THE DELILAH DELIMMAsermon
THE LIFE OF SAMSON Sermon Series
“The Delilah dilemma” – Judges 16:4-22
The greatest accomplishment we can experience in life may be in helping somebody else achieve greatness. But, likewise, the greatest failure we can experience in life may be in hindering someone from achieving the greatness that God had ordained for their lives. Our ultimate destiny in life has a lot to do with who or what we choose to be connected to. And just like being connected to the right person can inspire us to greatness, being intimately connected to the wrong person can lead us to personal destruction. The people we choose to be connected to can either propel us towards our blessed destiny, or they can hold us captive by reminding us of our messed-up history, they can either encourage us to fulfill our God-given greatness, or they can discourage us, pushing us down into a pool of self-pity. They can inspire us to move forward into our future, or they can pull us down into the depths of failure and frustration. They can help to bring out the best in us, or they can hurt by bringing out the worst in us.
One of the greatest lessons you can learn in life is to learn how to choose the right people to be connected to. Charles Swindoll was right when he said that it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by so many turkeys! We need to understand today, that as we make the commitment to putting Christ first in our lives and as we make the commitment to following his plans and His purposes, not everybody around us is going to share the same passion for Jesus that we have. How many of you know that when Jesus walked this earth, He was constantly surrounded by folks who had their own agendas and their own ideas about what Jesus should and should not do? Jesus was constantly surrounded by folks who were not interested in advancing the Kingdom of God, but they were only interested in advancing their own interests and their own desires. And, likewise, you and I are surrounded by folks who have their own agendas and their own ideas about who and what we should be and how we should live our lives, and we need to understand that once we make that commitment to following Jesus, once we make our minds that’s it’s all about Him and not about us, once we make that decision to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, that at that moment we’ve got to make up our minds who we’re going to be connected to. If you’re trying to walk in the spirit, you can’t be intimately connected to somebody who walking in the flesh. If God has given you a vision for your life, you can’t hook with somebody who has no vision for their lives and tries to kill the vision in your life. If you’re trying to live by the Word of God, you can’t be in an intimate relationship with somebody who lives by their own wisdom and philosophy. God desires that not only our vertical relationship with Him is right, but also that our horizontal relationships with other people are right, and if a person hasn’t made a commitment to getting their vertical stuff right, then their horizontal stuff is going to be all messed up.
And my brothers and sisters, if you find yourself in the midst of a relationship in which you’re being manipulated and used, if you find yourself in a situation in which you’re being played and abused, then I’ve stopped by to tell you this morning that you’re smack dab in the midst of a DELILAH DILEMMA. Somebody looking at me right now can say amen today, because you’re in the midst of a Delilah Dilemma. Somebody else in her this morning, you’re not personally in a Delilah Dilemma, but somebody you know and care about is in a Delilah Dilemma. And the question for all of us this morning is how can we stop ourselves from getting into these kinds of relationships? We know that God wants our relationships with each other to be pleasing in His sight, God created us and God wants us to have Biblical, meaningful, and satisfying relationships with each other, but how can we stop ourselves from falling into a Delilah Dilemma? What are the signs that one is caught up in a Delilah Dilemma?
Well, in our text today, Samson hooks up with a woman who caused him to get caught up in a Delilah Dilemma, and guess what, her name was Delilah. Most of us are familiar with the context of this text. We know in Judges 16:1-3, Samson, this holy man, hooks up with a hoochie in Gaza and God has mercy on Samson and allows him to escape from those who waiting to take his very life. And by time we catch up with Samson in verse 4, we see him hooking up with this woman from the valley of Sorek who name was Delilah. And by the time we come to the end of chapter 16, we see Samson, this strong, Nazerite man of God who defeat armies and kill lions with his bare hands, caught up in the midst of a Delilah Dilemma. And the question I want to ask brother Samson this morning is…why in the world would you mess with a woman like Delilah? And more importantly for all of us this morning is…HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M CAUGHT UP IN A DELILAH DILEMMA? WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OR THE CHARACTERISTICS OF PERSON WHO MIGHT LEAD ME INTO A DELILAH DILEMMA? Well, I want to look at sister Delilah this morning and identify two or three characteristics of a person who might pull us down into a Delilah Dilemma
How to Know If you’re caught up in a Delilah Dilemma:
1) If the person you’re connected with is GUIDED BY GREED, then you’re caught up in a Delilah dilemma. Write that down… In this text we discover that greed caused Delilah to betray her lover, Samson. – we clearly see this in verse 4 through 6: After this it came about that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. The lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Entice him, and see where his great strength lies and how we may overpower him that we may bind him to afflict him. Then we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver." So Delilahsaid to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength is and how you may be bound to afflict you." Samson was hooked up with a woman who was guided by
greed. And I know that Delilah was guided by greed because she was offered and
she accepted a whole lot of money to betray Samson.
In order to understand how much money was being offered to Delilah, you have to
understand that this text says that the LORDS OF THE PHILISTINES came to
Delilah and each offered her 1100 pieces of silver. Now, the text doesn’t explicitly
tell us how many lords, or how many men came to do this dirty deal with Delilah,
but we do know from Biblical research that the Philistine nation was made up of 5
major cities and each of these cities had its own king, its own ruler or its own Lord.
And so, although the text doesn’t explicitly tell us the exact number of men that
came to Delilah, most Bible scholars believe that at least 5 Philistine lords
approached Delilah about betraying Samson. And so, based on Biblical research
and using our sanctified imagination, if at least five philistine lords offered Delilah
1100 pieces of silver each, then Delilah was being offered at least 5500 pieces of
silver to betray Samson. And 5500 pieces of silver back in those days was enough
money to set you up for the rest of your life. And so when she discovered how
much money she was being offered, she decided these revenues meant more than
her relationship, this cash meant more than her commitment, this silver meant
more to her than Samson, and she decided to sell out her man for 5500 pieces of
silver. Samson found himself in the midst of a Delilah Dilemma because he was in
an intimate relationship with a woman who was guided by greed. People who are
guided by greed are people who are more concerned with what they can get than
what they can give, their goal is to do whatever it takes to acquire money and
possessions, money is their god, materialism is their philosophy, getting more
things is their goal and selfishness is their guiding motivation.
What exactly is greed? Webster’s dictionary defines greed as excessive or
Reprehensible acquisitiveness or the sinful desire to acquire more than one really
Needs: Greed is the excessive or insatiable desire for Wealth or for gain. Greed is
The unquenchable desire in our hearts to get more things, to grab for more things,
and to gain more things. Greed is the passionate pursuit of perishable
Products and possessions. Greed is the attitude that’s not satisfied with the
blessings and provisions of God, but instead of trusting in the Lord to supply, greed
drives a person to work in the power of their own flesh to get what they think they
need. A word that is closely associated with greed in The Bible is the word
COVETEOUSNESS, and covetousness is defined as “an intense desire to
possess something (or someone) that rightfully belongs to another person.”
Greed caused Cain to kill his brother Abel
Greed caused the people in Genesis 11 to build the tower of Babel
Greed caused Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, to betray Elisha
Greed caused the Rich Young Ruler to miss out on his chance at eternal life
Greed caused Judas to betray Jesus
Greed caused Annanias and Saphira in the book of Acts to lie to the Holy Spirit
My brothers and sisters, if you’re intimately connected to somebody who is guided
by greed, then you’re probably already in the midst of a Delilah Dilemma.
What does God think about greed?
- Eccl 5:10 He who loves silver will never be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.
- Ecclesiastes 6:7 All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. I like the way THE MESSAGE BIBLE translates this verse - We work to feed our appetites; Meanwhile our souls go hungry.
- Jesus Himself warned us in Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- And the apostle Paul told young Pastor Timothy in 1 Tim 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
My brothers and my sisters, its not a good idea to be in an intimate relationship with a person who’s guided by greed because as soon as something or someone comes along with the right price, you might find yourself, hurt, betrayed, and left all alone. You’ve got to watch somebody who’s guided by greed, because a person who’s guided by greed will never be satisfied.
It reminds me of the story of a rich business man who was walking by the seashore one day and saw a fisherman who was taking a nap beside his boat. The businessman had worked hard all his life to earn his riches and as he looked at the fisherman sleeping peacefully next to his boat, he thought to himself that the fisherman was being mighty lazy, so he walked over to the fisherman and woke him and asked him,
WHY ARE’NT YOU OUT THERE FISHING?
The fisherman said, BECAUSE I’VE CAUGHT ENOUGH FISH FOR TODAY.
The businessman said, WHY DON’T YOU CATCH MORE FISH THAN YOU NEED?
And the fisherman asked WHAT WOULD I DO THEM?
The businessman was getting impatient, and he said “YOU COULD EARN MORE MONEY and buy a better boat so you could go out to the deep water and catch more fish and make more money, then you could buy some nylon nets so could catch even more fish and make even more money. Pretty soon you’d have a whole fleet of boats and catch a whole lot of fish and make a whole lot of money and be rich like me.”
The fisherman asked THEN WHAT WOULD I DO?
The businessmen said, THEN YOU COULD SIT DOWN, RELAX AND ENJOY LIFE.
The fisherman said, WHAT DO YOU THINK I WAS DOING WHEN YOU INTERUPTED MY SLEEP?”
My brothers and sisters, the Bible is clear that we should never be guided by greed, but we should be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit and we should be thankful for the blessings and the provision of God in our lives.
*INSTEAD OF BEING GREEDY, WE OUGHT TO BE GRACIOUS! WE OUGHT TO BE THANKFUL FOR EVERY BLESSING GOD HAS BROUGHT INTO OUR LIVES!
Jesus said in Luke 12:15 “…Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things which he possesses." If you’re in a relationship with someone who’s guided by greed, then you’re probably hooked up with someone who will bring you down into a Delilah Dilemma.
2) If the person you’re connected with is FAKE WITH THEIR FEELINGS, then you’re caught up in a Delilah dilemma. (vv.10, 13, 15)
Nothing can cause problems and difficulties in a relationship more than somebody being fake with their feelings. Nothing can cause more emotional hurt and mental pain and confusion than being led to believe that someone cares about you when they really don’t care about you. Somebody looking at me right now is dressed up on the outside, but messed up on the inside because you’re dealing with the pain of a broken relationship that you had with somebody who was fake with their feelings - somebody fooled you into believing that they cared about you, somebody led you to believe that that wanted to be close to you, they spend time with you, showed interest in you, somebody even told you that they loved you, but when it was all said and done, all they really cared about was themselves. You gave your heart to them, and they gave hurt to you. You cared about them, but they crippled you, you told them nothing but the truth, and they told you nothing but lies. Somebody looking at me right now is dealing with the pain of being in a relationship with somebody who was fake with their feelings. And that’s exactly what Samson had to deal with in this text, in this text Samson had to deal with a woman who was gripped and guided by greed who led him to believe she cared, but when it was all said and done, he discovered that she really didn’t care. In this text, Samson ended up in a Delilah Dilemma because he had to deal with a woman who was fake with her feelings. If you look closely at verses 10, 13, and 15 of this text, you’ll discover that Delilah accuses Samson of lying and deceiving her, when in reality it was Delilah who was lying and deceiving him. In verses 10, 13, and 15 of this text, Delilah accuses Samson of not being open and honest with her, when in reality it was Delilah who wasn’t being open and honest with him. In verse 15, Delilah even accuses Samson of not loving her, but in verse one of this chapter, it clearly says that Samson loved Delilah; but not once are we told that Delilah ever loved Samson. Samson was the victim of unreciprocated love. Samson was in a relationship in which the love he gave out was not the love he received. Delilah was playing Samson, Delilah was deceiving Samson, Delilah was using Samson, Delilah was shucking and jiving with Samson. Delilah was manipulating Samson’s emotions and presenting herself to be somebody she wasn’t – in other words, Delilah was being a hypocrite.
You do know what a hypocrite is don’t you? A hypocrite is a person who pretends to be somebody they’re really not. A hypocrite is a person who does in the dark what they would never do in the light. A hypocrite is a person who says whatever the person they’re talking to wants to hear. A hypocrite is a person who exaggerates the facts and embellishes the truth. A hypocrite is a person who’s not themselves at church on Sunday.
- In Genesis 27, Jacob was being a hypocrite when he fooled his father by pretending to be Esau his brother * In Genesis 37, Jacob’s sons were being hypocrites when they sold Joseph into slavery, dipped his coat of many colors into animal blood, and led Jacob his father to believe that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal
- In Matthew 2, King Herod was being a hypocrite when he sent the wise men to look for the Christ child so he could go worship him, when what he really wanted was to kill Jesus.
- In John 8, the Pharisees were being hypocrites when they caught that woman in the very act of adultery. They never said anything to the brother who was caught with her, and they picked up stones in order to kill her for her sin, when they themselves should have stoned for their own sin. And that’s why Jesus told them: YE WITHOUT SIN, CAST THE FIRST STONE.
Hypocrisy is the only sin that Jesus condemned more than any other. In the gospels, when Jesus talked to sinners, he talked to them with sympathy, kindness, patience, and forgiveness. But when he spoke to the hypocritical Pharisees, he challenged them with the strongest language possible. In Matthew 23, Jesus even called them out of their names, because in Matthew 23 Jesus called the Pharisees blind guides, fools, whitewashed tombs, and snakes. In other words, Jesus said that hypocrites were the worst people of all because hypocrites are people who pretend to be something they’re not. Nobody hates hypocrisy more than Jesus. That’s why Jesus used such strong language when he talked to hypocrites because he understood the dangerous and destructive nature of hypocrisy in our world and in our relationships. People who are fake with their feelings and live hypocritical lives do more to tear down the kingdom of God than the worst sinners and on the streets. At least the sinners are just being who they are, but the hypocrite is posing as something that they’re really not. Hypocrites care more about what’s on the outside than being real on the inside.
I was reminded of the foolishness of hypocrisy when I came across a story written some time ago, author Mark landler wrote an article in the NEW YORK TIMES about a very special shopping mall in China. Every day, thousands of people travel to Shenzen, China, a suburb outside of Hong Kong, to shop at a very unique shopping mall known as the LO WU COMMERCIAL CENTER. This mall is just like every other mall except for one thing. This mall is a giant shopping mall that sells nothing but imitation luxury items. Everything that’s sold in this mall is a cheap imitation of an expensive, luxury item. In this mall, you can buy fake furs and imitation diamonds. you can buy a bogus Rolex Watch for $58.00. In this mall, you can buy imitation Gucci shoes, you can buy imitation Fendi clothing, and you can buy imitation Chanel wallets for fraction of the prices that are charged for the real thing. Each week this mall is jam packed with people who settle for cheap imitations rather than the real thing. How many of you know that some of us are the same way, we would rather settle for a cheap imitation of love than the real thing. When we remain in relationships with people who are guided by greed and who are fake with their feelings, that’s exactly what we’re doing, we are settling for a cheap imitation of the real thing. When we disobey the Lord by being unequally yoked with unbelievers, we settling for a cheap imitation of the real thing. When we settle for just anybody in our lives even though may love us at all, we’re settling for an imitation of the real thing. But God doesn’t deal in imitations, He only deals in the real thing. And the good news is that God wants to give you the real thing. God wants to give you real love. God wants to give you real joy and real peace. Jesus said that he came to give you life and real life more abundantly. So quit settling for the imitation! Quit settling for the fake stuff the devil keeps sending you. God doesn’t deal in Cubic Zarconia, he only deals in pure diamonds! God doesn’t want you to settle for a hypocrite in your life, but if wait on the Lord, he’s going to send you the right one, baby
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT BEING A HYPOCRITE?
6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
3) If the person you’re connected with USES YOUR WEAKNESS TO WOUND YOU, then you’re caught up in a Delilah dilemma (vv.8-9, 12, 14, 18-20)
You’ve got to be careful who you share your weaknesses with. You’ve got to be careful who you share your secrets with, because if you hook up with somebody who’s guided by greed and fake with their feelings, then you might find yourself in a Delilah Dilemma because they may take your weaknesses and use them to wound you. That’s exactly what Delilah did to Samson. In this text, Samson was in love with a woman who wasn’t in love with him. In this text, Samson was open and vulnerable with a woman who wasn’t the same way with him. In verses 6-9, 10-12, 14, 18-20, we see Delilah trying to find out the secret to Samson’s strength. She was trying to find out the one thing that could break him, bind him, and bring him to his knees. And each time Samson told her what she thought was the one thing that could break him down, she used that information against Samson, she used that information to wound him and to try break Samson down. In verses 6-9, she asked Samson to reveal the secret of his strength, and he told her that if he was tied up with seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, then he would be as weak as any other man, and as soon as she found out what she thought was the secret of his strength, what did she do? She used that information to wound and to break Samson. In verses 10 – 12, she asked Samson again to reveal the secret of his strength, and he told her that if he was bound with new ropes that had never been used, then he would be as weak as any other man. And as soon as she found out what she thought was the secret of his strength, what did she do? She used that information to wound and to break Samson. Again, in verses 13-14, she asked Samson again what was the secret of his strength, and he told her if the seven braids of his hair were sewn together in a weaving machine, he would be as weak as any other man. And so while he was asleep, what did she do? She used that information to try to break down Samson and have him captured and wounded. And then finally, in verses 15-20, after she bothered Samson, after she pestered Samson, after she begged and bugged Samson to death, he finally told her his most precious secret, Samson finally told her everything that was in his heart, and in verses 17 and 18, we see Samson finally being open and honest with somebody, in verses 17 and 18, we see Samson finally being vulnerable and accountable to somebody. Samson desperately wanted to have an intimate relationship with Delilah, Samson desperately wanted to love Delilah, and so he told her everything that was in his heart. But what did she do? She took his weakness and used it to wound him. She took his most sensitive and sacred secrets and used them to sabotage and subdue his strength.
How many of you know that not everybody can keep a secret? How many of you know that you can’t tell your business to just anybody? How many of you know that you can’t share your most sacred and sensitive secrets with just anybody? You can’t tell your secrets to just anybody. Some folks who don’t believe in the Bible, are not guided by the Holy Ghost and are not governed by the laws of love, some folks who are driven and directed by the devil, will take your secrets and your weaknesses and use them to destroy you. PASTOR, ARE YOU SAYING THAT WE SHOULDN’T BE OPEN AND HONEST WITH ANYBODY? No, I’m not saying that. All I’m saying is that you better watch being in a relationship with somebody who wants openness, honesty and vulnerability from you, but they’re not open, honest and vulnerable with you. You see, quality, godly relationships are based on mutual accountability and mutual vulnerability. Quality, godly relationships are based on two people willing to lay it all on the line to make each other happy. That’s the concept the Bible speaks of as “ONE FLESH.” All I’m saying is you better watch being in an intimate relationship with somebody who always has to know all your secrets, but they don’t ever tell you any of their secrets. You see, that’s what got Samson into this Delilah dilemma in the first place. Delilah wanted to know all of Samson’s secrets, but Delilah didn’t tell Samson any of her secrets. She wanted to know all the secrets to Samson’s strength, but she didn’t tell Samson any of her secrets, she didn’t tell Samson that she made a secret deal with the Philistines to have him captured and killed. All I’m saying is you better watch out being in a relationship with somebody who has to know all you business, but you don’t know any of their business. You better make sure that the person you’re intimate with and the person you’re being open and vulnerable with really loves you and really loves the Lord.
SIX CHARACTERISTICS OF A DELILAH RELATIONSHIP:
HERE ARE SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO SEE IF YOU’RE IN THE MIDST OF OR HEADED TO A DELILAH DILEMMA…
RELATIONSHIP BONDAGE-BREAKER #1: ACCOUNTABILITY & VULNERABILITY
Are you in a relationship with someone who knows all your secrets, but they won’t tell you any of their secrets?
· Delilah was demanding from Samson what she was not willing to give Samson…
· Remember: GODLY RELATIONSHIPS ARE BASED ON MUTUAL VULNERABILITY & ACCOUNTABILITY
· Prov 12:22 - Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.
RELATIONSHIP BONDAGE-BREAKER #2 – HONESTY & INTEGRITY
Are you hooked up with someone who keeps playing games at your expense?
· Delilah kept playing games with Samson. She played games with his emotions and his affections and she led him to believe that she cared about him when she really didn’t…
· Don’t play games in your relationships – Let honesty and integrity guide what you do…
· Prov 11:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.
RELATIONSHIP BONDAGE-BREAKER #3 – LOVE ISN’T LOVE UNTIL IT IS EXPRESSED (if you give it, you ought to expect to get it)
Are you in a relationship where you express love but the person never expresses love to you?
· Samson had relationships with two other women in his life (his marriage to the woman from Timnah and his night with the hoochie from Gaza), BUT DELILAH WAS THE ONLY WOMAN SAMSON EVER LOVED…
· But although he expressed loved to Delilah, Delilah never expressed her love for him…UNRECIPROCATED LOVE IN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS CAUSES HEARTACHE AND PAIN…
· IT OUGHT TO BE A DIFINITE RELATIONSHIP RED FLAG IF YOU’RE EXPRESSING LOVE TO SOMEONE, BUT THEY DON’T EXPRESS LOVE BACK TO YOU
· EVERYTIME WE SEE GOD LOVING IN THE SCRIPTURES, IT IS EXPRESSED LOVE:
o John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
o 1 Cor 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;
· LOVE IS NOT LOVE IF IT IS NOT EXPRESSED…
RELATIONSHIP BONDAGE BREAKER #4 – LOVE MEANS NOTHING WITHOUT LOYALTY (“Get other folks out your Kool-Aid-‘cause they don’t know the flavor!)
Does the person in your relationship have greater loyalties to folks outside your relationship?
· Delilah was in a relationship with Samson, but her true loyalties remained with the Philistines…
· Notice that she talked with the Philistines, she made a deal with the philistines and she even gave the men of Philistia easy access to her bed room (each time she tried to trick Samson, the text says in vv. 9. 12, 14, & 21 that SHE HAD MEN LYING IN WAIT IN THE INNER ROOM…) IT’S HARD TO TRUST A WOMAN WHO ALLOWS OTHER MEN EASY ACCESS TO THEIR BEDROOM…
· In an intimate relationship, especially marriage, you loyalties she be with the one you love.
o Gen 2:24-25 - For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
RELATIONSHIP BONDAGE BREAKER #4 – NEVER USE INTIMACY AS A TOOL OF MANIPULATION
Are you in a relationship with someone who uses affection and intimacy as a tool to get what they want?
· Delilah used affection and intimacy to get what she really wanted from Samson
· Affection and intimacy are blessings given by God to be enjoyed within a relationship, they’re not to be used as tools of manipulation to get what you want
RELATIONSHIP BONDAGE BREAKER #5 – WHOEVER YOU LOVE SHOULD LOVE THE JESUS YOU LOVE!
Are you hooked up with someone who does not share your same commitment to Christ?
· Matt 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.