Scripture does not tell us much about the growing up years of Samson except that, “And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he lived in Mahaneh-dan, which is located between the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol” (Judges 13:25)
By the time we flip to the next chapter of Judges, Samson is already a grown man. We learn that one day, He went to Timnah where one of the Philistine women caught his eye (Judges 14:1) We are not told what he went to Timnah to do but what we are told was that the minute he saw this Philistine woman, he had to have her. This was one of the weaknesses of Samson. When he got back home, he told his parents, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me” (Judges 14:2)
Samson had no regard for the feelings of his parents or for the letter of the law. Samson as an Israelite was not supposed to marry a Philistine woman. As a Nazarite he was devoted to the Lord and therefore should not even consider marrying someone who was a worshipper of Dagon. When the parents objected to this relationship, He insisted, “Get her for me! She looks good to me” (Judges 14:3)
Before we go all self-righteous and condemn Samson for this blatant disregard of God’s laws and a lack of respect for his parents, let us examine our own lives too. How many times have we said the following;
“I need to have this”.
“All my friends have it, I should have it too”.
“I have worked so hard, I deserve this”.
Every day we are assaulted with advertisements on both print and digital media. The ads are placed in such a way as to appeal to our vanity. The products are hyped in such a way that you are tempted to buy it. The desire is also reinforced when friends and associates acquire the same product and show off the features of the item.
The strategy of the devil remains the same from day one. After God had given Adam and Eve a clear directive on what they can or cannot do. Satan comes to them with the question, “Has God said?” Today the same question is being asked, “Has God said you should not have an affair outside marriage? Has God said you can’t tell a little white lie? Everyone does it, why can’t you? A little flirting does not hurt anyone”
Being consumed by the things we want can result in grave consequences as we shall see from the story of Samson. I often say that I am glad that God did not give me everything I wanted but He gave me everything I needed. God knows that if He gave us everything we wanted, we will end up destroying ourselves with it. Most of the time, the things we crave for, end up controlling us and leading us to the path we do not want to go.
When Samson’s parents realised that he had made up his mind, they followed him to Timnah. This was in effect a reversal of roles. In Biblical Jewish culture, the parents were the ones who took on the responsibility of seeking a wife for their sons. We see this in the case of Isaac when Abraham sends his servant on a journey to look for a wife for his son among his own people.
While Samson’s father was meeting with his fiancee’s family to make arrangements for the marriage, Samson threw a Bachelors party. This was a man who was under a permanent Nazarite vow, drinking and having fun with a people he was not meant to associate with. Question to you and I; How do we conduct ourselves when we are in a place far from where we are known? Do we throw all caution to the wind and engage in all kinds of activities that we would regret later?
Unfortunately, the wedding plans ended in anger, pain, suffering and death. Samson gave a riddle at his party with a bet that he eventually lost when the men threatened his fiancee and influenced her to get the answer from him. It led to Samson killing thirty men and taking off their clothes to pay his bet. He left in anger and the woman he so desired and wanted at all cost, was given to his best man in marriage. This decision cost the girl and her family their lives in a very terrible way. All these things began with a man’s desire to have something.
The next time you see that shiny thing that you must have, pause a little. Ask yourself the question, ‘Do I need this or do I just want it?’
Answering that question could help you avoid the mistakes that men like Samson made when they blindly followed after the things that they lusted after rather than wait for God to give them what they truly needed.