Samson’s parents follow him on his wrong way. Let us imagine that he, the Nazirite, of whom God has said that “he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines” (Jdg 13:55For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”), will marry a Philistine woman! On his way to Timnah, close to the vineyards, a lion comes toward him. It seems that he took a different road than his parents, because later they don’t know what happened, see also verse 99So he scraped the honey into his hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave [some] to them and they ate [it]; but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.. From this we can learn some lessons.
Take a look at the vineyards. This is an extremely dangerous environment for a Nazirite, who is not allowed to eat anything from the vine (Num 6:33he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried grapes.). Samson looks for the danger. He walks on the border. Anyone who wants to be a true Nazirite will stay as far away from dangerous places as possible.
Samson does what also can happen in the lives of young Christians. They go out of curiosity to places that they know are better not to come. The pub, the cinema, the funfair, the red light district of the big city, these are all areas where a Christian should not be without the command of God.
If we choose to take such a ‘side road’ ourselves, there is a good chance that a ‘lion’ will come to us. The lion is here a picture of the devil. “Be of sober [spirit], be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1Pet 5:88Be of sober [spirit], be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.). When we leave the path of obedience, the devil comes towards us. In 1 Kings 13 there is also mention of someone who meets a lion on his way (1Kgs 13:23-2423It came about after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, for the prophet whom he had brought back.24Now when he had gone, a lion met him on the way and killed him, and his body was thrown on the road, with the donkey standing beside it; the lion also was standing beside the body.). The lion is used by God to kill the man of God from Judah, who has deviated from the way God has appointed him.
This is not the case with Samson, as fortunately it is not always the case with young believers, when they look for wrong places out of curiosity. When the brutal violence or the sucking power of seduction suddenly penetrates them, they run away quickly. Running away from a wrong place where someone has ended up through one’s own fault is a defeat that must be confessed. Such a one leaves no witness for the Lord in that place.
Samson uses his strength to free himself and not to defeat the enemy. Characteristic of Samson is his great strength. God has given him that enormous physical strength to overcome the Philistines. For us this means that we need strength to overcome what the Philistines represent. God has also given us this power: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2Tim 1:77For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.). By being dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to overcome the things that people have come up with to make the Christian faith attractive. That is to say, we will recognize and reject such things.
But the power of the Spirit is not experienced when we let our flesh work. We then easily fall under the spell of what in faith makes the experience of man central and not what God says about it. In their eyes, the experience of faith must be a cheerful one. The fact that the Spirit came upon Samson mightily proves that God is above Samson’s self-will. Without the power of the Spirit Samson would have been lost, for he was not in the way of obedience. Sometimes, where the flesh reveals itself, God can still, through His Spirit, do something above that which is to protect His own, even though they behave fleshly.
Samson has overcome the roaring lion in the power of the Spirit. However, he does not realize this, because he follows his own path. That is why he falls for the seduction of a woman. The daughters of the Philistines represent principles that make religion pleasant, attractive to the flesh. All kinds of regulations are created to make serving God ‘tastier’, such as music, impressive speakers, flags, dances, external frills. People must be lured by what appeals to them. All these things are not a help for the Nazirite, but an obstacle.