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Samson led God’s Family against God’s enemy, the Philistines, for 20 years. He was superpower strong with God-sized muscles. (Now, I don’t know if those were muscles you could see with your eyes or not. All we know from the Bible is that he was superpower strong.)
One time he grabbed the doors of a city gate and pulled them right off. Then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of a hill!
But, even though Samson was superpower strong, he was about to find himself in some trouble because he was missing something else — WISDOM.
You see… Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, but she was not an honorable lady. The rulers of the Philistines went to visit her and said to her, “Trick Samson! Find out what makes him so strong and how we can overpower him and humiliate him. Each one of us will give you 1,100 silver pieces of money.”
That was a lot of money. Delilah wanted that money more than she cared about Samson. So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me what makes you so strong and how you can be defeated and humiliated.” (Oh no, here we go again. Let’s see if Samson learned his lesson from his first wife.)
Samson said to her, “If they tie me up with seven strings from a bow, I will become weak and be just like any other man.”
So Delilah had the rulers of the Philistines bring her seven strong bowstrings, and they hid in Samson’s room. Once Samson was asleep, Delilah tied Samson up with them and said to him, “Samson, Samson the Philistines are here!”
When he heard that he jumped up and with a little shake, shake, shake, he snapped those bowstrings as easily as a thread of yarn snaps when it’s put close to fire. That wasn’t the secret of his strength, was it?
So Delilah said to Samson, “You tricked me and told me lies! That hurts my feelings. Now tell me how you can be overpowered.”
He said to her, “If they tie me tightly with new ropes that have never been used, I will become weak and be just like any other man.” (We know this rope thing isn’t gonna work, don’t we?)
But Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them and said to him, “Samson, Samson, the Philistines are here!” But once again, he jumped up and with a little shake, shake, shake, he tore the ropes from his arms as if they were just a piece of thread.
Delilah said to Samson, “You lied to me again. Please tell me how you can be overpowered.”
He said to her, “If you weave the seven braids of my hair into the fabric on the loom, I will become weak and be like any other man.” So she made him go to sleep. She wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric on the loom and fastened it with the pin (he’s a pretty good sleeper, isn’t he?). Then Delilah said to him, “Samson, Samson, the Philistines are here!”
Again, he woke up and with a shake, shake, shake, tore away the pin of the loom and the fabric.
Delilah was so upset, she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you will not share your secret with me? Three times you have lied and deceived me and have not told me what makes you so superpower strong.”
She whah, whah, whah, nag, nag, nagged him every day until he was sick to death of it.
Finally he told her his secret. He said to her, “My hair has never been cut, for I have been dedicated to God from the time I was in my mom’s tummy. If my hair was shaved off, my strength would leave me; I would become weak and be just like all other men.”
Oh no… This is not smart, is it? He had already been tricked by his first wife, and now he just let the same thing happen again! When you do something foolish — you should learn from it. When you do something bad — learn from it. When you make any mistake at all — learn, learn, learn from it! Don’t make the same mistakes again and again! That’s not smart!
When Delilah saw that Samson had told her his secret, she sent for the rulers of the Philistines, saying, “Come up here again, for he has told me the secret of his strength.” So the rulers of the Philistines went up to visit her, bringing the silver with them.
She made Samson go to sleep on her lap. Then called a man in to shave off the seven braids of Samson’s hair. When he did, Samson’s superpower strength left him.
So once again, Delilah called out, “Samson, Samson! The enemy Philistines are here!”
He woke up and thought, “I will do as I did before and just do a little shake, shake, shake to free myself.” (He didn’t realize that God had left him.) He jumped up and shake, shake, shake — but he could not free himself. The Philistines pounced on him. Then he tried with all his strength to get free from them — but, nope, Samson’s strength without God was nothing. He could not get free. He was captured by God’s enemy.
The enemy Philistines poked out his eyes and bound him in bronze chains. They made him a worker in their prison.
With God’s power — just a little shake, shake, shake can free us from our enemies. Without God, even if you use all your strength, it’s never enough.
Some time later the rulers of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their false god. They said, “Ha! Ha! Ha! Our god has handed Samson over to us.”
The Philistines praised their false god, and said, “Our god Dagon has handed Samson over to us! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!”
They said, “Bring out Samson so we can laugh at him!” So they brought Samson from the prison and made him do funny stuff while they laughed at him.
After they made fun of him for awhile, they made him stand between two pillars of the building.
Now one thing I didn’t mention yet is that while Samson was in prison, his hair had started to grow back. So Samson had an idea. He said to the young man who had led him there to the pillars, “Position me so I can touch the pillars that support the building so that I can lean on them for some rest.” So the young man did as Samson asked.
Now the building was filled with God’s enemies, and all the rulers of the Philistines were there. There were 3,000 men and women on the roof watching and laughing at Samson.
Samson cried out to God, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me! Give me your superpower strength just one more time.”
Then Samson took hold of the two middle pillars that supported the building, with his right hand on one and his left hand on the other, and he began to push against them.
He push, push, pushed… And he didn’t just have little ole Samson strength, but once again had God’s superpower strength. The building began to crack and crumble and then it collapsed on the rulers and all the people inside it (on Samson too).
Samson killed more of God’s enemies in his death than he had killed during his life.
So even though Samson made a big mistake with Delilah, when he cried out to God, God heard him and was gracious and kind to him. Do you know why? Because our God is a God of mercy and compassion, full of loving kindness. He didn’t just give up on Samson when Samson made a foolish mistake (even though there were consequences for it). God was still there, still involved, and He even gave Samson one last big way to do what He had created Samson to do — to help deliver God’s People from their enemies!