“Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother to Timnah.”
Judges 14: 5, King James Version
“Choices That Open The Gate”
“Their mothers had finally caught up to them and been proven right. There were consequences after all; but they were the consequences to things you didn’t even know you’d done.”
What unexpected consequences have resulted because of the choices I have made?
How did my decisions affect others in ways I could never have imagined?
“No doing without some ruing.”
“It is often interesting, in retrospect, to consider the trifling causes that lead to great events. A chance encounter, a thoughtless remark – and the tortuous chain reaction of coincidence is set in motion, leading with devious inevitability to some resounding climax.”
The dating years of my life are not highlights in my memories. Like Samson, I was head-strong and demanding. I didn’t want or accept advice well, if at all! Believe me when I say, I paid a heavy price for a shattered heart. Even when my heart was put together again, I have repeatedly found it contains shards of broken glass that never completely go away.
Today, we’re going to begin a five day series that will explore the relationship Samson had with a girl in Timnah, who, the Bible tells us, “pleased” Samson. Quite unfortunately, when we hear about Samson, his life is usually linked to Delilah and I think it is because she is the person who is given credit for ultimately bringing Samson down. However, and this is a significant point, Samson’s fall began way before Delilah ever entered the picture. In fact, I would surmise that sometime in the camp of Dan, the headstrong Samson, who was admired for his strength and good looks, his reputation and his promise, began to become focused on himself. When this happened, his selfish desires chipped away at God’s purpose for his life.
To paraphrase the words of one Christian author, “One wrong step can clear the way for another.”
Just imagine if you were Samson and you felt called by God to go to Timnah to fulfill the purpose for which you were born. But immediately upon arriving in the city, someone caught your fancy. You couldn’t take your eyes off the person. You were drawn. You were smitten. And this person became all you could think about.
Oh, it was a very small thing at first. You just turned your head and looked. However, that’s all it took and you were hooked.
What we must remember about Samson’s foray into Timnah is that the girl in Timnah didn’t come after Samson. He pursued her. He went to his parents, demanding they go, “get her for me.” Finally, his parents caved-in to Samson’s demands. And this is when they got dragged into the mess, as well.
One look. One desire. One demand and what do we find were the results? Samson’s parents were brought into the mix. So were the parents of the girl in Timnah. And on a broader scale, so were the Israelites and Philistines. With one false step, Samson gave the enemy, the godless Philistines whom he was called to conquer, insight into his profound weaknesses. Armed with this knowledge, the Philistines decided not to mess around with an amateur the next time around. They hired a professional hit woman, for as we will soon find out, this is exactly what Delilah was.
Instead, in the case of the girl in Timnah, Samson came into town as a knight in shining armor with a proposal for his damsel. Bringing his parents to town, Samson ordered his father to arrange for his marriage and this is exactly what happened.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at what happens when we say, “I do,” to the wrong person, because this was the result for Samson, and the young woman he married and for both their families. Everyone got hurt!
I’ll never forget a discussion I had many years ago with my dad, who was attempting to provide his wayward daughter with some sound advice. When he finally stopped his “lecture,” as I considered it, I responded, “My choice doesn’t affect you. You don’t have to date this person, I’m the one who is going out with them, not you.” A painful look crossed my dad’s face when he spoke again, “Dorothy-girl, anything that affects the child I love, affects me too.”
This is the story of the life of Samson. And it is your story and mine. For our heavenly Father, our Creator, who loves us with an everlasting love, has given each of us what I call the greatest gift in the world, the gift of the power of choice. When God created me, He could have implanted me with an “obedience chip” that turned me into a heavenly robot, allowing me to do or say only what I’d been programmed to do. But instead, God created each of us with the power of choice – the ability to think, to reflect, and to make decisions based on the facts we study, see and learn. This is why the Bible is such an essential key in helping us unlock the door to God’s path of life. For when you and I use our power of choice for selfish means, and the consequence brings pain to those around us, never forget, it hurts our heavenly Dad, as well.
By looking at Samson’s life and his relationships with his parents and the women with whom he chose to associate, we find instruction that can serve as a compass to us everyday.
As in Samson’s life, so too in ours. There’s no such thing as a small decision. There’s no such thing as my choices not affecting others.
May our prayer be that of Amy Carmichael who penned these instructional words: “From easy choices, weakening…O Lamb of God, deliver me.”
“If I could shut the gate”
“If I could shut the gate against my thoughts
And keep out sorrow from this room within,
Or memory could cancel all the notes
Of my misdeeds, and I unthink my sin:
How free, how clear, how clean my soul should lie.
Discharged of such a loathsome company!
Or were there other rooms without my heart
That did not to my conscience join so near,
Where I might lodge the thoughts of sin apart
That I might not their clam’rous crying hear;
What peace, what joy, what ease should I possess
Freed from their horrors that my soul oppress!
But, O my Saviour, who my refuge art,
Let thy dear mercies stand ‘twixt them and me.
And be the wall to separate my heart
So that I may at length repose me free;
That peace, and joy, and rest may be within,
And I remain divided from my sin.”
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, ChristianBook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal.
If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at a 30%-50% quantity discount for your Women’s Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please visit:www.direct2church.com or email direct2church@Bakerpublishinggroup.com.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.