Sin is No Joking Matter
The Life and Times of Samson
Sin is No Joking Matter
Judges 14:10-14
 
If Samson lived tonight and was making the headlines, I guess we would look at him as we do many of the top athletes and movie stars who have so much going for them, and choose to throw it away acting foolishly. 
 
As you read through the life and times of Samson, you begin to see more and more why this man, who began with so much promise and potential, was, one of the greatest failures in the Bible. He was a man of great physical strength, yet was weak morally and spiritually. He could conquer others, but he could not conquer himself. He was sent to deliver his people from the Philistines, but as we will ultimately see, he delivered himself into the hands of his enemy.
 
And lest we get too cocky and critical, let me remind us that not one of us can cast a stone for there is not a single one of us that is without sin. We all fail and come short of the glory of God on a daily basis. But I don’t think there is a distinction between those who sin, and those who willfully and continually sin. 
 
It’s one thing to miss the mark from time to time; it is quite another to use up all our ammunition missing the mark. 
 
Notice Judges 14:10-14
 
The first thing I notice in that text is his arrogance.  Remember, he has violated his Nazarite vow for the first time by coming in contact with a dead animal.  Remember, he found honey in the carcass of a lion that he killed.  He’s not supposed to have anything to do with an animal that walks on paws; he’s not supposed to be anywhere near a dead carcass and he’s not supposed to have anything to do with wine or grapes. 
 
So he’s down at the local vineyard, ills a lion, continues his travels, comes back by to see the carcass, discovers honey in the carcass, takes and eats it and brings some home to mom and pop and gives it to them without telling them where it came from. 
 
And now he’s arrogant enough to joke about it. 
 
It seems to me that Samson has an
 
1. Infatuation with Sin
 
Now the text is centered on Samson’s marriage to this Philistine girl. From the first time he saw her, he was consumed with having her as his wife. Samson reminds me of the old Doris Day song that talked about a girl in love:
 
I climbed up the door, and opened the stairs;
I said my pajamas and put on my pray'rs,
I turned off the bed and crawled into the light
And all because you kissed me goodnight.
 
Next morning I woke and scrambled my shoes;
I shined up an egg, then I toasted the news;
I buttered my tie, and took another bite;
And all because you kissed me goodnight.
 
 
By evening I felt normal, so we went out again
You said "Goodnight," and kissed me, I hurried home and then
I climbed up the door, and opened up the stairs;
I said my pajamas and put on my pray'rs;
I turned off the bed, and crawled into the light
And all because you kissed me goodnight.
 
There are a couple of statements that Samson made that reveal how infatuated he was with this Philistine girl.
 
In verse 3 Samson said to his parents, "Get her for me; for she pleases me well." In verse 7 we read that "she pleased Samson well." It is obvious how infatuated he was with her. It was more than love at first sight; it was lust at first sight!
 
Samson's infatuation with the Philistine woman reminds us how we can become infatuated with sin. How do you get to the place where you are consumes and controlled by sin?
 
Generally two things are involved in that:
 
- The Will of God Is Overlooked
 
As we have seen, the law of God was specific concerning a Jew marrying outside their people and faith.
 
Exodus 34:14-16
 
God forbid such marrying outside their race because He knew that it would lead to them turning from Him and embracing the pagan gods of the heathen nations.
He knew that if they married into an idolatrous people, they as a people would become idolatrous.
 
No doubt this was what was on the mind of his parents when they said in
 
verse 3
 
They were aware of God's command and they were reminding Samson of God's command.
 
However, Samson's answer in verse 3, "Get her for me; for she pleases me well," shows that the last thing on his mind was God's command. That is what happens when one becomes infatuated with sin. The last thing they think about, or even care about, is what God says in His Word about a matter.
 
The will of God is not only overlooked, but:
 
- The Will of God Is Overruled
 
Remember the quote I gave yout his morning?  A.W. Tozer said, "In every Christian's heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross, he remains on the throne. Perhaps this is at the bottom of the backsliding and worldliness among gospel believers today."
 
In Samson's case, he was sitting on the throne of his heart rather than the Lord. He was living by the lust of the flesh rather than the law of the Lord. And when it came to what he did, he was not controlled by what God said, but rather by what he wanted. What God wanted was overruled by what he wanted.
 
When Samson said to his parents, "Get her for me; for she pleases me well," the words literally mean "for she is right in my eyes."
 
Over and over again in the book of Judges we read "every man did that which right in their own eyes" (Cp. Judges 17:6).
 
Samson was no different. Samson was not concerned with what was right in God's eyes. All he cared about was what was right in his eyes. He is so infatuated with his sin that he thinks of nothing but fulfilling his own desires.
 
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." Paul knew that he could never allow his body to rule his life, but rather he must rule his body. He knew that his body could be a great servant, but a terrible master. He knew that if he didn't keep the desires of his flesh under control, they would control him.
 
Let me give you a simple illustration but you will get the point. It is Sunday morning. The alarm goes off and you lay there in the bed. Something on the inside says, "It’s time to get up and get ready for Church." But the old body says, "Why don't you stay home and rest today."
 
What is going on? There is a battle going on between the flesh and the Spirit. If you are letting the Spirit control your life, you will get up and get ready no matter how tired you feel. But on the other hand, if you are controlled by the flesh, you'll turn over and go back to sleep."
Infatuation with sin is always a case of one listening to their lusts rather than the Lord. Infatuation with sin is always a case of one letting their desires overrule the will of God for their life.
 
Secondly, I want you to not only see Samson's infatuation with sin, but also his
 
2. Indulgence in Sin
 
It has been well said that if you give the devil an inch, he will take a yard. We have already seen some of Samson's sins. Now we see him going even further into sin.
 
verses 10-11
 
Samson continues his downward path. Disobedience to the plan and purpose of God for his life continues. In the scene before us we find his marriage feast to the Philistine woman. In this scene we see his indulgence in sin.  Now in this case,
 
- The Setting is a Feast
 
It was customary for a wedding feast to last for several days. We find out in verse 15 that this one has been going on for a week. 
 
What kind of feast was it? The particular word that is translated "feast" in verse 10 tells us they were having a bachelor party. 
 
Now we are not given much detail, but knowing what I know about Samson, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest he was right in the big middle of what was going on. 
If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize to him when I get to heaven…if he’s there. 
 
There is no doubt in my mind that Samson participated in the weeks reveling. This is further indulgence in the violation of his Nazarite vow. In the I think it logical that in all probability, Samson and the guests stayed drunk most of the week. That which was clearly forbidden he indulged in.
 
Then notice
 
- The Surroundings of the Feast
 
Verse 11
 
The normal custom was for these marriage festivities to have been held in the home of the bridegroom. It was normal for the friends of the bridegroom to have been invited to participate in the feast.
 
In Samson's case, he is celebrating his marriage, not in his home and among his own people, but in an area occupied by pagan Philistines. Instead of Jewish friends being invited, there were thirty Philistines that were brought in as wedding guests. Instead of surroundings that reflected his people, his faith, and even his God, his marriage feast reflects more of a place and people that did not know God.
 
Both his conduct and companions are unbecoming of one who knows God. He had been raised up to deliver the children of Israel from the Philistines, not become a part of them. He is not only accepting a Philistine as a wife, but he is associating with the Philistines and acting like the Philistines.
 
What we see in Samson's life is more than a failure, but a persistent in his failure. We see more than a moment of weakness, but a pattern of weakness. It is more than a one-time mistake. It has developed
into an indulgence of sin.
 
The story of sin is always the same. You yield to sin the first time and it is easier to yield the next time. One sin leads to another.
 
As Samuel Ridout said: "Samuel Ridout said, "He went down to marry one woman, [and] he finds he has thirty Philistines as companions . . . He is linked with one, and that one has grown to thirty . . . You cannot adopt one unscriptural principle without finding a whole host of others equally unscriptural that follow it."
 
His infatuation and indulgence in sin is sad, but there is an even more tragic element to what Samson is doing. Notice that now Samson has an
 
3. Indifference to Sin
 
The main focus of verses 10-14 is the riddle that Samson gave to his wedding guests. Riddles were a customary form of amusement at these marriage feasts. So, during the course of the week, Samson presented them a riddle. Look with me at the riddle. First, we see
 
- The Content of the Riddle
 
in verses 12-14
 
 
 
Samson's riddle was short and cryptic, consisting of seven words arranged in two parallel lines: "Out of the eater came something to eat; something sweet."
 
Now the answer is obvious to us because we have the privilege of reading the earlier verses, but the 30 Philistines didn’t have that privilege. 
 
Along with the riddle, Samson proposes a wager. If they can solve the riddle he will give them "thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes."
 
The "linen garments" were generally the inner garments, very elaborate and costly, kind of like silk underwear, I suppose!
 
Then the outer garments were the tunics of the day, not inexpensive either, so we have on the table a very lavish bet.  In fact, one author I read said the average man of that day would only expect to have one such set of garments like these in his lifetime. 
So if they solved the riddle, every man got one set.  On the flip side if Samson won, he got thirty sets. 
 
I suppose what is so unnerving about this whole deal is
 
- The Choice of the Riddle
 
The very thing that had been an act of disobedience and desecration in the life of Samson, he now uses as a riddle and his intent is to profit from it. 
 
What should have been an act of shame and embarrassment, he chooses to use as a riddle. But there is no shame or guilt on his part.
 
It is a sad day in any person's life when they get to the place that they are no longer ashamed of their sin or embarrassed by their sin.
 
Without the least sting of his conscience he uses the events of his sin as his riddle.
 
By the way, let me give three types of conscience that can be found in the Bible.
 
In 1 Timothy 4:2 the Bible talks about "having their conscience seared with a hot iron." The image is of a wound being cauterized. The idea is of being numbed or made insensitive. There is a deadened conscience, a conscience that is insensitive to sin.
 
Then, in Titus 1:15 we read, "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." There is also a defiled conscience, a conscience that is infected by sin.
 
Thirdly, the Bible says in Hebrews 10:22, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."  There is a degenerate or evil conscience. It is a conscience that without good, but filled with evil.
 
Listen to this description of the progression of sin I came across: "A man is first startled by sin; then it becomes pleasing, then easy, then delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then confirmed. The man is impenitent, then obstinate, and then he is damned."
 
 
 
Samson had got to the place in his life where he was no longer bothered by sin. He felt no guilt for what he had done or what he was doing.  In fact, it was just a big joke. 
 
But dear friend, sin is no joking matter! 
 
Billy Sunday said, "One reason sin flourishes is that it is treated like a cream puff instead of a rattlesnake."
 
Sin in any form or fashion is a rattlesnake waiting to strike. As we continue learning more about Samson we will see that God was very merciful and patient with him. Yet his sin was certainly not being ignored or condoned. Payday was coming, and if any of us treat sin as nothing more than a joke, there will be a payday. We must always remember that sin is a rattlesnake and not a cream puff.
 
Is there a Samson in this place today? Is there an infatuation, an indulgence, and indifference to sin? Let me close by saying that sin is no joking matter! Samson will testify to that in the days to come.
 
Let’s pray
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