The Snare of the Trapper - Chapter IV: Strongman with a Stronghold
Samson was more than likely the strongest man that ever lived in all of history. Dedicated to God from birth as a Nazirite and destined to judge Israel and defeat her enemies, Samson was a formidable force to be reckoned with. His great strength came from a powerful anointing given from the Almighty Himself to defeat the enemies of Israel. Today, Samson would represent a born again Spirit filled Christian, empowered and equipped for battle against the enemies of God.
The vow of a Nazirite in which Samson was dedicated involved abstaining from wine and strong drink as well as not touching anything that had died. The Nazirite could not make himself unclean before his parents and could not cut his hair, as it was the symbol of his God given strength. Samson was a strongman that had absolutely no godly character developed in his life. He was like a born again Christian that has taken a vow to follow Jesus and yet won't repent of having an evil lifestyle.
From the time of Samson's youth he was rebellious and deceptive toward his parents and although his great strength was God given just as our spiritual strength is, his heart was hell bent on rebellion. God's gifts and empowerment are irrevocable but when used in an unclean manner they can cause death, as was the case with Samson. When rebellion and lust are left unchecked and not dealt with they become strongholds that allow the enemy to gain access into our lives.
Samson's first act of disobedience was to have his parents obtain a women he had seen from the enemies camp, a young Philistine girl. His parents pleaded with him not to marry someone that was a pagan but he pressed them until he got his way. The bible explicitly says that light has no fellowship with darkness and believers have nothing in common with unbelievers. For a Christian to marry an unbeliever it always means a conflict of interest will arise.
Although set aside for the purposes of God, Samson had many character flaws that needed to be dealt with in order for him to close the doors left open for the powers of darkness to enter. It is a dangerous thing to go into spiritual warfare with an unclean heart, or with a stronghold of sin that will always lead to compromise. Samson is a type of New Testament believer showing us the pitfalls of having sin in our heart and allowing it to become a stronghold.
A stronghold is a sin in a believers heart that is not repented of or dealt with. When left unchecked it becomes stronger and ultimately becomes a fortress in one's heart that will eventually rule his life. Lust, rebellion, unforgiveness or any other fleshly sin can become a monster that will eventually lead to one's demise if not repented of. Samson obviously had a problem with lust because of his choice of women and his frequent visits to prostitutes to try and quench his insatiable desire. This one stronghold in his life allowed the enemy to gain an advantage that would later prove fatal.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10:3-5
Lust usually begins with a thought brought about by a visual experience and when allowed to stay in the mind it can take root and grow. For instance a man can look at a pretty woman and for a second he can admire her beauty, but when that thought begins to lead him to have lustful thoughts about her, that's when it needs to be put out of the mind. The mind is the ultimate battle ground and it is said that Satan cannot read it, but he can surely read one's body language. Over the years I have ministered to hundreds of men and women addicted to pornography and many were seduced at a very young age or were even molested by friends or family members.
Lust is like a drug, the more you take the more you want. To free yourself from a stronghold one must cut off the food supply and shut all the doors that have been opened. Everyone has been effected by this demonic scheme and in this day of mass media it has only gotten worse. Every where you look there are visual images of men and women, some to seduce your mind and some to seduce your pocket book by luring you to buy their product. Lust dominates the media and fuels the advertising industry, lets face it, sex sells and millions are seduced every day by a pretty face or body trying to draw them into a sale.
Samson had lust and rebellion hidden deep in his heart, not to mention the fact of his disobedience to his parents. He not only ignored their warnings about marrying a pagan women, but defiled them by giving them honey from a dead lion's carcass that he had previously killed. He was also carrying a deep scar from having his wife given to his best man, and the pain caused him to retaliate in rage against his adversaries. Wounded and betrayed Samson was a ripe target for the schemes of the devil to take him down and kill him.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire (Lust) has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:14,15
Another one of Samson's downfalls was the fact that he was always in the enemies camp and at the same time he would taunt them with riddles and subterfuge. You can't run with the enemy and run with God. Even though God was ultimately using him to defeat the enemy, at the same time Samson was a "Lone Ranger." He never seemed to be with his family or with God's people and for a believer that is dangerous! The influence of a pagan society was constantly surrounding him and the temptation that it provided opened the door to Satan's final scheme.
SAMSON AND DELILAH
Samson was truly a strongman with a stronghold and because he never dealt with the lust in his heart, it led him right into the arms of the enemy. It's like trying to charm a Cobra and believe he's your pet, as soon as you let your guard down, he will strike and kill you. Sin is just as deadly, if you allow it to remain in your heart it will ultimately destroy your life. Samson loved pagan women and he fell in love with a woman named Delilah who was about to turn his life upside down.
The very name Delilah in Hebrew means to oppress, to dry up, to make empty, or to impoverish. Samson was deceived into thinking he could handle anything that came along, but as the saying goes, love is blind. There was an old song,"When a Man Loves a Woman" and one of the verses said that he will sit out in the rain. Well, Samson was about to get wet and the devil was about to rain on his parade.
And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him. Judges 16:5
The enemies of God were about to defeat the strongest man on the planet without drawing a sword. All it was going to take was a desire out of control and a man that gave his heart to the enemy. The devil has the patience to wear you down, and he is not in a hurry, he studies his opponents very carefully. We would do well to take this story to heart and learn from Samson's mistakes in order to defeat the enemy in our life. Remember its not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.
Delilah was very direct and to the point when she said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you may be bound to afflict you." At that point Samson should have gotten up and fled the scene as the word of God says, "Flee youthful lusts." but when love and passion are involved there is a point of no return. That's why its so important not to give the enemy an open door into your life. If you have a weakness or struggle with lust, you don't hang out at a topless bar or watch Internet porn, sooner or later you will give in. If you feed the beast, he will grow larger.
In the seventies I experimented with drugs and one night I was offered some cocaine. At first it produced a very euphoric feeling, giving one a clear mind and a high that nothing could compare with. My senses weren't dulled, they seemed to get sharper and everything was clear or so I thought, but the one thing that stood out was the fact that my conscience was deadened to the point of no return, in other words, I could do anything I pleased. No conscience, no boundaries, what a diabolical scheme from the pit of hell!
Passion can produce that same euphoric feeling and when left unchecked as in Samson's case it can cause you to believe that you can handle anything that comes your way. After all, his own strength had never failed him, and he was confident that it would deliver him time and time again. That's a fatal mistake for one to be so over confident that he leaves God out of the equation and trusts in himself. Many a man has fallen, including myself, by thinking that you can overcome even if you have reached the point of no return. You cannot take fire into you bosom without being burned!
For the lips of an immoral women drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword. Her feet go down to death, and her steps lay hold of hell. Proverbs 5:3-5
Samson had finally met his match by falling for Delilah and she had a deadly scheme awaiting him. The Philistines had made a deal with her to find out the secret to his great strength and she was bound and determined to extract the information that they were willing to pay for. God has given us the ability to discern right from wrong and all of us have to make choices, including the choice to sin. Delilah took full advantage of Samson's love for her that was blinding him to the truth, and it didn't take her long to get what she wanted.
Delilah used her seductive skills to entice Samson to give up the secret of his strength. Three times she asked him what it would take to make him like any other man and three times Samson lied to her. She then pulled out the clincher that would bring this powerful Nazarite down. She said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me?" That's all it took, the bible says that she pestered him daily so that his soul was vexed, or made impatient until death, and the big man spilled his guts and told her the secret of his strength.
Samson told Delilah that if his hair was cut, representing his covering and powerful anointing from God, that he would become weak just like other men. Seeing that he had told her all that was in his heart, she called for his enemies to come and shave his head as she lulled him to sleep on her lap. Sound asleep in the enemies camp on the lap of the devil and never suspecting anything to be wrong, Samson was swarmed by the Philistines, who took him and gouged out his eyes and then bound him with bronze chains and made him a common grinder in their prison.
Blinded, bound and made a forced laborer for the enemies of God, what a sad testimony for the strongest man on earth, but that is what happens when we give in to temptation. The first thing to go when we fall into sin is that our spiritual sight and discernment is taken away, secondly we are bound by a stronghold of judgment, bronze being the symbol of judgment in the Old Testament. The Philistines represent the powers of darkness and the forced labor represents our imprisonment by the devil. Since the beginning of time, man has been deceived by the devil into choosing sin and disobedience rather than obeying the commandments of God.
At the end of his life, Samson, the mighty warrior has been made into a laughing stock before the enemies of God. Blind and defeated Samson repents of his sin and cries out for God to avenge the loss of his sight. Brought into the temple of Dagon to be made sport of Samson asks the young lad leading him to position him between the pillars that supported the temple. The enemy was unaware that Samson's hair had begun to grow and that because of his confession to God his strength was returning. In one last cry of desperation, Samson called on his God to strengthen him this one last time to destroy his enemies.
With all of his might Samson braced himself against the pillars of the temple and cried out to God to let him die with his enemies and the entire structure collapsed onto the unsuspecting crowds celebrating their short lived victory over their enemy. Sadly, Samson like so many other strongmen of God have succumbed to the ravages of sin and have destroyed, not only their spiritual life and testimony but have allowed the enemy access to kill them as well.
Samson's death could represent dying to the flesh or perhaps it could mean a sin committed unto death, never the less, it would do us well to take this story to heart and flee youthful lusts and resist the schemes of the devil. Samson could have been one of the greatest warriors of God in history, but by not dealing with the strongholds of sin that were hidden away in his heart he chose to ignore it and gave the enemy of his soul the advantage he needed to kill him.
Now therefore, listen to Me, My children; pay attention to the words of My mouth: do not let you heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; for she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death. Proverbs 7:24-27