Samson grew up in a good Jewish town, sheltered from the awful sinfulness of the pagan Philistines who lived nearby. There was no boundary between Israel and Palestine in that area, cities of each were interspersed throughout the region. Pious Jews kept strictly to themselves, though. As a Nazarite Samson grew up in a culture where women were very modest, quiet and withdrawn. There was very little contact between unmarried men and women. Perhaps plans had even been made for Samson to wed a local village girl. Then everything changed.
For some reason (and we have no idea what it was) Samson went to a nearby Philistine town named Timnah (14:1). Why he went to his mortal enemies no one knows. Why was he attracted to that which God was stirring in him to destroy? Why have anything to do with that which was under God’s judgment?
In a very influential time in life, when he as a male was quite open and susceptible, Samson was hit with pagan sensuality in a very ripe form. Tall, blond, brazen Philistines girls would come up to him and openly flirt. Their extreme immodesty and gross immorality probably both attracted and repelled young Samson. Perhaps his elderly parents had not properly prepared him for such things. Anyway, Samson found he had a real weakness of the flesh for sexual things, a weakness that he would never learn to control and which would eventually kill him. Instead of turning and fleeing, as Joseph did from Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:12) and we are told to do when his with temptation (I Corinthians 10:13), he gave in.
Immediately he wanted to marry a girl from there (14:2; 3b). He mistook lust for love. He didn’t know her well as a person (as later developments will show) but was just taken by her outer appearance. Satan used one of his favorite temptations on Samson at a vulnerable time in life and he fell fast and hard — as have many men since. This wrong start led to a life of misery and defeat because of lack of sexual control. What a sad story, but how common today.
THE PROBLEM OF LUST TODAY It’s not hard for men today to identify with Samson. A 1993 Promise Keepers survey of 1,500 men showed that 51% struggle with masturbation; 51% fantasize about having sex with women other than their wife; 15% have been unfaithful to their wife and 33% regularly look at sexually oriented material (videos, magazines, etc.). Things today are sexually oriented.
It seems like life has few mysteries left. Science has an answer for everything. Man had turned from God and the supernatural, putting himself in its place. Still, something in man cries for a little transcendence. Sex seems to provide that. Its the only thing we can’t analyze under a microscope, can’t figure out, can’t bring under our power. There is almost something magical and mystical about its power. No wonder we even call our female models “goddesses”. This shows man thirsting for something greater than himself, something above and beyond everything else in life. This is a spiritual yearning that only God can fill, but man is trying to fill it with sex instead. When we fixate so much on naked bodies we are just showing a need to go even deeper, to lay out our souls naked before God. Our preoccupation with sex, which in many has become a compulsion, shows a deeper longing for something real and meaningful in life. Sex has become Satan’s substitute for God, an idol many now worship. But idols never satisfy, and we know what God says about idolatry.
In a day and age when addictions and compulsions seem to be abounding, we must recognize that sex is one of the leading bondages. Evangelists, church leaders, pastors and Christian men by the score are being defeated and destroyed by this. Even worse, most men deny the power that sexual compulsions have over them. “I can stop any time I want” is the lie they believe. They are heading down a greased sliding board, gaining speed and momentum, promising themselves they can and will stop. Even after they crash in flames at the bottom, they fail to see the real problem. Samson didn’t. (CONTINUED NEXT WEEK)
PRAY: Where does you strongest sexual temptation come from? How can you prevent as much of it as possible? What are you doing to have victory over it?
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available for free.)