The story of Samson and Delilah is one that I've heard since I was a little kid. Knowing the temptation to gloss over a familiar story quickly, I purposed to really study it this time through, and I found something I had never seen before. When Samson was asked by Delilah about the source of his strength, he avoided the question for a long time. In fact, the Bible says it was a period of months (the same length of time that Joseph avoided the advances of Mrs. Potiphar). The ESV reads in verse 16 that Samson's "soul was vexed to death." He truly loved Delilah, and he was troubled about keeping this part of himself from her. So finally he caved (something that Joseph didn't do), and Samson exposed his heart. It's dangerous for a person to expose his heart to just anyone, and Samson chose poorly. The thing that really gets me is the chain of events in Samson losing his power:
- Samson tells Delilah that his strength is in his hair (and he truly believes this)
- Delilah cuts off Samson's hair
- Delilah torments Samson and his strength leaves him
Did you notice when Samson's strength left him? It wasn't when his hair was gone. Samson's hair had nothing to do with his strength. In fact, earlier in Judges we read that the Spirit of the Lord "rushed" on Samson and gave him strength. Samson, however, believed that his hair was the source. What a tragic mistake. The hair simply reflected a life surrendered to God, and when he gave up the surrender, he gave up the strength.
What is the source of your strength? Do you look to your own abilities? Or do you trust in the Lord? When Samson seeks the Lord again, the Lord uses him to wreak havoc on the Philistines. Ultimately Samson's pride cost him his life. Hopefully the same won't be true of me!
*-Painting taken from Honthorst Gerrit van Samson and Delilah