Unpopular Included

Judges 16:1-5

1One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. 2The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”

3But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

4Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. 5The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.”

Flu Season

It’s flu season. Sneezing is expected. Which is more excusable to you: sneezing or farting? Sneeze could possibly spread virus. Accordingly, the fart of a person with flu can also spread virus. Yet, more people would bless those who sneeze but felt disgusted when a person farts. Interestingly, when someone farts while sneezing, it tickles observers and seldom makes one feel sorry.

Many people consider it disgusting to pick one’s nose to remove dirt in public, but accept those who may to retouch make up or comb hair in public. People make fun of it when hungry stomach makes grumbling noise but cannot readily accept when one makes noise while chomping or chewing food. Such is human nature. We choose ideas, activities or beliefs that suit our lifestyle.

It is not surprising that more believers may prefer to explore the bravery of Samson but cannot find no equal attention to his habit of finding pleasure.

1. Pleasure

1One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. 2The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”

The author mentioned Samson’s pleasure interest not just to expose his human weakness but prove that God uses our interests in life for his purposes.

The Philistines had waited for their chance to get revenge against Samson. Yet, even before Samson was born God has chosen him to destroy the Philistines.

Isaiah testified it in Isaiah 49:1, 1Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

Can you accept that God has called you even before you believe Christ or even before you were born? Some of us may use limitations, weaknesses and flaws as excuses to delay the Lord’s call. Samson was a Nazirite from birth. He was consecrated for the services of the Lord even before he was conceived. He was never near perfection. And, Samson had a habit to seek pleasure.

3But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

When Samson dismantled the city gate and carried them for more than 60 kilometers from Gaza to the top of the hill near Hebron—that’s incredible effort.

It illustrated the supernatural strength of Samson from the Lord.

Did Samson commit immorality when he spent the night with a prostitute? Why did God not take the supernatural strength of Samson away if he committed immorality? Was morality in the Old Testament more flexible than in the New Testament? Christ said in Matthew 5:28, 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Is it proper to use the declaration of Christ to condemn Samson’s habit of seeking pleasure? Christ has instructed also to love our enemies, right? Why did God use pleasure-seeker Samson as His instrument to destroy Israel’s enemies?

If Samson was a Nazirite consecrated for God’s service, why did he often visit the land of the uncircumcised, much more to sleep with a prostitute? Samson has fulfilled God’s purposes for him but the consequences of his actions were not disregarded. He led Israel for 20 years but he suffered for his lifestyle later.

Normally, we are quick to notice the weaknesses of others but we are slow to notice our own flaws. God has planned to include even unpopular lifestyle. Every believer had been called for God’s purposes in spite of our flaws.

It says in Jeremiah 1:4-9, 4The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 6“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 7But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. 9Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.

Bible scholars suggest that Jeremiah started his ministry at a very young age (about 13-17 years old). Everyone may agree that teenagers had many things to learn. Like Jeremiah, we may find excuses to delay obedience. Samson was God’s instrument although he had a lifestyle to seek pleasure and passion.

2. Passion

4Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. 5The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.”

The Valley of Sorek was located more than 40 kilometers from Gaza but Many thought that Delilah was the same prostitute Samson slept with in Gaza.

Nonetheless, the Hebrew word translated as “woman” to describe Delilah has been interpreted also as adulteress or concubine.

It’s normal for Samson to be attracted to a woman. He was passionate to marry Delilah despite of her questionable background. Did God use Samson’s passion to encounter the Philistines? The Philistine rulers promised Delilah to give 1,000 shekels of silver (about 13 kilograms of silver or CDN$ 7,735).

(As of this writing, market price for silver is about CDN$ 595/kg of silver).

How many Philistine rulers had promised to give Delilah 1,000 shekels of silver? Was Delilah attracted to the promised silver or was she scared of them?

Those are some interesting information that may attract Bible scholars to ponder but we can observe the tendencies of Samson to seek pleasure, and he was also passionate to marry someone with questionable character, but Samson’s lifestyle was included when the Lord chose him as leader of Israel.

Samson’s story is very unique. It was never repeated again. It is not proper to use his pleasure-seeking lifestyle as pattern for Christian living but we may learn that when God chooses someone for His purposes, it includes unpopular flaws. Why? God is glorified when we serve Him in spite of our weakness.

1 Corinthians 1:27 says, 27God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Apostle Paul testified in 2 Corinthians 12:10 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We’ve got desire to serve the Lord because it’s God’s purpose when He called us into His kingdom. We came to know Christ for His purposes. At this time, some may still have many reasons and hesitate to serve the Lord in the ministry He has called them to be involved with. In His right time, they’ll find out that God chooses them not because of what they know but because it’s His will.

God made everything beautiful in its time. The Hebrew word translated “beautiful” can be interpreted as appropriate, fitting, fair, well or pleasant. In short, God made everything acceptable to Him according to His standards.

If you buy something special for you, do you let others choose? Would you pay for something that is not suitable to your taste? Similarly, would God choose us because we did our best or because He approves it? Did God call you into His kingdom because you were good or because you are acceptable to Him?

It teaches us in Galatians 6:9, 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

We cannot become perfect in God’s eyes doing good works. By human effort, it is wearisome doing what’s good. By God’s grace, we enjoy it. Good works are proofs that God is transforming us into perfection acceptable into His perfect heaven. Flaws, weakness or unpopular habits are included when God called us to transform us into a perfect and flawless person He planned for us.

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