Wrong Question

Judges 16:6-14

6So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.” 7Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” 8Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. 9 With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.

10Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.” 11He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” 12So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

13Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.” He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric 14and tightened it with the pin.

Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

Introduction

When I came up with the title of this message “Wrong Question” in relation to the ‘wrong questions’ Delilah asked Samson, God allowed me to have funny and interesting experience when I started writing this message. I have actually asked the wrong question: “How will I start this message?” and, because of that wrong question, I struggled to start writing this message. Why?

I considered sharing humorous stories to start this message. I assumed that it would prepare and make you interested in listening to this message. Anyway, most motivational speakers give humorous introduction for better atmosphere. It’s not necessarily true when delivering a message from God.

Praise God for reminding me that I needed to pray and ask Him what message He wanted me to share with you. The right question then when preparing a sermon is not to ask myself but to pray and ask God: “Lord, what is it that you want me to deliver to your people from these Bible passages?”

The rulers of the Philistines promised to give silvers to Delilah if she can lure Samson to reveal the secret of his supernatural strength. Delilah asked wrong questions to uncover the secret of Samson’s strength.

1. Secret

6So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”

Delilah bluntly asked Samson the secret on how he can be defeated. Did Delilah understand that secrets are not supposed to be revealed? If a secret is told, then it’s no longer a secret. Did Samson refuse to tell his secret because Delilah asked wrong questions? Perhaps, Samson did not trust Delilah, just yet.

7Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” 8Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. 9 With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.

After Delilah tied Samson, she also warned him of the presence of the Philistines. It’s not mentioned if the Philistine rulers came out after Delilah called Samson out. Did the Philistine rulers instruct Delilah to warn Samson about their presence? When Delilah called Samson, “The Philistines are upon you,” it may appear like Delilah presented herself adversary not as accomplice of crime.

Her warning may have deceived Samson of believing that Delilah was really concerned about his safety. Sometimes, anyone even believers can be deceived of thinking that kindness is done out of concern. Is it also possible for Christians to say the right thing at one time and make mistakes at another time?

Peter

At one time Jesus asked His disciples in Mark 8:29ff, 29“Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” 30Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.  31He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Peter thought that saving the Savior was right. Peter exemplified how we may instinctively react when we discern troubles. We want to instantly solve the problem. When the serenity of our life is disturbed, we are not ready to accept that troubles and problems are significant parts of God’s great design for us.

Most often, we make our situations more troublesome because we are preoccupied with humans concerns. As much as we want to do what’s right before God, we are also not exempted from doing unacceptable things before God.

We can identify with Apostle Paul when he said in Romans 7:24-25, 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

We may unknowingly do wicked things at some point of our life but we need to be certain that Christ has secured our salvation.

2. Secure

10Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.” 11He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” 12So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

Delilah claimed that Samson made her like a fool. If it’s not foolishness to ask someone to reveal his secret, what do you call that? And again, Delilah acted like a fool when to ask Samson how he can be subdued. It’s foolishness for the strong person to reveal how he can be defeated, right? It’s foolishness for Delilah to repeat her statement when she knew that Samson would not reveal his secret.

13Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.” He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric 14and tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

Someone said doing the same thing and expecting different result is insanity. Similarly, using the same statement and expect different result is foolishness. Insanity is another term for extreme foolishness.

Delilah may have been pressured by the Philistine rulers or her desire to receive silvers that the Philistine rulers promised her so that she can’t think of better idea on how to know the secret of the supernatural strength of Samson.

Delilah exemplified what Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:9-10, 9Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Delilah appeared like she was much concerned of getting herself rich. When the Philistine rulers offered silver to Delilah, it can be interpreted that they knew her personally, and that Delilah can be easily be tempted with silver.

If the case that Delilah would do anything just to earn her silver, it’s proper to interpret that Delilah was a prostitute. Samson may have been trapped by the smooth talk and the pleasure that Delilah had offered.

King Solomon advised in Proverbs 7:1-5, 1My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. 2Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. 3Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.” 5They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words.

It is very alarming to know that many Christians indulged themselves to pleasure, not necessarily prostitutes but intentional exploration for worldly pleasure. And they asked God why He won’t answer their prayers?

It says in James 4:3, 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

The right question in relation to prayers is: “What is it that God has prepared for me so that I may ask according to His will?”

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