(Today's post by Adam Cooper)
Fool me once shame on you,
Fool me twice shame on me,
Fool me over and over again….I am an idiot
Today’s reading takes us through a story that has been told down through the ages; the story of Samson and Delilah. However, there are some intricacies in this story that we are never told as kids but as adults they tend to stand out just a bit more.
Our story begins with Samson spending time with a woman while others plot to destroy him. Our story continues with Samson getting the best of them and escaping with his life. Oh wait….that is pretty much the entire story isn’t it? Well sort of.
Samson falls in love with a woman named Delilah whose love for Samson is only as deep as the next better offer on the table and as we see that offer is not long coming. We see the five rulers of the Philistines offering Delilah about 140 pounds of silver, 5500 shekels. In 2 Chronicles 1:17 it can be found that an Egyptian Chariot could be imported for around 600 shekels and a horse for another 150. Delilah could buy almost 37 horses. Well 36.67 to be exact. Woe be to that .67 horse! To bring this into today’s terms: silver is currently selling for $21.86 per ounce. Now this is Troy ounces so 11.9999 ounces makes a pound. Delilah’s purse from this offer in today’s dollars: approximately $21,604.80. Now I want you all to be brutally honest with yourself and raise your hand if you just said that was a lot of money! Even though I cannot see your hands, I do believe that a great number of you put your hands up. Thank you for your participation, you may put your hands down now.
Well Delilah, star struck with dollar signs in her eyes, begins to try and discover Samson’s source of power. She doesn’t pull any punches either she asks him directly. Over the next series of verses we see Delilah asking, Samson lying, and then Delilah doing exactly what Samson said would sap his power only to find out that Samson had fooled her. She does this once? NO. Twice? NO. Three times? NO. (I believe the FBI would even call this a clue!) We are told she does this day after day until Samson finally breaks and tells her the truth. Samson is subsequently captured, blinded by having his eyes gouged out (OWW!) and thrown in prison. The next thing we are told is that Samson’s hair immediately begins to grow back.
We are not told how long Samson sits in prison before the celebration that leads to the death of more philistines at one time than Samson had killed in his whole life but it can be assumed that his hair has had some time to grow back. In the end Samson calls on God to renew his strength and destroys the place where the Philistines have gathered, a great number of philistines, and himself.
Where does this tragic tale intersect with our world today? How can this have any profound impact on our lives in 2013 and beyond? The answers to these questions will rely on how honest you are with yourselves.
Delilah represents temptation. In this specific case the temptation of lust, but I strongly believe it can be temptation neutral and universally applied. Samson, like most men, suffered from a strong lustful desire. He was tempted with this desire over and over again until he finally succumbed to its power and it led to his destruction. Today men all over the world suffer with this same affliction. Many men are addicted to pornography but hide it beneath the façade that is their public persona. Many men in the church are struggling with pornography now and many others have struggled with it in their past and have managed to lay it at the cross even though the enemy continues to try and tempt them with it. And it doesn’t have to be pornography. What about drunkeness, drug addiction, or poor financial stewardship? What temptations have you faced and still face in your lives today? How many of these men that have suffered with these temptations in the past continue to flirt with that temptation now? Looking a little bit longer than you should at a scantily clad woman in a picture, staying a little too long at that company party where everyone is drinking but you, getting drawn into hanging out with old friends who happen to light up a special little cigarette. We all face temptation on a daily basis, many times a day, and it is important that we do not get worn down and finally give in to that temptation because IT WILL DESTROY US just like it destroyed Samson.
Satan would like nothing more than to drag us back into our old ways, down that path that leads to destruction. We all know Jesus defeated him at the cross, and he knows he has been defeated as well. But unlike most enemies who tend to surrender when they have been beaten, Satan continues to fight the battles with us even though the war is won. Spiritual warfare is a reality. Satan uses our weaknesses against us and wants nothing more than to keep as many of us from eternal life with God as he can. I am not one of those people who believe you can lose your salvation. I believe that if you fall away into your old sins that you were never truly saved to begin with. However, it is never too late to turn away from temptation. It is never too late to tell the Delilahs in our lives that continually try to drive a wedge between us and what we know to be true and honest and good that THEY HAVE LOST THE WAR because our great Commander has died for us and washed all of our sins clean.
What temptations do you still flirt with? Be honest with yourself and try to rely on God’s strength to help you quit.