Raising Up Deliverers
Week 10 RobCovell
In this Session, we will begin Judges 14, and study verses 1-10. Judges 14 reveals to us the damage and danger of inviting compromises into our lives. As we mentioned previously, Samson was called by God from the womb to be a great deliverer that would bring freedom Israel and bring glory and fame to God. We see the following movements in the text in this Session.
1 – We see the contrast between lust and love, obedience to God’s Law versus the self-will of the flesh.
2 – We see that grace and providence of God as He works providentially through our compromises and sin.
3 – We are open to spiritual attacks when we move out the protective boundaries that the LORD gives us in His Word.
4 – Small compromises lead to larger more destructive ones.
a) Verses 1-3 introduces us to the beginning of Samson’s compromises that eventually would rob him of his destiny to be a great Nazirite Judge and Deliverer of Israel. Samson was not motivated by godly desire by choosing a Philistine wife, but by the lust of the eyes. Samson’s desire or “love at first sight” was against the Law. See Exodus 34:17 – And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
b) 2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
c) Timnah was approximately 3 miles from Samson’s hometown and was given to the tribe of Judah by Joshua in Joshua 15:57. The meaning of Timnah means “portion”. It is not right when the enemy occupies our portion, or that which belongs to God’s people.
d) Samson’s parent’s reply shows their concerns for the Law of God. There are several cultural references that will help us understand the text. The mention of “among your relatives” is a reference to the tribe of Dan. The mention of the “uncircumcised Philistines” is a reference to the Philistines not being part of the LORD’s Covenant with the people of Israel. Samson’s insistence on marrying the Philistine woman is also dishonoring to his father and mother and is a violation of Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Samson’s reply to his father and mother was literally, “she is the straight way for me”. We should always be concerned when something looks right, but violates God’s commands in Scripture.
a) Verse 4 is interpreted one of 2 ways by theologians. 1 – This marriage was permitted by God, even though it is against His Law, God violates His own Law because He is sovereign and has the right to anything He wishes. 2 – God will work Providentially through the mistakes, sins and imperfections of His people; to accomplish as much glory as possible, in the midst of the failure. Romans 8:28
b) The one thing both sides of interpretation agree on, is that the LORD was looking for an opportunity to deliver Israel and dislodge Philistine dominance over the Israelites. When we look at the fruit of Samson’s encounter with the Philistine wife, Samson made very little progress in accomplishing this purpose.
c) My personal position is that God will work Providentially through the mistakes, sins and imperfections of His people; to accomplish as much glory as possible, in the midst of the failure. The LORD was not sanctioning this marriage nor was it His perfect will, but the LORD would work through it because Samson had a calling and destiny. Samson’s ability to co-labor with God regarding his calling and destiny, limited the amount of glory and fullness that was displayed in his life. Judges chapter 14 is a demonstration of the damage that compromising can bring to God’s children.
a) Samson, being a Nazirite was forbidden to eat grapes, their seeds, skins, their juice or drink wine. For Samson to be walking through the vineyards was to be walking in the place of temptation and compromise. See Numbers 6.
b) The lion attack was a manifestation of what was happening in the spiritual realm. When we leave the protective covering of God, we are open to attacks from the enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
a) The grace of God is revealed to us in verse 6. The LORD did not abandon Samson in his time of need, but protected him. This shows us that God is committed to us even when we are making wrong choices. This was Samson’s opportunity to learn the goodness and grace of God and make a correction. Later in Samson’s narrative, he takes the grace of God and anointing of the Spirit for granted and is defeated by his enemies.
b) Additionally, in verse 6, we see the danger of operating in the power of God without having intimate relationship with God. The power of God without the love of God is worthless. See 1 Corinthians 13:1-2.
c) Samson did not tell his father and mother because sin loves being hidden and shame is the invitation to hide in darkness. James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
a) There are cultural customs that are hidden in the text. Samson was not talking with the woman alone. Verse 7 indicates that Samson, Manoah his father, his mother, the woman and her father discussed marriage arrangements and negotiated a bride price and the conditions of the betrothal.
b) Notice in the text, we keep seeing phases to the effect that “he liked her”, “he saw her”, and “get her”. Scripture shows us that this is a one-sided love affair on the part of Samson.
a) At the end of the betrothal period, Samson and his family go back to Timnah to have the wedding feast.
b) Notice that Samson returns to the place of previous compromises and then goes another step further and breaks his Nazirite vow because he touched something dead. Once we begin drifting towards sin, it is difficult to pull away. James 1:13-16 – “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.”
a) According to cultural norms, Samson’s father paid the bride price, and confirmed the details of the marriage covenant.
b) Verse 10 says that Samson “held a feast as was customary for young men”; The Hebrew means, “a drinking party”. We are not told in the text if Samson broke his Nazirite Vow by drinking alcohol, but Samson certainly placed himself in another compromising situation.