Thursday, January 20, 2011

selfishness can make you uncaring

When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up again, for he has told me all his heart." Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands.
Judges 16:18

Samson's undoing was his selfish pursuit of sex. Every run-in that he has with the Philistines, he has in the sexual pursuit of a Philistine woman. It began with the woman he wanted for his wife. It moved on to a relationship with an unnamed prostitute in Gaza. It culminated in his "relationship" with Delilah whose was instructed by Philistine officials to seduce Samson. The enemy knew his weakness and created the means to cater to his selfishness.

Three times Samson toys with Delilah. Three times he wakes up in her bedroom and fights off the attacking Philistines. He had to realize that her pestering of him to know the secret of his strength was a trap. But he fell for the bait every time. His selfishness led to carelessness and then to not caring about it at all. It is at this last stage that he experienced failure in complete humiliation. He told Delilah all about his Nazirite vows. Though his spiritual unravelling began well before that, it finalized with that revelation to her. He obviously did not care about his relationship with God at all. It was all about his relationship with this woman who gave him the pleasures he craved.

And every Sunday School kid knows the outcome of this story. Delilah calls in the barber while Samson sleeps. His head is shaved. The Philistines subdue him, blind him. and sentence him to a life of manual slavery. He gets to do the work of a draft donkey... grinding grain at the prison mill. It is at this point that repentance of a sort comes upon Samson. He talks to God (rather than listening to himself) for the first time in his life. God answers his prayer and in his last act, Samson delivers Israel from more Philistines in his death than he ever did in life.

Samson is a warning against the self-driven agenda. We live in a culture where the "good life" and personal desires are the drive for almost anyone. But the biblical worldview warns us that such thinking ends in personal tragedy, as evidenced in Samson. God wanted to do so much with him. I believe that Samson had so much untapped spiritual potential because of his selfishness. In the end, it was better for him to be a spectacularly selfish dead national hero than a living judge playing around with the Philistines.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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