New Hope Notes
Samson: An Unlikely Voice On Building Relationships
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
Who would be better to teach us about relationships than Samson. Although the Lord had blessed him with great strength, Samson retaliated and took revenge in his relationships with others. By doing so, he failed miserably every time. Yet, through Samson’s failed relationships we are able to find wisdom that’ll help us in our relationships with others today. Let’s take a look and see what gems of wisdom Samson would give us from his broken relationships.
The book of Judges tells us Samson goes from one relationship to another. In fact, his relationships starts going downhill when he goes to the Philistines and sees a beautiful woman in a town called Timnah. He then tells his parents to get her for him. But his father advices against it because she was a Philistine and they were Jewish. Yet, Samson was mad and didn’t want to listen to his father. He insisted his father to do whatever was necessary to obtain this woman. And because Samson was big and strong, his parents conceded and did what Samson told them to do. As the story goes, he marries this woman. And then at the wedding party, he makes a bet.
As it were, his friends pull Samson’s wife to get some inside information in order to win the bet. So she begs and cries to Samson for information. And then betrays him by telling his friends. Upset with his wife, he leaves. Six months goes by and he returns. But while Samson was away his wife married his best friend. Nevertheless, Samson asks why his father married her off. And because Samsom was mad he catches foxes and puts torches to their tails. Then have those foxes run through the Philistines’ hay fields that burned the whole town.
Moreover, in retaliation the Philistines burn Samson’s father in-law and killed his wife. And in return, Samson kills a bunch of the Philistines for what they had done. This is where vengeance, anger and backlash continue throughout Samson’s life and in his relationships. Although things were bad they go from bad to worse.
Well, until Samson finally meets his match! And her name was Delilah. Samson falls head over heels in love with her. Yet unbeknown to him, the Philistines whom he’s been fighting against asks Delilah to help them. They wanted to know the secret of Samson’s strength so they could overcome him. And beautiful Delilah used her charm to lure Samson into revealing his secret.
Now because Samson had taken a nazarite vow, he could not tell her the source of his strength. So instead he tells her binding him with fresh cords will make him become weak as other men. With Philistines hiding in the closet, Delilah binds Samson while sleeping with vines and says to him, Samson the Philistines are upon you! In an instant, Samson gets up and snaps the vines off him self. Upon seeing this, Delilah tells Samson, you lied to me.
And for the second time Delilah asks Samson again why he was so strong. And again Samson lies and tells her new ropes would make him weak as other men. So while Samson was sleeping Delilah ties him with new ropes and exclaims, Samson the Philistines are upon you! Yet again, mighty Samson snaps the new ropes off of himself. Down founded but persistent, she says to him you lied to me again.
By the third time you would have thought Samson would have suspected something was going on. But he must have been blinded with foolishness. Because as Samson was lying down she asks him the same question again. And, he answers her. This time he tells her if you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom I’ll become weak. And, same as the first verse, Samson falls asleep and Delilah braids his hair. For the third time she yells out to him saying, the Philistines were upon you! And Samson simply breaks free from the braids instantly.
Persistent in getting what she wanted she says, how can you say you love me and deceive me these past three times? As it were, Samson must have been moved by this and reveals the truth. He admitted to her if he shaves his hair off, he would become weak like other men. So again she puts Samson to sleep, then shaves his hair off. As a result of this Samson looses his strength. And this is what the scriptures tell us, “Delilah said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.” (Jud. 16:20-21) I think we’d agree that Samson messed up pretty bad and paid the price for it. Yet if Samson were to speak to us today about building relationships what would tell us?
Well for one, we can learn from Samson’s life. You see, there are two teachers in life. And both of them are phenomenal instructors. The first teacher is called wisdom. And, the second is consequences.
Both teachers have lots of lessons to offer. Nevertheless, the difference between them is this. The teacher of consequences is very strict. Why? Because before she releases the lessons, it will cost your money, finances, family and marriage. And, maybe even your life.
On the other hand, wisdom will teach you the lessons learned from another person. Wisdom will show you other people’s mistakes and will ask you, what have you learned from them? From this you will be able to choose better. And above all, become wiser because of it.
Another difference between wisdom and consequence is this. Consequences demands that you make the mistake and experience the suffering. It is only afterwards that will she release the lesson to you. Whereas, wisdom will give you the lesson first. Furthermore, wisdom will let you choose whether or not you will want to experience the suffering and pain.
Therefore, it’s much better to learn from wisdom. But it would require a heart that’s open and a willingness to learn from others who have paid a huge price.
If Samson, the biggest and strongest man in the world came to your child’s school here are three things he’d say to them and to us about life and relationships. The first would be,
1. HONOR YOUR PARENTS AND PARENTS…HONOR GOD!
If Samson re-wound the tape of his life, he’d tell you it all began when he forced his parents to get a Philistine woman for him. As we recall, his father told him no, but Samson insisted. Being that Samson was huge and strong, his parents conceded their authority. After this everything started to slide downhill for him. This is when his anger surmounted and retaliation began.
In addition, scriptures tells us, “Honor your father and your mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” (Eph. 6:2-3).
Why should we honor our parents? Well, God will give your parents an inherent sense of danger when it comes to your life. At times, they’ll say no or wait to some things pertaining to your life and not even know why they’re saying them. This is their counsel to you, so listen and honor it.
Of course in today’s society there are some weird, dysfunctional, neurotic and immoral parents. But here we’re talking about parents who want God’s best in your life.
I remember when Anna and I were dating. I watched her carefully at how she treated her dad. Why you ask? Well, if she treated her parents poorly and didn’t respect them, she’d treat me the same if I was to be her husband. All in all, Anna treated her parents with respect. Therefore, early on I knew that Anna would make a great wife because she knew how to respect authority.
Here’s a priceless gem for those of you who are dating. If you see your date treating his or her parents poorly, get away from that person as fast as you can. It is more than likely that person will treat you the same way if you’re married to them. Here is a scripture that teaches us to honor our parent verses dishonoring them. “Then his father and his mother said to him, ‘Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?’ But Samson said to his father, ‘Get her for me, for she looks good to me.’” (Jud. 14:3).
And here is a word to parents. You will not win the popularity contest. But this is okay because your goal in life is to be obedient to God’s assignment on your life as a mother or father, or as a wife or husband. Because it is in the end that you will see what God has in store for you. So,
· “START BY LISTENING TO YOUR PARENTS. AND PARENTS, START BY LISTENING TO THE LORD!”
As for Samson, he left his first wife only to return finding her married to someone else. But instead of forgiving her, he retaliates. Revenge then takes place. And a cycle of retaliation to revenge takes place that never ends. “Her father said, ‘I really thought that you hated her intensely; so I gave her to your companion…’ So Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches…and put one torch in the middle between two tails. When he had set fire to the torches, he released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines…So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. Samson said to them, “Since you act like this, I will surely take revenge on you…’” (Jud. 15:2-7).
If Samson would go to your children’s school and offer wisdom while talking with them, he’d probably tell them to forgive others. And this is the second thing he’d say to them about life and relationships.
2. FORGIVING WRONGS DONE TO YOU STOPS THE DESTROYER FROM TAKING IT ALL.
If not, anger will take precedence. And listen, the enemy will keep going because you’ve give him permission by not forgiving others. Catch this, one of the greatest weapons we have against the devil is forgiveness.
Another word to parents is this. Children don’t necessarily rebel against authority. They rebel against inconsistent authority. So we’ll need to be consistent in everything that we do.
As for Samson, he gets caught by the Philistines. They then gouge his eyes out and made him a grinder in prison. Yet even after all this, he asks God for one more chance to take revenge against the Philistines. “Then Samson called to the LORD and said, ‘O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.’” (Jud. 16:28). As it were, Samson died while taking revenge against the Philistines. He never forgave anyone. Instead, his life ended on the path of vengeance. Therefore, if Samson could give us another lesson on relationships, it would be for us to…
· LEARN TO FORGIVE.
Please catch this, forgiving is not being passive. In fact, it takes more courage and strength to forgive than you’ll ever realize. Did you know the devil will take a little bit when something bad happens in a relationship? More importantly, un-forgiveness will give him permission to take the rest. So be careful.
The third and final thing Samson would say to us about life and relationship is,
3. FIGHT FOR YOUR FAMILY. IF YOU DON’T, NO ONE WILL.
Here is what I say to business men and to Pastors as I travel all over. One day, you’re going to pack your bags, clean out your desk and walk out your office, out of your shop or classroom. You’ll retire one day therefore you’ll be walking out of something. Now when you walk out of something you’ll need to walk into something else. Just imagine if you destroyed your family and close relationships? You won’t have anything to walk into. Therefore, preserve your relationships with your family and fight for it.
If you’re a single person, your family will be those who would be crying at your funeral. Now when Samson died, guess who came around? “Then his brothers and all his father’s household came down, took him, brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. Thus he had judged
· FIGHT FOR YOUR FAMILY.
All in all, in an unlikely voice on building relationship, Samson was the one who gave us wisdom to learn from instead of consequences. In recapping, his words for us would be to honor your parents and for parents to honor God. We can all do this by listening to our parents. And for parents to listen to the Lord. And, if we should come across relationship issues we should learn to forgive. Because forgiving wrongs done to us stops the destroyer from taking it all. And finally, to forgive a family member when need be. This is how we’ll fight for our families. And, by doing so it honors God!
Q1) Do you honor your parents by respecting their advice and counsel to you?
Q2) If a parent, do you have God’s best for your child?
Q3) Is there anyone in your family that the Lord is asking you to forgive?
Q4) List (1) practical positive thing that you can do for your family that no one else
Q5) How can you be a better person because of what you’ve learned today?