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SAMSON THE SUPER FOOL
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Based on Judges 16
Charles Steinmetz was a puny little man less than five feet tall and a hunchback. He was not very impressive to look at, but he was a giant in intellect. When he came to the United States from Germany in 1889 he was considered a genius in the field of electricity. General Electric wanted him to come and work for them, but he refused to leave the company who had sponsored him as a poor immigrant. G. E. wanted him so bad that they bought the entire company to get him. They had a problem they had to solve. The problem was lightning. When it struck it melted power lines and damaged transformers and generators. They needed someone to study lightning, and to discover the secret to controlling it. Steinmetz was their man. He studied lightning and learned how to reproduce it. Then he developed the lightning rod that would send its power into the ground.
Lightning is a tremendous power, but even a little man like Steinmetz could learn how to control it by learning some of the secrets of its power. Learning the secrets is the name of the game. That is why the world is full of spies. If you can learn the secrets of other nations, you have some control over their power. Much of the labor of life is to learn secrets. Nature has many secrets that keep science busy. Government has top secrets; business has trade secrets; alcoholics and gangs have their social secrets, and families have their dark secrets. People are fascinated by secrets, and that is why the paper and magazines sell like crazy. It is because they reveal the secrets of celebrities and politicians.
The story of Samson and Delilah have always been fascinating to many, and that is why it is a popular theme for Hollywood to develop. You can't ask for a more appealing theme, for it has love, sex, violence, and all of it revolving around the exciting story of probing for a secret. Delilah would never be known in history, but would have been just another obscure woman used by men had she had succeeded in discovering the secret that made Samson the most powerful man in the world. Here is the weaker sex winning a major battle in the war of the sexes because Samson, so strong in body, was weak in mind.
Clarence Macartney portrays Samson as the great joker of the Bible. His best joke brought the house down, and made a deep impression on everybody. Horse play was his specialty. He cared off the gates of Gaza and put them on the top of the hill. He is the equivalent of the present day superman and Halloween pranks. It use to be a standard prank to take people's gates and put them on top of a barn. Samson was a showoff with his power. God endowed him with such superhuman strength. Samson is probably the best reason you need as to why God does not do this very often. Samson never got around to taking life seriously until it was almost too late. Life was all fun and games for him. He got his way with the Philistines and with women, and basically just lived a life of a spoiled giant.
It is hard to feel sympathy for Samson in his tragic fall, for the temptation was so weak that led to his fall. We could see how Joseph might yield to the temptation of Potiphar's wife. The need was there and the opportunity was ripe. She was very available and persuasive. All the ingredients were there for a fall, but he did not fall, and so he became one the of the greatest examples of the power of a loyal life. Samson, on the other hand, had little or no pressure. He had no sexual need unsatisfied, for he freely used prostitutes, and was sleeping with Delilah on a regular basis. She was not offering him anything he did not already have. He had nothing to gain by telling her his secret except to stop her nagging.
His behavior seems inexcusable, and if it was not for the gouging out his eyes and making him blind, it would be hard to feel sorry for him. His folly off sets so much of the good of his life that it is really hard to admire Samson, and think of him as an example to follow. He was a total abstainer from alcoholic beverage, but it seems superficial to exalt him for that. When we see he did not abstain from immoral sex, and from bloody and unnecessary violence. His gambling over a riddle led him to commit cold blooded murder to pay off his gambling debts.
He obeyed the Nazarite vow and never cut his hair, but even this is hard to get excited about when we see him telling his secret to a woman who a blind man could see was out to do him no good. Samson was already blind before he lost his eyes, for he had become so worldly that he lost all sensitivity to the leading of God's Spirit. Samson was one of those men who could have any woman he wants, and anything he wants. He has life under his control, but you get the feeling he is an excellent example of why all the women in his life betray him. He is primarily a lover of himself, and not of the women. His love for them is basically his sex drive operating. That is not bad, but when that is all there is, it is not good. Women know when they are just being used. The first woman he loved and wanted for a wife betrayed him. She found out his secret about the riddle, and told it to the Philistines.
You would think Samson would remember how he had gotten burned, but when he got involved with Delilah it was something of a rerun. She was begging him for his secret just as his bride had once begged. Does he show any suspicion? Not at all. He is so gullible. He is so egotistical that he cannot conceive that any woman would want to betray him. He feels any woman he loves would rather die than lose his love. Samson is a slow learner, and the result is he has to learn the hard way. Experience was not his best teacher, for it cost him his eyes and his life. Delilah is betraying him for money. He is the strongest man alive and could give her plenty of money, and all the security she could ever want, and yet she is betraying him for money. Obviously she saw through Samson. If he really loved her she may have told the Philistines to get lost, but it was clear to her that he was just using her, and so she would in turn use him.
This is not much of a love story if you have a high view of love. Love for sex, and money, and love for violence dominate the whole account. The tenderness, commitment, and loyalty of true love is conspicuous by its absence. Samson thinks Delilah is madly interested him and every detail of his manly life. In reality, all she can think of is the rich garments and jewels, and the villa by the seashore that will be hers if she can get this sucker to open up. She is being selfish and cruel, and is using Samson, but she is no fool. She knows what she is doing, and she knows she is being used as a decoy and stool pigeon, but she is glad for the work. She reveals the power of the female over the male. Samson could carry away the gate of the city, but he could not prevent her from breaking down the gate of his defenses. Samson was the strongest man in the world, but he was defeated by the so-called weaker sex. Man has the physical strength, but woman has the physical beauty, and so there is a balance of power built into the male female relationship. Over all women probably get their way as often as men because of their power to move men by their beauty.
Sex is a great friend, but what a vicious enemy. It has brought more mighty men to defeat than any other single enemy. David, the bravest warrior, fell because of his lust. Solomon, the brainiest of all leaders, fell because of his love for many women. Samson, the brawniest of men, fell because of his lust that blinded to an obvious trap. Bravery, brains, and brawn, will not protect a man from the beauty of the female. The only escape from the trap of being lured by lust is a love and loyalty to one woman. The best way to avoid being a super fool is to love your wife as Christ loved the church. The super fool status of Samson is gained, not because he chose to horse around with his great gift, but because while he was horsing around he was experiencing unconscious deterioration.
This is a theme that many preachers have stressed about Samson. He was not even aware that he was going down hill, and was decaying inside before he lost his eternal power. Sibley wrote, "Premeditated evil has slain her thousands, unconscious deterioration has slain her tens of thousands." When an enemy comes charging at you doses of adrenaline begin shooting into your blood stream, and you will react to the danger. But when the enemy creeps up silently and unnoticed, you have no such aid. This is the way worldliness creeps up on the child of God. It comes so slow that we are unconscious that we are changing. We do not realize that we have left behind the serious commitment of another day. We become shallow in our spiritual life, and service for God gets pushed to the back burner, and we get caught up in the things of this life. Before you realize it you can be like Samson, and not even realize that the power of God has left you.
The fact is, nobody can spend all their time with the Philistines and not become like them. Samson was forever finding his kicks with the Philistine women, and developing a sensual life style just like them. A Christian today who spends a lot of time with worldly people, but not like Jesus did to love them and show them a better way, but in order to enjoy their life style, will soon be one of them for all practical purposes. Samson is a shocking example of a man of God, but you would not have to look far in our culture to find many Christians who walk in his footsteps. The only difference is that the foolish Christian today is no where nearly as strong, but that does not keep them from being equally foolish.
The more one is like Samson the greater will be the danger. Samson means sunshine, or some say, "Sunny." He was such a cheerful, jolly, and fun loving guy that almost everybody liked him. He had his flaws, to be sure, but he was one of those guys so enjoyable to have around that his flaws were overlooked. This can be a curse, for it permits you to get by on your personality, and you do not stop to examine whether or not it is good to be liked by everybody all the time. You just fit in and take it as it comes. You get molded by your environment and circumstances. Strong as he was, Samson was not in charge of his life, but was at the mercy of the life he had chosen to get involved in. It is a paradox that the strongest man in the Bible is also a key example of weakness.
This happens frequently in history. Oscar Wilde is one of the great tragedies of the 19th century. He was brilliant and won highest academic honors. He was a marvelous writer and won highest awards in literature. He had charm, and he was kind, but he could not escape temptation to lust. He wrote in his book DeProfundis, "The gods have given me almost everything. But I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease....Tired of being on the heights I deliberately went to the depth in search of new sensation....I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber, one has some day to cry aloud from the house-top. I cease to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and I did not know it. I aloud pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace."
Samson's story is not an example to follow. It is an example of how easy it is to abuse and lose the gifts of God. Much of the tragedy of history is due to this. Samson could have been all we dream of being if we had his gifts. But there are many who have far fewer gifts and opportunities than us, and they dream of what they might do if they were us. Yet we may be just like Samson. We may be doing just as we please and letting our gifts be mere toys rather than tools by which we do the will of God. Let us not be April fools, or anytime fools, and especially not super fools by using our life and gifts only for self-pleasure. Let us be wise and use every gift and every opportunity to do that which pleases God.
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