The story of Samson’s marriage to a Philistine raises as many questions as it answers. The Bible clearly indicates that his choice of a pagan for his bride was “from the Lord who wanted the Philistines to provide an opportunity for a confrontation.” Further, when he’s attacked by a Lion, the Spirit of the Lord gave him the power to kill the lion barehanded, but he hides this from his parents. Later, he knowingly violates the Nazarite vow by touching the carcass to get the honey, and keeps that a secret as well. Subsequently, his riddle based on the lion and the honey backfires and costs him his bride.
The thing that strikes me as applicable for us about Samson’s responses is his secrecy. I don’t think it was a sin for him to kill the lion, yet he hides it, making it all the more tempting to hide it when he willingly violates the covenant.
How often are we confronted with a situation in which we feel there is little choice, but because we feel uneasy about the result, we cover it up? An innocent search online pops up a salacious picture and we quickly click away and clear our browser history. We inadvertently neglect to check under our cart and walk out of the store without paying for something and don’t realize it until we get home.
Almost inevitably, we are presented with another opportunity where the moral choice is more clear, yet we find it easier, having covered up once, to cover up another, clearly wrong, choice.
Our pastor spoke about the principle of reaping and sowing today, and Samson’s account illustrates one of his points well. “When we participate in sin, we sow to that appetite for sin, making us crave it even more.” (J.D. Greear) When we tell what we call a little white lie, or withhold the full truth, we make it easier for us to lie the next time. When we glimpse something online that we know we shouldn’t, and hide our behavior rather than confessing and repenting, we make it all the more tantalizing to go back to it again and again. Samson turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, probably out of curiosity. How often are we lured into behavior out of curiosity? Feeding an unhealthy curiosity will lead to fascination, obsession, and addiction. Ask the person who wanted to see what it was like to play at gambling online and lost everything they own. Or the one who wondered what pornography was all about and watched it destroy their marriage.
We are at war with the prince of this world. Our adversary, who is, ironically, described as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, loves for us to hide our failures as Samson did. He gains power from our secrecy. Ordinary weapons are of no use in this battle. Instead, God provides the armor of God (Ephesians 6) and warns that we battle not against flesh and blood.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 “For although we do live in the world, we do not wage war in a worldly way; because the weapons we use to wage war are not worldly. On the contrary, they have God’s power for demolishing strongholds. We demolish arguments and every arrogance that raises itself up against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey the Messiah.”
Taking every thought captive requires us to recognize our wayward thoughts as foot soldiers of the enemy’s army. Taking them captive means we turn them over to our Commander and ask Him to dispose of them. It means calling to our comrades-in-arms, warning them of the nature of the attack we are under, and asking them to help us guard against another invasion of the same sort.