A Circle of Friends

Opening Prayer: 

As we take time to study your word, Father, please open our eyes that we might see life with spiritual discernment.  Amen

 

Read: Judges 16:4-6, NIV

Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”

 

Reflect: 

This passage tells the story of the third and final interaction that Samson had with a Philistine woman.  His first was to a woman as a wife, the second was to a women as a prostitute and this last is with Delilah as a mistress.  He is portrayed as a superman with God given powers.  Apparently, not only was he unnaturally strong, but he was driven by an intense desire for women who pleased his eyes.  His eyes were his undoing since when he saw a woman who pleased him, he would stop at nothing to possess the object of his desire.

The phrase “fell in love” means that he desired her and wanted to have a relationship with her.  This is at least an improvement from his first wife where he is never described as loving her.  She truly was just property.  This is made starker by the fact that we are not even given her name.  One could wonder if he ever asked her what her name was.

In Delilah’s case, we are told that almost immediately, the rulers of the Philistines came to her and offered her a fortune if she could find out the secret of his unnatural strength.  Again, one can wonder if he ever communicated with her enough to determine if she cared for him as much as he cared for her.  Samson really needed some classes on human relationships.

As everyone knows who ever went to Sunday School, Samson was to pay dearly for his lack of discernment.   One of the obvious lessons of this story is that God can use even the most flawed person to work out His plans.

 

Apply: 

Ancient heroic literature often portrays a powerful, skillful person that accomplishes terrific things as someone who, nonetheless, is brought down by a fatal flaw.  In Samson’s case it was his lack of wisdom in dealing with his attraction to women.  He was always mixing lust with daredevil actions in order to feed his need for excitement as well as the companionship of dangerous women.  He could not settle for a sweet little Jewish girl from his home town.

In all our lives we need to be on guard against seeking fulfillment from the things of this world.  Our relationships with other people need to spring from our relationship with God.  Getting married is like setting out in a boat to cross a large body of water.  In that situation, you would exercise great care in selecting a sturdy boat that is not likely to spring a leak and that will hold together until you get to the other side.  Similarly, a Christian spouse who is mature in their faith has the resources to make it through the journey of married life by practicing the spiritual gifts of faithfulness, selflessness and courage that are fortified by their faith.

When dealing with other people, we need to pray for discernment so that we enter into healthy friendships where we can be a mutual blessing.  Failing to do this can lead to unpleasant surprises.

 

Closing Prayer: 

God, please help us to be people who bless those with whom we live, work and otherwise do life.  Help us to form relationships that You can use to help us and others grow into the people you want us to be. 

Terry Schneider