Week of Monday, May 9 – Sunday, May 15
Unbridled Passion – Man as Defender

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. She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she 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 left him. And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. – Judges 16:18-21 ESV
Former CIA director Robert Gates relates a near-catastrophe that took place during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was once awakened and informed that the Soviet Union had launched an all-out nuclear attack. One minute before he was to have called the president, word arrived that the first information had been in error. Someone had accidentally inserted military exercise tapes into the missile-defense computer system. Thankfully, Brzezinski’s wake-up call was a false alarm. He remained calm and in control in a situation in which he might have fallen prey to fear or panic. He knew that if we fail to control our passions, our passions control us.[1] Unfortunately, that’s what happened to Samson. Unable to control himself, in the end he fell victim to an enemy attack.
 This champion for Israel had just tasted victory over the ever-present adversary of God’s people—the Philistines. Yet Samson made the choice to go where he should not have gone and do what he should not have done. He failed to defend against the seduction of the temptress Delilah. This ought to remind every man that the temptation to sin never dies of old age but is always crouching at the door of our hearts ready to pounce. 
 Notice that as Delilah seduced Sampson, trying to get the answer to his strength, each time he tried to deflect he crept a little closer to the true answer, until finally he gave it away and he was trapped. James outlines the process: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15 ESV). 
 Don’t miss the fact that unbridled passion became a deadly snare that entangled and ultimately destroyed Samson. Guys, I cannot tell you how many men’s lives, their families, and their testimonies have been ruined through sexual sin. Though God had blessed Samson with super-human strength and used him mightily against Israel’s archenemies, the Philistines, his sad story reminds us that regardless how great men become, they can still be too weak to resist the seduction of the flesh. British Bible expositor F.B. Meyer warned “There is always a Delilah ready to sheer off the locks of our strength, if we allow ourselves to sleep in her lap. And our strength may be gone ere we know it.”[2] 
 One of the saddest verses in all the Old Testament is 16:20: “And [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 left him.” At the end, we see Samson bound, blinded, mocked, harnessed like an animal, and even used as an occasion for the Philistines to praise their pagan god. Yet when he cried out to God for strength one last time, God graciously heard his request, and in that strength, Samson took out multitudes of the Philistines as he destroyed their pagan temple and died among them (Judges 16:30).
 Though Samson’s life ended in personal tragedy, shadowed by the waste of great God-given potential, it needn’t have happened! Men, we must never allow unbridled passion to cloud our judgment so that we forfeit everything in exchange for something temporary and ultimately unfulfilling. Remember, sin is the blast that doesn’t last, and our choices have consequences. Armed with the word of God and strengthened by the power of God, we can and must stand courageous in defense of our testimony and our King!
  • Given the warning of Samson’s example, what can you do practically to defend against allowing unbridled passion to lead to a failure?  
  • Do you have a battle buddy who can help hold you accountable when it comes to sexual sin?
  • Ask God to fill you with love for Him and His word so that you can resist temptation.  
   [1] Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997), 114.
  [2] F.B. Meyer, Christian Living (New York: Fleming H. Revel, 1892), 58.