practices are creeping back into Christian churches. Mantra meditation is part of Youth Specialties. Centering prayer is self-centered prayer. Holy laughter is neither holy nor funny. The higher self is not the Christ self. Meditation is not an end in itself. Prayer does not move mountains. God moves mountains. Samson did not kill 1,000 with a fresh jawbone. The Spirit on Samson gave the victory. The Shack denies the need for the atoning death of Christ. The pope says Muslins are worshipping the same God. Rick Warren used the Muslin name for Jesus when he prayed at the inauguration. But the Muslim Jesus is not the real Jesus.
We are becoming like the world around us. We are just blending in. God is calling us to come out and be separate. Obama’s first call to any head of state was the leader of the Fatah party in the Palestinian territory. His first one-on-one TV interview with a news organization was Al Arabia TV. Congress just passed a bill this week (HB 1388) to use $20M to help Hamas refugees to immigrate to the US. As a nation we are trying to blend in.
The Philistines were a military power house. They controlled the iron industry so they were not fearful of any big organized rebellion or revolt. They decided to assimilate their enemies into their culture through intermarriage. The religion of God’s people was disappearing. For 40 years they had decided to live and let live. They had decided to be tolerant of all religions.
Samson was set apart before birth. The Nazarite vow was usually a vow that adults made for a short period of time. This is an unusual situation. The mother could not drink wine. God knew that wine was not good for an unborn child.
The Nazarite vow is explained in Numbers 6:2-3.
He could not have anything to do with grapes.
He could not touch any dead thing.
He could not cut his hair.
Hair was an outward obvious sign of an inner commitment.
Manoah did the right thing. He prayed. The angel returned. He followed his wife. He asked the angel, “How do we raise this child as a Nazarite?” The angel said, “Keep yourself pure and undefiled.” How do you raise kids? Fear God and do good. Allow them to follow God and be different from the world.
13:25 The Spirit of the Lord began to stir him. He now had everything he needed to deliver Israel. He is healthier and has more power than any other OT hero. And the Spirit of God was with him.
Judges 14 – Seven stupid steps to self-destruct. (Instructions to kids)
1. He went to the wrong place (14:1). He left God’s people and headed down hill.
2. He was looking for the wrong thing for the wrong reason (14:3). She is right in my eyes.
3. He rejected his parents counsel (14:3). Maybe God put something in his heart and he was looking for a fight. Some say God put a burr in his bonnet.
4. He continued to pursue a wrong relationship (14:7). It looks like this is the first time he talks with her. “Hello, I love you. Won’t you tell me your name?”
5. He compromises his Nazarite vow and goes through a vineyard (14:5-6). He does not tell his parents. He is now ceremonially unclean and defiled before God. On the next visit he defiles himself with a dead corpse (14:9). Then he plans a drinking party (14:10). He is forgetting the reason he was born. He is rejecting the Nazarite vows. He still looked like a Nazarite with his long hair, but on the inside, he’s controlled by lust.
6. He could not see his weaknesses (14:14-17). He could be seduced. These are not friends, but body guards for the bride.
7. He’d rather take revenge than repent and forgive. He’d been humiliated, but he’s still macho and everything is OK.
Judges 15 – The spiral of revenge.
Samson was technically married. He had gone through the 7 day ceremony. He brings a gift to his wife. The father thought he had divorced her. The phrase, “I thought you had hated her” was legal terminology for a divorce. The Philistines call Samson the son-in-law of the Timnite (6).
To catch 300 foxes was some sort of miracle. God was with him. The Philistines only had 3 cash crops: wheat, olives, and grapes. Samson had just devastated their economy. There is a spiral of revenge and an escalating violence. The only cure for violence is to offer forgiveness.
15:8 says Samson struck them ruthlessly, smote hip and thigh. This suggests brutality and a grotesque slaughter, maybe like the lion.
The Philistines do not go after Samson. They destroy the Philistine family related to Samson. They lash out at their own people, their own family?
15:11 Samson says, “They hit me first.” The men of Judah did not see God helping Samson. They did not see a way out of their trouble. They did not ask Samson to lead them in battle. They just want him to quit being a trouble-maker.
If you are bound up in some addiction, under oppression, not really free, open your eyes to what God has done and will do for you. You have a deliverer sent by God.
15:16 Samson says, “I have killed 1,000 men.” Nebuchadnezzar says, “Look what I have done” just before he started growing hair and claws. We can do nothing without the Lord.
15:18 But when he got thirsty he admits that God gave him the victory. After doing battle spiritually, you will get thirsty. You will need to come to the fount of living water to restore your soul.
This is the one time that Samson acknowledged God’s presence in his life. He learned that God was adequate to meet any need. He ruled 20 years.
Judges 16 – Samson’s Destruction and restoration.
20 years of victory then he has a mid-life crisis. His weaknesses had not disappeared. He was well-known. He had a big price on his head. He was noticed in an enemy city. He’s where he should not be with someone he should not be with and he does not seem to care. He was thinking he was indestructible. He was Samson.
At midnight the gates were shut. He did not take them off the hinges. He took the hinges, frames, and casings. They probably weighed 1,000 pounds each. Hebron was over 30 miles away. He is humiliating the people. He is saying, “I can do anything I want.” He’s feeling arrogant and invincible. His revengeful spirit and lust for women has resurfaced after 20 years.
1. He got involved in another bad relationship.
2. He toyed with temptation. We are told to flee. Resist the devil and he will flee.
3. He did not see deceit in Delilah. He did not understand women. He should have sought some counsel from a friend. The average income in that day was 10 shekels a year. 5,500 shekels would last 550 years. It may have been equivalent to 15 million. He toys with her 3 times.
4. He reveals his secret to save face. She tells the men to bring the money.
5. He did not know he was being deceived until it was too late.
We are so arrogant, we believe other people when they flatter us.
16:20 is the saddest verse in the Bible. His potential was lost. His ministry was cut short. He did not feel any different. You may not feel different when the Lord pulls back from you. The Spirit of God will not always strive with men.
16:21 His punishment parallels his sin.
1. They blinded him. His eyes had drawn him to sin.
2. They took him to Gaza where he had visited the prostitute and carried off the city gates.
3. They bound his feet. He had gone to enemy cities.
4. They made him like an animal and slave. He was arrogant.
Five things he could have done.
1. Acknowledge his spiritual soft spot, his fatal flaws.
2. Admit he was vulnerable. Admit he needs help. The principle of Alcoholics Anonymous.
3. Stay out of the bar and red light district. Put a filter on your computer, your eyes, your mind, and your feet. Sin is crouching at your door. There are some things you don’t need to experience.
4. Ask for help. Ask for God’s help and ask a trusted friend for help. Cultivate relationships. Samson was a loner. Everything he did, he did by himself. He never mustered the troops like Gideon. He never asked for help. He was always different and did not make friends.
5. Be with God’s people and read and hide God’s word in your heart (119:11).
The good news is that his hair grew back. During this time of blinding, binding and grinding he had time to think back over his life. He had time to rebuild his relationship with God. He found that he had to die to himself so God could be glorified. Broken jars reveal the light.
This story is not just about Samson, but about God. God takes sin seriously. He sent Jesus to die as a sacrifice for our sin. We can be free in Christ from the addictions of sin. When Samson was broken, he found that God was waiting for him. God is the loving Father waiting for the wayward son.
Some need to hear this story. If you or someone you know has gone down the road of romance, revenge, or rebellion and you’re grinding under the bondage of guilt, your hair can grow back. Restoration of a relationship with God does not depend on your performance. Samson came back to God before he pushed the pillars down. He came back to God while he was still shackled. He came back to God while he was still blind. He turned back to God and God loved him.
Arrogant loners become blind slaves of the enemy. The ways of this world lead to bondage and death.
Samson died to begin the deliverance of his people. Jesus died and rose again to deliver us from our bondage. Believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and be set free.
1 Corinthians 6:14-18 The story of Samson should clarify these verses a little. God never planned for us to be like the world. We should be using a different horizon for our life’s compass. We are to be like a lonely little petunia in an onion patch.