Samson, A Man with a Godly Heritage
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Judges, that portion of the Word of God which we are studying together. We are going to begin to notice chapters 13-16 of the book of Judges. We are not going to look at all of them at this time, but I mention all of them because they do contain the story of the deliverance which we will be considering together in this lesson.

You will remember that we have told you that the book of Judges is made up of a series of disobediences and deliverances. The children of Israel disobeyed; then they were disciplined by the Lord; then they cried unto the Lord, and the Lord provided a deliverer.

We have studied thus far the discipline in Mesopotamia which lasted eight years and from which the children of Israel were delivered by the hand of Othniel. Then the discipline under the hand of the Moabites lasted eighteen years, and the deliverer was Ehud. We have a question mark about the discipline under the hand of the Philistines. We don't know how long it lasted. It was probably even thwarted at the hand of Shamgar, whom God raised up. Then the discipline at the hand of the Canaanites lasted twenty years, with deliverance at the hand of Deborah and Barak. Then there was the discipline at the hand of the Midianites which lasted seven years with deliverance at the hand of Gideon. Then there were two judges, about whom we know very little, because very little is said in the Word of God about them. There either were no disciplines and no disobediences during their tenure of office, or if there were, nothing is said about them. We simply give you their names so that the record will be complete. One of them was named Tola and the other Jair, and we do not have any idea about the disobediences or the disciplines. Then there was the discipline at the hand of the Ammonites which lasted 18 years and from which Jephthah delivered the children of Israel. You will recall that we spent our last two lessons talking about Jephthah and the deliverance that God provided through him.

Following Jephthah, there was a judge by the name of Ibzan, about whom we know nothing. The record of three men is given in chapter 12, beginning with verses 8-15: Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon.

In this lesson, we come to the last discipline, the last deliverer, and he is one that is very familiar to all of you. You should fix in your minds whom we are talking about–Samson. The children of Israel were disciplined at the hands of the Philistines for forty years. God raised up this man whose life story is recorded in these four chapters to which we have already made reference.

Glance at verse 1 of chapter 13:

Judges 13

1And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

That verse brings back to our minds the monotony with which we have read such statements in the book of Judges. It does look like the children of Israel would realize that every disobedience has its just recompense of reward. It does look like Israel would realize that she cannot disobey God and not have to pay for it. If you don't learn anything else from the book of Judges than this fact, it should be fixed firmly in your minds that the children of God will be disciplined by their heavenly Father if they disobey the plainly revealed portion of His will.

We emphasize at Abilene Bible Church the importance of the grace of God and the security of the believer, from which some people get the idea that you take your initial step, place your faith in Christ, and then it doesn't matter what you do. Beloved, it does matter. And I repeat, if you learn nothing else in the book of Judges, you should learn that lesson.

We have learned that when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord in the midst of their discipline, the Lord always raised up a deliverer. There is no record here in chapter 13 of the cry of the Israelites, but it's there, because we have in this chapter the story of how God prepared a deliverer, Samson by name.

Look at verse 5 of chapter 13, and notice the last statement in the verse:

Judges 13

5…and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

This shows the omniscience of God. “He shall begin to deliver.” He never got the job finished. When you read the story of this man, in chapter 16, you find his life coming to an end. You find the statement being made, “He slew more men in his death than he did in his life.” But as you continue to read the history of the nation of Israel, you will find that the children of Israel were not delivered completely from the hand of the Philistines until the days of Samuel.

A Man of Contrast and Contradiction

I never read this statement here, “he began to deliver,” in the light of the context, without wondering what would have happened if Samson had been different than he was for Samson is a study in contrast and in contradiction. Because we couldn't possibly read these four chapters and retain in our memory what we had read without discussion, I'm going to suggest that we look at some characteristics of this man Samson, which are found in these chapters, and think about them together more minutely.

For the moment, I would like for you to get familiar with the kind of man that we are going to be studying about in these discussions. First, I would suggest that he is a man of a godly heritage; and that is revealed in chapter 13, verse 1 through chapter 14, verse 5. You might like to jot these down, or mark them in your Bibles; then as you read, you can see why we suggest the terminology that we do.

He was a man of spiritual power, as is indicated in chapter 13, verse 25; chapter 14, verses 6 and 19; chapter 15, verse 14. He was a man of fleshly passions, as is indicated in chapter 14, verses 1-3 and verses 8-10, and in chapter 16, verse 1. If you think of no more than those last two statements that I gave you–the man of spiritual power and the man of fleshly passions–you can see what I'm talking about when I say he is a man of contrast and contradictions.

Then we say he is the man who prayed. You might think for a moment, “Well, of course, he was a praying man. Why do we need to put special emphasis on that?” In chapter 15, verses 18-19, there is a record of a prayer that Samson prayed, and that prayer was so miraculously answered that the place where it was prayed was given the name, “The Man Who Prayed.” This, of course, has a tremendous spiritual meaning.

Another thing that I would like to suggest to you is that Samson was the man who prostituted God's gifts, as is indicated in chapter 16, of this series. In a sense, all believers are blessed with gifts. Samson was unusually blessed. But we are told in chapter 8 of the Roman letter that every gift that is given to us is given to us for the profit of the whole Body of Christ, and each person should wait on his ministry. That is, each person should exercise the particular gift that he has for the welfare of the Body of Christ. Though the Body of Christ was not in existence when Samson was alive, the principle is still the same; but instead of Samson using his gifts in the manner in which God intended always, he prostituted his gifts in that he was perfectly willing to use them for his own ends, to accomplish his own purposes and desires. This is something that never should be done.

There are two other characteristics of this man that I would like for you to know. I refer to him as the pathetic man, for in chapter 16, verses 20-27, is the description of the most pathetic man I have ever read about. But, if you listen closely, not the most pathetic man that I have ever met, for I have met men just as pathetic as this man Samson, and they were pathetic for the very same reasons that he was pathetic. It is very possible that I could be speaking to some individuals who would fall into this category, and when we get there you will know the reason we say it.

The last thing that I want you to notice, and it is good that we can close the suggestions on this note, is that Samson was the penitent man. Thank God that he knew how to repent. That was his salvation; that was his deliverance. You know, David is spoken of as a man after God's own heart. Somebody wants to know how David, a murderer, an adulterer, and everything else that we could say about him, could be considered a man after God's own heart. Someone would answer, “The reason is that David knew how to repent.” When he sinned, he knew how to say, “God, I'm sorry.” He felt about sin the way that God feels about sin. Samson is known as the penitent man in these chapters.

We are not going to look at all of these in one lesson. I don't believe that you could retain properly what might be said if we did, nor are we going to spend a lesson on each of the characteristics which we have brought to your attention because I don't think that it would be important enough for us to do it. We can consider more than one at each sitting.

Today I want you to consider with me the first one that I brought to your attention, Samson, the man with the godly heritage. I would like for you to have your Bibles opened to chapter 13 so we can look at several verses within the chapter as we go along. We won't make the attempt of reading the whole chapter because that would take most of our time. I would suggest that if you have not read it lately, you read it in the light of what we are going to say to you, for all we will have time to do is point out some of the highlights in the chapter concerning Samson, the man with the godly heritage.

The Birth of Samson Announced

In this chapter there is given the story of the announcement of the birth of Samson. We looked at that, as you recall, a few weeks ago when we were studying the Angel of the Lord, primarily in the book of Judges, in what we refer to as “theophanies.” One of the illustrations we gave you was here in chapter 13 of the book of Judges, when the Angel of the Lord appeared unto the wife of Manoah, (“Manoah” means “rest”) and announced to her, who was barren, that she was going to give birth to a son. She told her husband about the appearance of the Angel. He didn't doubt her word, but he wanted the assurance, so he asked God that the Angel might come again.

He did come again, and the wife ran to her husband and said, “The Angel of whom I spake has come again.” Manoah ran to Him and asked Him some questions and then said, “Let me prepare something to eat.” The Angel said, “No, you don't need to prepare anything for Me, but you can offer a sacrifice to the Lord if you want to.” Manoah said, “What is your name?” According to our English text, you will remember, the Angel of the Lord said, “Why askest thou my name? It is secret.” You read this in the King James version, verse 18, and you think, “The Angel didn't want to tell what his name was,” but I want you to notice that the word “secret,” in verse 18, and the word “wondrously,” in verse 19, are from the same Hebrew root word. In Isaiah, chapter 9, verse 6, the names of the Lord Jesus Christ are given.

Isaiah 9

6…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

It was not that the Angel of the Lord was saying, “My name is a secret.” He said, “My name is Wonderful.” When the sacrifice was offered, the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame to Heaven, and then there was no question at all in the mind of Manoah that the Angel of the Lord was actually the Lord Jesus Christ. He became very much concerned and said to his wife, “We will die. We have seen God.” And she said, “Don't be foolish. He would not have accepted our sacrifice if He was going to take our life.”

The Dedication of Godly Parents

This is the background for what I want you to notice with me today in relation to godly heritage with which Samson came into the world. As we look at the godly heritage of Samson, I want you to keep in mind that there will be included in the story the dedication of godly parents as contrasted to the declension of a son. So often we feel that if parents are godly, if they are all that they ought to be, then the children will automatically be what they ought to be; but the story of Samson disproves that fact.

The first thing that I would like to call to your attention concerning the parents of Samson is their search for guidance in relation to their child. Some parents never seek for guidance until a child gets into trouble, and then they will take him to a child-guidance center, or they will consult a counselor. We would not speak against that; we would simply say that one waits too late if he does that. More parents should be like the parents of Samson. You'll notice in verse 12:

Judges 13

12And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?

“This is good news that my wife is going to bear a son. I want you to tell us what we shall do to see that this child fulfills all of God's desires for him. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?”

The Nazarite Vow

I do not believe that this was a prayer which the parents of Samson prayed in this early day before he was born into the earth. I believe it was a prayer that they constantly prayed because if you glance at verses 4 and 5, you will see another thing that describes their dedication. I call it the “assumption of a Nazarite vow.” In verses 4 and 5:

Judges 13

4Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
5For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

The first thing that we would emphasize is that we are talking about a Nazarite, not a Nazarene. The Lord Jesus Christ was both. He was a Nazarene because He came from Nazareth, and He was a Nazarite because He took upon Himself the vow of a Nazarite. Samson was a Nazarite. The vow of a Nazarite, given in the book of Numbers, consists of three things. The man who took the vow was not to drink any wine or strong drink or anything that was related to the grape, the fruit of the vine. He was not to eat or to touch any unclean thing. He was not to go around a dead body, for example. The third thing was that he was to let his hair grow long. The growing hair was the sign that he was a Nazarite. It is in error to say that everybody in Bible times had long hair among the men. This is not so. Those who took upon themselves the vow of the Nazarite let their hair grow.

You could take a vow of the Nazarite for thirty days; you could take it for sixty days, but as long as you were under the vow, you met these conditions. You could take the vow for life.

God said that Samson, Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, and Samuel were the Nazarites until the day of their death. They were not the only Nazarites, but these were those who were so designated before their birth and were to be such until the day of their death.

When the Angel told the mother what He expected of the son, He did not say “Tell him.” He said, “Show him.” Did you notice that? He said, “Mother, your boy must not drink any strong drink. Don't you. Your boy must not touch any unclean thing. Don't you.” These were the important parts of the vow. “Don't tell him; show him.” I say to you, that the dedication of the parents of Samson is indicated by the fact that they not only asked directions on how to train their child, but they were able to pay any price, make any sacrifice, in order to have their child brought up in the right way. They were not among the parents who said, “Do as I say.” They were among the parents who could and did say, “Do as I do.”

What about this boy, Samson? When he was born to this family, dedicated to God, would he automatically do what was right? Would he automatically be all that God would want him to be? Would there be a guarantee? Well, we could hope so; and I suspect right at the beginning of things, his parents were sure, because there was on the part of Samson, if you take the time to read the text here, an early responsiveness in his heart for the things of God.

As so many of us have experienced, when our children are young, they are responsive to the things of God. Think back over the lives of your children. Remember how eagerly they prayed at night and how weary you got sometimes when they were praying, because they prayed about everything under the sun and some things that were not under the sun? They just loved to pray.

Significance of His Name

Samson had this early responsiveness; and his parents, in view of what would be done for him, what God would do through him, gave him the name “Samson.” Some Bible scholars insist that it means “little sun,” and there is ample evidence in the Hebrew text to accept that. Someone might ask, “Why would they give a boy a name like that?” You keep in mind that Israel always thought of a sun rising with majesty in it's strength to go soaring across the sky, completing the day and finishing his work. And you recall, even Malachi referred to the Lord Jesus Christ in this same way: “Eventually the Sun of Righteousness shall rise, with healing in his wings, to deliver the whole nation of Israel.” Perhaps that truth, imbued in their hearts though not as yet recorded in the Word of God, caused the parents to call him “little sun.”

But the word, just by changing one mere jot, could be translated “the strong one;” and some folk feel that that was the meaning of his name. That would be somewhat in keeping with the strength that is described in his life. It really doesn't matter. The important thing is that the parents named him with the hope that he would respond to the things of God throughout all his life, and they could rejoice in the fact that God had honored them to be the parents of the deliverer.

The Preparation of the Holy Spirit

The early responsiveness of Samson to the things of God was helped along by the blessing of the Lord. Notice in verse 24:

Judges 13

24And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.

He was conscious of the blessing of the Lord upon his life in a very real way; and, as was not true of every individual in the Old Testament, he was signally blessed by what I have described in the words, “the preparation of the Holy Spirit.” We are indeed fortunate in this age in which we live because at the very moment we are born again, the Holy Spirit comes to take up His residence in our lives and we are under the injunction of Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 18:

Ephesians 5

18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

The idea is that the Holy Spirit that lives within you, let Him control you in every moment of your Christian life. It is your responsibility and mine to see that we are controlled by the Holy Spirit every single minute.

These individuals in the Old Testament were not so blessed because the Holy Spirit did not come to abide. The Lord Jesus, you remember, gave the promise in John, chapter 14, that when He went away, He would send the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit would come, and the Holy Spirit would stay. This was not true in Old Testament days. He came; He went. But Samson, I say, was signally blessed in that the Holy Spirit was preparing his heart for the job that he had to do. Will you look at verse 25, where we read:

Judges 13

25And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

The Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan.

Stirred Up By the Holy Spirit

We warn you consistently about inaccuracies which are found in paraphrased versions of the Scripture, but we also remind you that sometimes they express very aptly the sense of the passage of Scripture. Look at verse 25:

Judges 13

25And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

“Living Bible,” translates it:

Judges 13

25And the Spirit of the Lord began to excite him whenever he visited the parade grounds of the army of the tribe of Dan, located between the cities of Zorah and Eshtaol.

That is the implied meaning of the verse, but we are interested primarily in the suggestion, “…the Spirit of the Lord began to excite him…” The Spirit of the Lord began to excite him. I like that. The Spirit of the Lord began to stir him up. You see, he would go up there as a little boy, and he would see the soldiers drilling, and the Spirit of the Lord would whisper in his ear, “This is the reason you were born. You were born to be Israel's deliverer.” He would begin to excite him with the possibilities of how he would be used of God to deliver the nation of Israel.

Remember this, and it will help you to understand what may sound like some strange things in these four chapters. The ministry of Samson was to deliver the nation of Israel. I have a ministry. My ministry is to expound the Word of God. God has called me to that, just as definitely as can be. He called Samson, just as definitely, to the ministry of delivering Israel. Keep that in mind, and you will be able to understand some of what people call strange things that Samson did. Here, the Spirit of the Lord began to excite him. At a very early age, He began to stir him.

Samson's Response to the Holy Spirit

Beloved, I often wonder what a different story might be recorded in the Word of God here if Samson had been responsive to the stirrings of the Spirit of God. Have you ever–now don't become alarmed, I'm not going to become emotional and fanatical here–felt the stirrings of the Spirit of God? Have you? Now sometimes, you know, when you began to talk like that, folk say, “Oh wait a minute now. We're going to go off the deep end here before we know what we are doing.” No, we're not. Have you ever felt the stirrings of the Holy Spirit of God? What do I mean by that? Have you ever sensed that there was a certain thing you ought to do, a certain thing you ought to say? That's the Spirit of God exciting you. That's the Spirit of God stirring you.

Many, many times, I have had the experience, and my wife had that experence almost more than anybody I have ever had the priviledge of knowing. She didn't say, as I am saying, “The Spirit of God has moved me to do this.” I don't know how many times that she has said to me, “Honey, I felt I just had to write so-and-so today.” “I felt I had to call.” “ I felt I had to go see so-and-so today.” The times when she responded to the stirring of the Spirit of God, there is evidence that it was His leading. There have been times when she didn't respond because she was busy about many things, and later she would learn that she should have responded. This is what I am talking about. You see, the Spirit of God excited Samson. He stirred him, and He said to Samson, time and time again, “Remember your ministry; remember your calling.”

The New English Bible puts this verse, “The Spirit of the Lord began to drive him hard.” I offer you both of these, because both of them are permissible as paraphrases. They emphasize the truth that I want to leave with you. The Holy Spirit does drive the believer. If you don't believe that, you remember carefully what is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew concerning the Lord Jesus Christ after His baptism. The Holy Spirit drove Him into the wilderness where He was tempted of the Devil. Sometimes the Holy Spirit finds it necessary to push a little hard, doesn't He, because we find ourselves sometimes not as sensitive to the Holy Spirit as we might be. I beg of you, if you sense the excitement of the Holy Spirit, obey His voice. If you feel or sense Him driving you, go in the direction He's pushing.

Don't be alarmed about fanaticism. Oh yes, there is much of it, and much is done in the name of the Holy Spirit that is distressing. Because this is true, there are some individuals who are afraid to depend upon the excitement of the Holy Spirit. But you can always check the driving of the Holy Spirit with the Word of God, and remember this: The Holy Spirit will never excite you contrary to the Word. He will never drive you contrary to the Word of God. If you have any doubts, check it with the Word, and you will always be safe.

I wish we could stop here, but we can't because we won't complete the thought that I want to leave with you if we do. The reason that I would like for us to be able to stop is that I would like to be able to stop on the note that the Holy Spirit moved Samson and Samson could respond to his move. When we began this immediate portion of this study, we said we were going to talk to you about the dedication of the parents and the declension of the son. Oh yes, in those early years, he was responsive; but the record of his declension is in this portion of the Word, and it is sad to me.

Samson's Declension Into Sin

Look at chapter 14 of the book of Judges. Keep in mind now that this man was dedicated to God before he was born. Keep in mind his parents said, “God, tell us what to do and how to do it.” Keep in mind his parents didn't only say, “Do it,” they set the example. Keep in mind that the Spirit of God moved upon him, and he was what we would term today a spiritual man. Keep that in mind, as you look at this portion of the Word:

Judges 14

1And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
2And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
3Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.

This is the first step in Samson's declension. He looked upon a Philistine woman. The Israelites were to have nothing to do with the Philistines, but Samson looked upon a Philistine woman. This is not the first time, you will discover before we're through. These Philistine women had something. He looked upon this Philistine woman, and he said, “I want her.” Yes, it was pure, stark, hard, sexual lust. That's what it was. But you say, “This boy who was trained so in such a godly home, how could it be?” His parents remonstrated with him, but he said, “Get her. I want her.” And he had her. Though we don't have time to follow the story of his declension, we will be looking at it in other lessons, and we recognize that it began. The question that is in our minds, and if you are thinking, it is in your mind, is how could a boy from a godly home do what Samson did? You recognize that some children do not even have this godly heritage of which we have been speaking, but Samson had this tremendous, godly heritage and yet lived the way that he lived. Now why?

Well, I want to offer you some considerations, and they are only considerations as to why, because, who knows? Maybe you are facing the same thing. Maybe you reared your children in a godly home. Maybe you sought direction from the Lord, and your children are not living for Him, and you may be wondering where you failed. As a matter of fact, in the light of Proverbs, chapter 22, verse 6:

Proverbs 22

6Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old [when he is mature] , he will not depart from it [that training] .

As a matter of fact, in the light of that verse, Samson presents somewhat of a riddle. Why did this have to happen?

Samson's Self-will

First, I would like to suggest to you a few things that must be taken into consideration. First is the self-will of Samson, as it is aided and abetted by parental indulgence. I don't think there is any question that Samson was a self-willed individual. It's expressed in many places in the book here, but in this one incident, it's expressed very well. He saw this beautiful girl. He knew very well that he should have nothing to do with the Philistines, but that didn't matter. He saw her and he wanted her, and he said, “Get her.” If you could read this with all of the emphasis that is suggested in it, you couldn't read it too softly. He didn't say to his parents, “Could we pray about it?” He didn't say to his parents, “I know I shouldn't have this woman. She is a terrible temptation to me. Will you pray for me that I don't yield to this temptation?” He said, “I want her, and I will get her.”

Parental Indulgence

His parents, as I mentioned, did remonstrate with him. If you read this remonstration on their parts, they simply said, “Samson, surely, surely there is a pretty enough girl here at home.” They didn't say, “Samson, God forbids this.” They didn't say, “Samson, God's Word will not permit it.” All they did was say, “Samson, why don't you take one of these girls here at home. Why do you want one of the Philistines?” His response was, “Get her; she pleases me.” In the next verse, you will find them high-tailing it down to Timnath to get her. You see, if they had not been so indulgent, they would have said, “Samson, you may marry her, but we won't help you. We can't keep you from marrying her, but you're not going to get any help from us.”

You see, they were indulgent, and this I would say to you Christian parents, even though you pray much about the rearing of your children and even though you seek the mind of the Lord, be sure that you recognize that your child has a will of his own and make sure that you, because of your love, do not indulge him overly much. I'm quite sure that this is not the first instance of parental indulgence. I'm quite sure that Samson was used to commanding his parents. I'm quite sure that in some little thing when he was growing up, maybe some little lamb that belonged to the neighbor, “I want it; get it.” They got it, and so when it came time for him to have something, even out of God's will, they said, “We'll get it.” We're saying these things to you to discuss why a boy with such a godly heritage could turn out like he did.

Importance of Personal Yieldedness

There is another thing I would like for you to consider with me. I have referred to it as “personal yieldedness to the Spirit.” Will you remember that no matter how well you train your children, no matter how much you plant the Word of God in their lives, even though you have led them to the Lord, they are guided and directed by the Holy Spirit. They are excited by the Holy Spirit; they are driven by the Holy Spirit; sometimes they refuse to yield to the Holy Spirit. There are parents today who are grieving. There are parents today who are blaming themselves for the condition of their children, and perhaps they need to be concerned. Perhaps the matter of self-will and parental indulgence should be included, but it might be wise to remember too, that you can do nothing without the personal yieldedness of the individual to the Holy Spirit except pray about it. That's all you can do.

I have said repeatedly, you can make your child religious; you can not make him spiritual. You can make him go to church, and you ought to; you can make him memorize the Word of God, and you ought to; but you can't make him spiritual. Sometimes parents are blaming themselves for things they are not to blame for. They need to be in prayer that the Holy Spirit will find a responsive heart.

Divine Working

There is one last thing that I would like to call to your attention. I refer to it as “divine working.” I say it is a strange thing, because of what I find here in Judges, chapter 14, verse 4. Keep in mind that he said, “Get me this Philistine woman,” and the parents remonstrated with him and said, “No, we would rather not,” but they did. In verse 4:

Judges 14

4But his father and his mother knew not that [this is a most astounding statement] it was of the LORD, that he [the Lord] sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

Go back to the first part of that verse:

Judges 14

4But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD,…

We're going to have to tread very, very softly, because if we don't, we might leave the impression in the minds of some people that God is sanctioning evil. We might leave the impression in the minds of some people that God is saying that he should do evil that good may come. We're not saying that, but here is a principle that many Christian parents don't know about, and others don't keep it in mind, and that is that God has a plan for your child, and in God's plan, he may have to go to the Philistine girl. He may have to. Oh, you hold up your hands in horror, saying “No, no, no, how could my child do that, after the way I have taught, after the way I have trained? How could my child do that?” Beloved, you're saying, “How can my child do that, if our training is right?” Now keep that in mind. I'm talking about if your training has been right, you may be like Samson's father and mother, and not know it was the Lord. One of the paraphrases puts it, “His father and his mother did not know that the Lord was at work.”

May I say to you, Beloved, as one parent to another, we must keep that in mind sometimes when the mysterious thing happens, when the thing happens which is not what we want, when the thing happens that is not what we would have chosen if it had been left to us. Remember that God has a plan for your child, just as certainly as He had a plan for Samson; and just as certainly as it was necessary for Samson to go to this Philistine girl, it may be necessary for your child to go to the Philistine girl before God can accomplish His purpose, and all you can do is sit back in the confidence that God is at work. God is at work. Learn to know this, will you? He is at work, even though we may not be conscious of it. He is at work, even though we may not be aware of it. Remember Habakkuk, chapter 1, verse 5:

Habakkuk 1

5…for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

Sometimes that work is done in the Philistine country. Now, don't ask me why. Don't ask me why. I feel like Samson's parents felt. “Why not take one of these pretty Jewish girls? Why the Philistine girl?” But it had to be that way, because God was at work. Don't throw up your hands in despair and say, “All is lost.” Don't badger yourself into a nervous breakdown, saying, “Where did I fail?” Remember He is at work, whether you know it or not.

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