Israel’s Playboy

 
The life of Samson, Israel’s strongman-playboy, speaks volumes to especially men today. However, women also need to understand the pitfalls of unbridled passion as well.  His story is found in Judges 13-16.  I believe every man of God needs to familiarize himself with Samson’s dilemma.

Here was a man who experienced the touch of God on his life, unlike most.  And, here was a man who unfortunately equated the touch of God with the favor of God.  And he suffered accordingly.  Look at his partial resume:

Samson killed one thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey (jawbones still kill people!)  He tied 150 pairs of foxtails together, placing a firebrand in the middle and burned the fields of the Philistines.  On another occasion, after spending the night with a prostitute in Gaza, he lifted the city gates from their foundation and escaped his would-be captors.  BUT HE COULD NOT CONTROL HIS FLESHLY DESIRES!

Samson’s parents raised their son to embrace high morals and integrity. His mother warned him against “dating” foreign women and those who did not share his Jewish roots or understand the Nazarite vow placed upon his life by God.  Chapter 13 records the story of his courtship with a Philistine woman. Despite his parent’s disapproval, Samson pursued her, eventually married her and in the end lost both her and his supposed friends.

In short, Samson may have been strong in body, but he was weak in character. But the principle I wish most to share is found in his lust-filled tryst with a Philistine prostitute named Delilah.  Their whirlwind “lust fest” is discussed in Judges 16.  Samson’s archenemy, the Philistines, used this woman to bring down the prophet-playboy of Israel.  Lust was the catalyst that eventually exposed the reason behind Samson’s strength – his uncut hair.

Samson’s sexual rendezvous with Delilah, on the surface, is marked by deception and intrigue.  The question many ask is, “Why did Samson play this cat and mouse game with the Philistine call girl, not once, not twice, but four times?” 

He had to know that Delilah was up to something notorious.  Samson knew the Philistines were pimping this woman to destroy him.  He wasn’t stupid!  Or was he?

Here’s the thing about lust:  The mind knows that lust-driven expressions lead to harm, even destruction.  The conscience sets an alarm off in our heart.  The guilt and shame associated with lust-produced activities generates enough energy to climb Mt. Everest.  However, lust, when allowed to fester in our mind and carried out in our flesh, reduces the finest and strongest of men to buffoons.

Lust is the enemy of reason and moral strength.  It overrides obvious truth and does not stop until it finds ultimate expression and release.  Lust is an animal instinct turned stupid.  Sexual promptings that are not subdued create an avalanche of unbridled passion that is not satisfied until it is satisfied!  Sexual climax, of course, remains the driving force behind any sexual encounter; but the coming together of a man and woman who live and love in the context of a godly covenant constitutes God’s overriding purpose. 

No man can expect the absence of lust-filled thoughts that attempt to hammer away at his mind gate from a sex-saturated culture.  The flesh is a fierce contender.  However, what Samson did not do was subdue his thought life and avoid ungodly sexual stimuli.  You see, the problem is not sexual gratification.  The problem comes when sexual expression is not bridled within the context of marriage.

Unbridled lust makes the finest of men – yes, even Christian men – victims of stupidity.  Samson checked out cognitively to satisfy himself sexually.  He said to himself, “I know this is wrong, I know Delilah’s is a Philistine pawn, but nothing will come of it.  I will play along and not get hurt.”  Samson gambled and lost his eyesight, his testimony and eventually his life.  High stakes gambling eventually cost him his life and Israel their Judge!

What should any man today take away from the story of Samson?  Two words come to mind:  Avoidance and subdue.  Godly men need to avoid the very appearance of evil.  Sexual stimuli bombard us from every corner of society – the Internet, Netflix, movies in general, magazines, billboards, even prime time television.  We must pick and choose only those stimuli that lead to godly morality. 

We cannot cast out the flesh, but we must learn to subdue it.  Thought lives run amuck have brought down the godliest of men.  We cannot gamble with our passions.  We MUST stop them before they prompt us to fleshly action.  Every man needs an accountability partner, who is willing to as the hard question:  “Have you looked at porn this week?”

Sexual lust solicits our attention and beckons us to “act out.”  Men of God, rise up and determine to be “vessels of honor.”

  

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