March 21

A Sensuous Man

Samson is perhaps the best known character in the Book of Judges. We read yesterday of the unusual appearance of the angel of the Lord to his parents to instruct them as to how he was to be used of God and how he was to live according to the Nazarite vow. The Nazarite vow was one of discipline and being set apart to God – never to drink wine, touch dead things, or cut one’s hair.

We see quickly however that Samson is a man ruled by his senses and not by his vow before God. His entanglement with three beautiful Philistine women (the last of which was the infamous Delilah); his eating of honey from the carcass of a dead lion; his flashes of anger and rage; his extreme inanity in trusting the beautiful Delilah despite her obvious intentions; even his death, where he asks God for strength that he might avenge himself (not God!) on the Philistines — all these point to a man who acts on his every fleshly impulse and not according to the will of God or for His glory.

How can God use such a flawed and ungodly man? We get an indication in 14:4 that is intriguing:

4 His father and mother did not know that it (his desire for a Philistine woman) was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.

Does this mean that God put it in Samson’s heart to sin by taking a Philistine wife? James 1:13-14 tells us this is not so.

James 1:13-14 (ESV)  13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

Rather, as we have seen with Pharaoh in the time of the Exodus, God uses the sinful desires of people to accomplish His purposes. It was “from God” that Samson would act according to his own sinful desires. God often uses sinful people with wicked plans to accomplish His will. This neither mitigates their guilt nor guards them from the consequences of their sin, as we see again in the tragic death of a man with much influence and potential.

As Christians, we are not to live according to the sinful desires of our flesh, but according to the work of the Spirit in our hearts.

Romans 7:5-6  5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Are you, like Samson, governed by your senses, in the form of lust, greed, envy, gluttony, etc? Are you led by your emotions, like anxiety, anger, jealousy, fear, or depression? Are you reaping some consequences of living like Samson? Pray that God would help you submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart in making you more like Christ and less like Samson.