The Old Testament Book of Judges contains some hair-raising stories. Brutal sin hurled smack-dab in your face. No candy-coating. Its longest section centers on Samson. You know his story. A worthy beginning as his parents seek the Lord’s help raising this son of theirs. A Nazarite vow taken for Samson, but never fulfilled in any way (Judges 13).
Samson disappoints at every turn. Chasing women becomes his perpetual obsession. Each femme fatale gets him knee-deep in escalating troubles. Like those plaguing frogs glutting ancient Egypt, sin bursts the seams of his life. Clings to him like ivy to brick walls.
But it’s Delilah I want to focus in on today. The wife who makes this a truly hair-raising story! Delilah. She lives near Samson’s hometown. Probably a Philistine from the Sorek Valley. Grape and wine country. Not sure exactly what her name means, but possibly from the Ugaritic language implying ‘lowly’ or ‘to be poor’.
Not much of a stretch to fathom her destitute and dismal background. From a family that barely ekes out a living. From paycheck to paycheck, so to speak. Mouths to feed but Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard as bare as can be.
Imagine the temptation Delilah feels when five Philistine leaders each offer her 1100 shekels of silver if she’ll tell them the secret of Samson’s superhuman strength. That’s a total of 5500 silver shekels. Equal, in those days, to 550 times the annual average wage. Today, multiple millions of dollars. She salivates thinking of all that filthy lucre!
Coming from a difficult background (and who doesn’t?) can leave us wide open to certain sins. Be careful. Find out what urges and itches demand your attention. Things you know are not of the Lord. What’s bent and twisted from past generations.
Family sin. Which too often rears its ugly head. Trickles down and oozes out. But not as something godly. God forbid we pass on the same to our children… and then beyond. Be careful.
End the cycle. Find those weaknesses. Pray for the Lord’s strength to overcome them. He’ll help. We’ll stumble and fall. He understands. But Jesus will pick us up. Grab hold of His hands! Be more like Him. Less like Delilah.
Thank you, Lord, that the cycle of family sin can be broken. Through Jesus’ strength. Amen.