Plucking Eyes Out as a Gift from God?

The book of Judges weaves the tragedy of Samson’s life. Most of us automatically think of his strength, forgetting his most glaring characteristic. Samson was a weak man in his spiritual life. He is the icon of what it means to have all the looks but really being a wimp on the inside. He is like the Wizard of Oz who boomed with his voice, but was a scraggly little man behind the curtain.

A beautiful girl from the oppressing Philistines enamored Samson and we are told: “Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson’s eyes” (Judges 14:7). I talk about this story a little more in detail below, but I just want to highlight how the writer tells us of Samson’s issue with his eyes.

Two chapters later we read: “Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her” (16:1). He had no regard for the ordinances of God, that he should not commit fornication. After all, this is a time in the history of Israel when everyone did whatever he wanted (“what was right in his own eyes).

Finally, he falls in love with the beautiful Delilah (another Philistine). After being seduced by her and being foolish enough to tell her the secret of his strength the writer tells us: “And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved” (16:21-22).

Now some may never think that horrors, such as having your eyes plucked out, is a gift from God. By default we look at situations like this as being awful and out of the hands of God. This is unfortunate. By definition of his very essence, God is in control of all that happens in his creation. Therefore, he is in control of crushes men have on women, eyes that wander toward sin, and eyes being gouged out as an act of divine grace.

Why was it gracious for the Philistines to pluck out Samson’s eyes? Just like in 14:4 – “[Samson’s] father and mother did not know that it [the crush Samson had on the Philistine woman] was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines.” The Philistines enslaved Israel and the people cried out for mercy and justice. How did God answer these cries? With lust, deceit, and plucked out eyes – all by the hands of sinful humans.

Back to the question: Samson was never able to break out of his lust for the flesh. His eyes made him wander away from the statutes of the Lord. He had all this strength, but was easily led astray by nice legs. To keep him from being led astray (and to accomplish a greater purpose for Samson’s life) he had the Philistines pluck out Samson’s eyes. For it was not until Samson had his eyes plucked out “so the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life” (16:30).

Next time we think of a tragedy, we must stop and think that God is not far from us, but he is very much aware of the brands that are drawing near our eyes…all the more to purify our souls. And for those who are easily led to destruction by a pair of beautiful legs, you might ask to have your eyes plucked out [Matt. 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell (also Mt. 18:9)]. More is at stake than a disability.

Demise in Delilah's Den

You would think that Samson would have caught on to the fact that certain women cannot be trusted (especially those who have no fear of God in their heart). Some women seek only to promote themselves and move up the food chain of comfort.

So it is with his new crush, Delilah. I begin to wonder about the size of Samson’s brain. He seems to be the proverbial jock who doesn’t connect things. After the first night he tells Delilah that the secret to his strength so that his enemies could overpower him lie in tying him up with bow strings, he wakes up tied in bow strings. This should have told him something. Instead, he gloats and breaks the fetters that should have given him pause.

The second night, he tells her that if he is tied with new ropes he will be powerless. So, if you wake up and find yourself tied in new ropes, what’s the reason? Right. The person who tied you up wants to overpower you. Samson boasts in his strength yet again – this time with a laugh. “There’s nothing that can hold me.” Beware brothers lest you boast in the good gifts of God as though you had earned them and not received them. Whether you can preach well, listen well, study well, argue well, groom well, don’t brag about these things. Be humbled or you will find yourself as Samson found himself the next day.

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Dr. Russell Moore has very insightful thoughts on Marriage, Adultery, and the Family.

A couple provoking quotes:

[The mind of an adulterous man] rarely will admit to an affair because he wanted to have sex with an attractive woman. Rather he will use such language as, “I found my soul-mate.”

Perhaps in all our talk of romance and candlelight, we should re-emphasize that sometimes the romance is deferred, sometimes the fireworks are postponed. Perhaps rather than always pointing to the example of a sexy young married couple, we should point our older teenagers and young married couples to the eighty-seven year old man who has been wheeling his wife into the congregation every Sunday for thirty years, since she lost the use of her arms and legs in a stroke, or to the sixty year-old woman who faithfully shaves the face of her Alzheimer’s-riddled husband, even as he curses and swats at a woman he doesn’t remember.

For the full article:

http://www.henryinstitute.org/commentary/read.php?article=20050723&arc=1

Soveriegn over Crushes

Before this morning, I had never thought about God being in control of my feelings in elementary, high school, and college so that I would like a cute girl I saw walking by or I had talked to in the hall. In fact, I thought that God could care less for who I liked (other than my future wife). As I reflected on Samson’s many issues with ladies (Delilah, a prostitute, and a Philistine) I began to see what God was doing in my heart and life through inclining my hear to a specific girl as I was growing up.

In Judges 14, Samson falls in love with a girl.
1   Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” 3 But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”
4   His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.

Samson told his parents that this Philistine girl was “right in his eyes.” In other words, she looked beautiful to him (seeing as he did not know her from conversation, but only by sight). God had quickened Samson’s heart so that he would fall in love with this girl because “[God] was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines” (v. 4).

The author adds a note about the situation to emphasize the fact that this was a strange union indeed by reminding us that the Philistines ruled over Israel. That is, this slave boy wanted to marry an aristocrat.

You would think that Samson would not want to marry this woman after she breaks confidence with him by telling her people the answer to his wedding riddle. No, he becomes even more enraged and he beat thirty men from Ashkelon and stripped them naked. God kept Samson from marrying this pagan girl and used this crush as a means to free his people from tyranny. This little crush turns out to be the neon sign pointing out Samson as the main antagonist against the Philistines. Thus, they begin their search to destroy him.

Samson’s flirting with evil does not end because he then sleeps with a prostitute and falls in love with Delilah. To be discussed tomorrow.