Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life. (Judges 16:30)
Sin and death walked hand in hand into the Garden of Eden. God had warned Adam and Eve that if they disobeyed Him they would die. James described the process this way, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (1:14-15) Samson stands as a living illustration of this truth.
His life was marked by compromise (Judges 16:1-3). Little by little, he abandoned his consecration to God. Flirtation with the world leads to friendship with the world; friendship then leads to courtship; courtship leads to spiritual adultery. What Samson saw, he desired, and what he desired, he experienced. He was a mighty man who could beat back a thousand soldiers, but could not conquer the beguiling form of a female. This would, at last, be his Achilles’ heel.
Samson’s judgment was clouded by the intoxicating charm of a woman (Judges 16:4-21). This brought him into the arms of Delilah and that would bring his doom. His relationship with her—as in the many before—was utterly sensual and not spiritual. Samson fell—not because he was too weak—but, was too strong. He was brim full of pride. After all, he had never lost a fight. He should have run from Delilah’s den like his pants were on fire. Scripture says, “Flee fornication.” Instead he takes the serpent to his chest and plays with it. He gets by for a while. Then the venomous fangs bring deadly poison into his life. Delilah rocks him to sleep. Samson had forsaken two-thirds of his Nazarite vow, and now abandoned the rest. Strike three and you’re out! His hair was not the source of his power, but it was in his dedication to God that his long hair represented. The Lord departed from him, and what is even worse—Samson did not know it. Sin binds, it blinds, and it grinds. Samson’s arms would no longer hold a beautiful woman, but they would be held by bronze fetters—sin binds. His eyes would never again look with lust at a lovely woman—sin blinds. He would become a beast of burden—sin grinds.
The Bible solemnly warns, “The wages of sin is death,” (Rom.6:23). Samson’s story comes to that predicted end (Judges 16:22-31). Instead of bringing glory to God, Samson inspired the Philistines to honor their idol, Dagon, and rejoice in his victory over the God of Israel. When believers fall—especially leaders of God’s people—it results in hell rejoicing. Thankfully, Samson finally sought the Lord in repentance. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” (Rom.5:20b). In the end, Samson conquered by crying out to God instead of calling on his own resources. In the final act of this tragedy, he brought down the house.
Frank Sinatra’s song, “My Way,” which is an ode to stubborn, self-centeredness that refuses to pursue any other way than one’s own way, has been popular and recorded often since Sinatra first crooned it. It could have been Samson’s theme song. Remember, however, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Prov.14:12)
Dennis Thurman has pastored churches in Western North Carolina for 36 years. Currently, he is Senior Pastor of Pole Creek Baptist Church where he has served for almost 20 years. Married to Marilyn for 40 years, they have 5 children and 11 grandchildren.
This article was originally posted on Dennis’ blog, Mountain Top Musings