Judges Part 11 – Samson: The Lion, The Trips, and The Proposal

So with The Lion, the Trips and the Proposal, we heard about the trips earlier. So let me share with you about The Proposal, specifically my marriage proposal to Pilar and then we’ll get to the lion in just a little bit. Let me start by saying that if I were to go back in time to when Pilar and I were dating, the proposal would be so different than what it was back then!


Judges 14

Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah,one of the daughters of the Philistines. So he came [a]back and told his father and [b]mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.” Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your [c]relatives, or among all [d]our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she [e]looks good to me.” However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion cameroaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord [f]came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. So he went down and talked to the woman; and she [g]looked good to Samson.When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. So he scraped [h]the honey into his [i]hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gavesome 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.

10 Then his father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there, for the young men customarily did this. 11 When they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.

Samson’s Riddle

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.13 But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,

“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”

But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

15 Then it came about on the [j]fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?” 16 Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

“What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?”

And he said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have found out my riddle.”

19 Then the Spirit of the Lord [k]came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife wasgiven to his companion who had been his [l]friend.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 14:2 Lit up
  2. Judges 14:2 Lit mother, saying,
  3. Judges 14:3 Lit brothers
  4. Judges 14:3 Lit my
  5. Judges 14:3 Lit is right in my eyes
  6. Judges 14:6 Lit rushed upon
  7. Judges 14:7 Lit was right in Samson’s eyes
  8. Judges 14:9 Lit it
  9. Judges 14:9 Lit palms
  10. Judges 14:15 So with some ancient versions; Heb seventh
  11. Judges 14:19 Lit rushed upon
  12. Judges 14:20 Or best man

Good evening, Alamo Stone! So with The Lion, the Trips and the Proposal, we heard about

the trips earlier. So let me share with you about The Proposal, specifically my marriage proposal to Pilar

and then we’ll get to the lion in just a little bit. Let me start by saying that if I were to go back in time to

when Pilar and I were dating, the proposal would be so different than what it was back then!

I would say sweet things like…

  • Beautiful physically, emotionally, spiritually.
  • Compassionate heart, they see Jesus in her
  • Knows all my flaws and loves me anyway!
  • Makes up for my weaknesses…her strengths cover my flaws!
  • Fly her to Bogota, Colombia, just to propose with the moutains in the background…and then fly back

But you can’t go back in time and make things different so I have to share with you just how unromantic

my marriage proposal was to Pilar. And I’m pretty sure it was in the top 10 of all time un-romantic

proposals. And if you’ve heard this story, sorry but you’re going to have to listen to it again because it’s

actually related to our text for tonight.

So Pilar and I met on March 16, 1998. She was living in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida area and I was living in

a suburb of Raleigh, NC. So we were set up by my brother and we started seeing each other long

distance. I would leave Raleigh at 3pm on Friday, get to my brother’s house at about 1 in the morning,

just so I could see Pilar on Saturday, then I’d drive all the way back on Sunday.

So you’re probably thinking that if I would go to such great lengths to see her, then I must have really

wow’d her with my proposal. Well, not quite! So we have this long distance relationship going all of 2

months and it’s Memorial Day weekend, so I got to spend an extra day down in Florida. I drive back on

that Monday, Memorial Day, May 25 th . I call Pilar that night when I’m back in Raleigh and as we’re

talking, I just said, “So, when do you want to get married?” Now, please keep in mind that I just saw her

that Saturday and Sunday so I could have popped the question in person! I mean, think about it…who

wants to get a wedding proposal over the telephone. Heck, that’s about the equivalent of texting a

proposal today!

So I didn’t even ask her in person. I suppose I hadn’t really put that much thought into it. So we’re on

the phone and I just ask her with quite a bit of presumption, “So when do you want to get married?”

And for whatever reason… I really can’t imagine why, but she said yes! So that has to go down,

especially when you think of the most amazing woman in the world, who deserves the most romantic,

mind-blowing proposal…but no, one of the lamest all time proposals in human history. And so you can

tell, I have been beating myself up over the past 18 years for being such a dufus when it comes to how I

proposed. That is, until I read about Samson! Talk about lame, unromantic, just downright rude

proposals! Turn to Judges 14 with me!

Read Judges 14: 1-4. So there’s Solomon’s wedding proposal in verse 2: I saw a woman…get her for me!

Now, remember, these are the days of arranged marriages, where the groom’s parents would pay a

dowry to the bride’s parents, and so his proposal is not really to the woman, it’s to his parents. But it’s

not even a proposal. It’s a demand! “Get her for me” and when his parents suggest that he should really

marry a hometown girl, he repeats his demand, “Get her for me!”

I know that I’m reading somewhat into text here but I kind of picture Samson with a big ol’ turkey leg in

one hand…you know, the kind you can get at the state fair…and as he gnaws on it, he tells his parents,

“Pret-ty girl. Go get for me! (Grunts)”  He’s a bit one notch up from the donkey out in the pen!

So now you see, my marriage proposal doesn’t seem nearly as bad as it used to! Let’s keep going…Read

Judges 14: 5-14.

Judges 14: 5: So there’s your lion! The Lion, the Trips and the Proposal!

Judges 14: 9: So Samson makes this miraculous kill. No weapon in his hand and he kills a lion. And when he

passes by again on a different day, the lion’s carcass is still there and bees have made a hive. So Samson

scrapes honey off of the lion and shares it with his folks. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I get

attacked by a lion and slay it with my bare hands, I’m going to tell everyone! But the writer of Judges

makes the point to tell us that Samson does not bother to tell his parents. There’s a reason, I do believe,

and we’ll get to that later.

Judges 14: 14: So Samson goes to marry this attractive Philistine woman, and as is the custom of a man who

has taken a bride, he throws a 7 day wedding feast. He’s stopped grunting like a caveman and has

propounded a riddle in what is a slick effort to gain a new wardrobe. There are 30 men so if each man

gives up a change of clothes, then that makes 30 new outfits for Samson. He could go a whole month

without wearing the same outfit twice. And so far, he’s got the men stumped but let’s see what

happens…

Judges 14: 15-20.

Judges 14: 15: man, what is it with these people in Judges, always threatening to burn people in their

homes? It’s crazy!

Judges 14: 17: So the wife’s constant crying…her constant nagging…was more than he could bear, so he gives

in on the 7 th and final day! Wives, please, just to be clear…this is not a biblical lesson on how to get your

way! 

Judges 14: 18: Man, I don’t even know what that phrase, “plowed with my heifer” means…but…I think

anytime you refer to your wife as a heifer, it’s not a good thing! 

What a horrible story with a horrible ending!

Now, there are a lot of details in this text that we could focus on but here’s what I want us to look at:

Samson’s actions, especially when you consider that last week, as you might recall, was definitely the

most inspiring, glorious chapter in the book of Judges. Do you remember what we read about last week?

It’s okay if you don’t…it has been 7 days already…but last week we met Samson’s parents. His dad is

Manoah and his mom’s name was not given.

So the pre-incarnate Christ came to visit them and told them that although Manoah’s wife had been

barren, she was going to give birth to a boy. But not just any boy, a special boy who would be set apart,

devoted to serving the Lord. And this special boy would lead Israel to defeat the Philistines who had

been ruling over Israel for 40 long years! In fact, this judge Samson is going to be so special he is the only

judge in all of judges where we learn anything about the parents! And they appear to be a godly couple

who seek the Lord in prayer, worship and sacrifice. And it only gets better…

Because if you look at the end of Judges13: 25, it reads, “And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir

him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.” So we have this miraculous birth, and then the Spirit

of the Lord comes upon Samson and begins to stir in him. And then we pick up the story sometime later

in chapter 14. But rather than finding a young man who is doing miraculous things like beating up the

Philistines, or healing the sick, or bringing glory to God in some way, instead we find a young man who is

full of lust, arrogance, pride, and selfishness!

In fact, the very first words out of his mouth recorded in the Bible are these in Judges 14: 2  I saw a woman!

How telling is that?!? This judge, who was set apart to a life devoted to God has as his downfall what so

is the downfall of so many men…a lustful heart! But he has other struggles as well. He’s greedy,

disobedient and broken. This man, this Nazirite, as we read about him today and will continue to read

about him for two more weeks, this man who was called by God to be devoted to God, is a man who is

full of sin and even he “does what is right in his own eyes”…Go get the woman!

What kind of man is Samson? To get a more complete picture, we have to go back to Numbers 6 to find

the vows that were placed on a Nazirite. I’ll let you read that this week on your own but let me tell you

what some of those are and how in our very first introduction to Samson in Judges 14, he broke them:

  1. He is not to touch a dead body: he touches a dead lion in verse 9 as he scrapes honey and in verse 19 as he kills men and takes their clothing.
  2. He is not to touch what’s produced in a vineyard: Yet he does just that in verse 5 as he walks on his way to Timnah.
  3. He not only walks through the vineyard but he gives an occasion for people to drink by throwing a 7 day wedding feast in verse 12.
  4. And we don’t see it here but in chapter 16, he will have his hair cut which violates the Nazirite vow as well.
  5. And, of course, no Israelite was supposed to marry a woman from among the pagan peoples.

So here is this man Samson, called by God before he was even in the womb, a Nazirite set apart for the

Lord, and the first we see of him, we see his lust for a woman, his disobedience to his own parents, his

feeling of entitlement as he demands a wife, his utter greed as he tries to trick the Philistine men out of

30 suits of clothing, and his weak-will as he gives into his wife’s constant pressure to reveal his secret.

So the question that might be going through your mind is: How could this man possibly be used by God?

And that brings us to our first and most important principle for tonight, church, and it’s this: God does

not call the equipped; He equips the called. Let me repeat that…

Now, I don’t claim to have come up with that thought on my own, I did not. It’s been around for quite

awhile and I could not find who originally said that. But at any rate, it is true, so true. God does not call

the equipped; He equips the called. We see that throughout the bible. Let me give you just a few quick

examples:

  • Abraham was too old;
  • Noah had a drinking problem;
  • Moses stuttered;
  • Rahab was a prostitute;
  • Leah was not exactly a pretty woman;
  • David was an adulterer and murderer;
  • Jonah was a stubborn hard-head
  • Peter denied Christ and had a hot temper;
  • Saul was too religious;
  • The Samaritan was divorced;
  • Lazarus was not only sick, he was dead!

And if you just think about his disciples…they were a rag-tag bunch of uneducated social outcasts who

couldn’t even stay awake in Jesus’s moment of need! And yet the Lord called them…called them from

their jobs as fishermen, from the tax collector’s booth, and He equipped them. And they changed the

world to the point that if it had not been for what God did to equip those called men, you and I would

not be here today! In fact, even if you go outside of the disciples…can you find 1 person, just 1, in all of

the Scriptures who was called by God because he was already equipped? I cannot think of one!

God does not call the equipped; He equips the called. And there’s a reason why God calls the

unqualified. Because when He does His work through unworthy people, everyone will know that it was

God. So it is with Samson! In fact, we know for sure that God did not call Samson based on any

qualifications that Samson possessed because the Lord called Samson before he was even in the womb!

So it is with Samson, so it is with you and me. So since God does not call the equipped but equips the

called, then that leads us to the second principle: Your sin does not disqualify you from His calling. I’m

willing to bet that many of you are sitting here tonight wondering if you are beyond God’s grace. You

might be thinking that you’re not smart enough, strong enough, good-looking enough, holy enough, rich

enough, old enough, not important enough, or because your family is just too dysfunctional for you to

be of any use to God. You might be struggling with a sin, maybe even an addiction, and you just think

you’re just not capable of being used by God to fulfill the calling He has placed on your life. But let me

tell you this…if that’s your struggle, if you think you’re beyond being used by God for his glory, then you

do not have a full enough grasp of the gospel!

You think there’s some level of holiness, or skill set, or ability that you have to get to in order to be used

by God and that is simply not true. God does not call the equipped; he equips the called, and your sin

does not disqualify you from His calling. In fact, here’s what is so strange, and almost unbelievable. Not

only does your sin not disqualify you from God’s calling on your life but God is going to use your sin and

your imperfections to achieve His purpose! Don’t believe me, check out the first few verses of chapter

14. Samson has demanded that his parents bring him a Philistine woman to marry which is a violation of

God’s commands. While his parents protest, they finally give in because this grown man is too spoiled to

take no for an answer. Now look at Judges 14: 4.

You see, God chose Samson from before the womb to save Israel from the Philistines because in his

sovereignty, He knew that Samson was going to be a disobedient, lustful, spoiled brat who was going to

grow up to marry a Philistine. And God is going to use Samson’s sin to fulfill His own purpose, which is to

deliver Israel from the hand of the enemy.

How can God do that? Because as we learned last week, the Lord is wonderful beyond our

comprehension! He is too much for us to understand! He is so beautiful that he takes our ugliness, our

sinfulness, and He uses it to accomplish what He wants us to do in this life!

Have you ever thought about this: What you think disqualifies you from God’s calling is actually going to

be used by God to equip you to fulfill His calling! That addiction you’re struggling with, that sin that you

keep returning to, that temper that you can’t seem to control, whatever it is…God is going to use that

because His strength is made perfect in your weakness! And one of the ways that God seems to use our

struggles is to equip us to help others get through the same struggle! So don’t lose hope, don’t lose your

sense of purpose, keep your eyes on God and your heart on his calling in your life and continue to

pursue Him in it!

And before I move on, just one quick side note to ponder…knowing that God can use our sin to work in

us, to mold us, to equip us, to fulfill His purpose and to bring him glory…if we apply that to others…to

our spouse, our roommates, our professor, our boss…how would that change the way we view others

when we see their sin and their flaws? I’ll let you ponder on that…

So, God does not call the equipped; He equips the called…and our sin does not disqualify us from His

calling.

That brings us to our third principle: We are not to remain in our sin! I think we all know that but just in

case someone is sitting here listening and thinking, “So Pastor Wes is saying it’s okay for me to continue

in my sin because God will use it to achieve His plan.” No, I’m not saying that! Just because God can use

our sin in some awesome super-natural way to achieve His purpose, that does not mean we can use that

to justify our sin! The bible is clear on that! Instead, our attitude should be one of gratitude, where in

deep appreciation for the grace that God gives us, that He chooses to use us in spite of our many flaws

and sins, that we should strive to walk in the power of the Spirit and lives that are holy and pleasing to

God.

I want to leave you with a question and an encouragement. First, the question…what is it that God has

called you to do? If you were here just over a year ago, I think it was, when we were going through our

“Don’t Waste Your Life” study by John Piper, that was a question we were all asked to ponder. What has

God called you to do? And we showed this picture…(Goldfish)

goldfish-jumping-out-of-bowl

So where are you with that? If you think about that fish having to jump…that’s a scary proposition!

There are a lot of excuses that fish can use…I’m not strong enough, I can’t fly, I don’t have the right

equipment to make this happen…and all of those excuses are start with “I”. And we’re the same way

sometimes…God gives us a calling, a dream to pursue…but we look in the mirror and we see our warts

and our flaws…I’m not strong enough, I’m not smart enough, I, I, I…

And I want to call out just a couple of people here in our church family who do not know I’m going to do

this…but the Borskis…Dave Borski left his job and started his own company so that they could do even

more with their resources. And Jason and Karla Edwards took in Jamie…a baby that is not even their

own…to raise her, for as long as they have her, as their own. Those are examples of jumping from one

And fear is a natural thing for us to feel…because we get focused on what we are not instead of what

God can do through us, so let me close by encouraging you with this…it’s from 1 Corinthians 1:26-

31…and as we read this, look at who God says he will call…and who he says he won’t!

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many

mighty, not many noble.   but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God

has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,   and the base things

of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things

that are, so that no man may boast before God.  30  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became

to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,   so that, just as it is

written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

God does not use the wise or the strong or the sophisticated…he uses broken, weak things like you and

me!

  1. God does not call the equipped; He equips the called
  2. Our sin does not disqualify us from His calling
  3. We are not to remain in our sin!