Delilah’s Lap

He was the strongest man in the world; only if he had the spiritual wisdom and discernment to match. Samson is a favorite in Sunday school classes—especially for younger boys. The book of Judges chronicles his exploits. He tore apart a lion with his bare hands (14:6). He caught 300 foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs, fastening a lit torch to each and setting them loose in the Philistine’s fields (15:4-5). By swinging a donkey’s jaw bone as if it was a baseball bat, he dropped 1,000 Philistines. This guy was an “Avenger” all by himself; who needs an Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and a Hulk when you have a Sampson!

In Judges 16, Samson falls for a foreign woman—someone outside the faith of Israel. She was not a woman of God. To be frank, she was no good. She is bribed to find the secret of Samson’s strength; told that if she is able, she would become a very rich woman. You remember the story. She asks and each time Samson makes something up. Three times this happens with her calling in the Philistines to abduct a sleeping Samson who supposedly had now become like any other man. But he hadn’t become weak; when he wakes up, he pummels the Philistines each time. Finally, on the fourth occasion, after days of Delilah nagging to know, he tells her everything; how he had been set apart since birth, how he was not to cut his hair, and so on. Judges 16:19 is a sad verse: “Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.”

Samson had several character flaws. Prior to chapter 16, he makes many mistakes. But it is where he finds himself in 16:19 that ultimately leads to his demise. He had been in dangerous places many times before; the difference this time, however, was the fact that he didn’t think he was in a dangerous place. After all, what’s so dangerous about Delilah’s lap?

Temptation never approaches and says, “Hello, I’m temptation. I want to take you down a path that leads to sin and death.” It’s a whole lot more subtle and a whole lot more coy. It often markets itself in half-truths. It dresses up well. It is sugared poison. And this is what made Delilah’s lap so dangerous; her lap the perfect metaphor for temptation.

He never should have been there in the first place. There had been warning signs; she worshiped other gods and she had set three failed traps. What was Samson thinking? The same things we often think: that we are above it, that we can stop it, that no one will know of it, and that it is no big deal. Do any of those sound familiar?

Samson would never be free again. Delilah’s lap would cost him his sight, his usefulness to the Lord; and though he will repent before it is all over—it will even cost him his life.

Be wary of Delilah’s lap, my friend. Don’t see how close you can get to it; see how far you can be from it. Besides, there is a better lap; one that is always available to His adopted sons and daughters. That would be the lap of the Father—the lap of God. It is one in which it is safe to sleep.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
May 24, 2012

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