As we examine Judges 13-15, we see two women that use their persuasiveness to get what they want, which is, in both cases, information. The first woman, who Samson was to marry, nagged him for the answer to a riddle so her kinsmen could appear wise and present an answer to Samson. Then there’s Delilah. Oh Delilah….
I wrote about how bad this chick had to be in an earlier post. She was probably the kind of woman that made men’s heads turn and other women just had to give her props. Hair and makeup were probably in place at all times and you know she wore linen. Anywho, this girl knew what she had and knew how to use it. So what’s the big deal? Again, excellent question friends!
Delilah asked Samson the same question THREE times before he gave her the answer she was looking for. When she somehow knew he was telling the truth, she took advantage of that and assisted in his capture by the Philistines. This girl knew the power of the nag and was not afraid to use it!
The somewhat elusive power is displayed all throughout the Bible, starting with Eve persuading Adam to take a bite of whatever kind of fruit that was (possibly a fig or date). I can almost hear the conversation and see it play out in my head:
“Adam (said sweetly, y'all know how we can say a name sweetly), I know that God said we weren’t supposed to eat this fruit, but the serpent said we’d be like God if we take a bite. Baby, don’t you want to be like God? Then we’d know things and well, let’s just try it.”
Genesis doesn’t explain if there was any back and forth conversation between the two of them at this point, but it’s a possibility. Whatever conversation ensued, Adam was convinced and the power of the nag was victorious for the first time in history! …Or was it?
See, this power of persuasion is, I believe, a gift God has given to women. It’s true that men don’t have the same power. Sure, they may try, but it is just not the same I tell ya. Looking at this power being victorious requires an examination of true victory and whether or not it really took place in any of the above situations. Victory is when you win and, in relationships, you should look for both partners to be victorious, not one over the other. With Samson and Delilah, I guess you can say Delilah won to a certain extent. She got the information she desired and got paid in the process. However, what was her reputation after that? Was she just known as a deceitful woman who will use her femininity to harm men? Was she able to form any substantial relationships after Samson? How did she feel after she learned of what the Philistines did to him? So yes, she got what she wanted, but I wouldn’t say she was victorious.
As Christians, our victory lies in Christ (I Corinthians 15:57). We are actually more than conquerors through him (Romans 8:37). So in using our power of persuasion, if we’re looking to win, all roads should point to Christ. We shouldn’t use the power of the nag to persuade our brethren to do things that would be to their detriment, e.g., trying to get Samson to disclose the secret of his power to take advantage of it. However, because we have this power of persuasion, we should use it to point to Christ in all we do.
Proverbs 18:22 (MSG) says, “Find a good spouse, you find a good life—and even more: the favor of God!” Ladies, that means that we are connected to favor and blessings. However, when we use the power of the nag negatively, we can sever relationships and even turn others away from God, which could lead to serious consequences for us. On the other hand, when we use this power for good, we not only serve as a connection to favor, but we also have the opportunity to reap from its benefits.
So the next time you decide to use your power of persuasion, consider these questions:
What is my goal?
And will the end result lead to Christ?
You can read Samson’s Story in an earlier post or crack open your Bible and read Judges 13-16.
So what’s with his hair?
In Judges 13, an angel appears to Samson’s mom and tells her that no razor may be used on his head because he is to be set apart as a Nazirite. Then, in chapter 16, Samson tells Delilah that the secret of his strength is in his hair because no razor has ever been used on his head.
Because Samson identified himself as a Nazirite, I needed to learn more information about this title and what it implies.
Nazirites are Israelites consecrated/separated/dedicated to God for special service. Read Number 6:1-21 for a full description. The most famous Nazirites are Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. The Apostle Paul took a Nazirite vow and it’s believed that Jesus himself was a Nazirite near the end of his documented ministry. They were to refrain from fermented drinks, grapes, and grape derivatives. Also, during the period of the vow of separation, no razor may be used on his or her head and they must not go near dead bodies, including animals. People took Nazirite vows for periods no less than 30 days. However, Samson was one at birth and, therefore, carried this title throughout his life.
After learning this, I still couldn’t understand how Samson’s strength came from his hair. It still didn’t make sense to me, so I did what I always do; I kept reading.
Every time Samson was able to defeat an enemy, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power (Judges 13:25, 14:6, 19, 15:14). But as far as Samson knew, the only constant factor was his hair. He’d broken the other vows of being a Nazirite, such as touching a dead body in 14:5-9 and having a “drinking party” in 14:10. However, he still had not cut his hair. To him, that was the source of his superhuman strength because in all his inconsistencies, that was the one constant.
Samson liked riddles. He liked tripping people up when he could. I imagine that people often judged him as being, for the lack of a better phrase, a big dufus, a jock. They knew of his strength, but probably deduced he didn’t think too much. So, in turn, I think he took the opportunities to show people that he was contemplative. And then he falls in love with a woman from the Valley of Sorek, Delilah.
Delilah was probably a bad chick. She knew that women possess the power of persuasion and she knew how to use her power. The rulers of the Philistines asked her to lure Samson into showing her the secret of his strength so they could overpower him. Her compensation for selling out her boo: eleven hundred shekels of silver from each ruler. She asked Samson twice the secret of his strength and twice, he lied to her. Then she pulls out the “if you really love me card” and he gives in and reveals to her what he felt was the secret to his strength. Then he does it; he lays his head in her lap and she strokes his hair until he falls asleep, only to wake up bald and miles away from the Spirit of the Lord.
Picture it: you’re this big burly guy with extremely long hair, possibly dreadlocks (I hate that term because of its origin, yet I digress). People probably think you’re stupid because of your size and strength so you find yourself compensating, always trying to prove your intellect. And then, you meet this fine woman who’s not trying to fight you. She’s not trying to challenge you. She only wants to know who you really are and what makes you unequivocally you. Then you do it, you let her braid your hair. Her hands work masterfully and you just lean back and let her do her thing. And even though you think your strength is in her hands, you fall asleep, feeling relaxed and not worried about a thing. …and the Spirit of the Lord lets you two hang out and chucks the deuces.
But see, the crazy thing is that his strength wasn’t really in her hands. Every time Samson defeated an enemy, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. It wasn’t his hair or any of his own works. His strength, and ours, comes from the Lord. He is the source. However, sometimes we do things to cut off our supply. We lay our heads in foreign laps and trust those broad shoulders or coke-bottle shapes with our secrets. Then we look up and wonder why we can’t lift holy hands in service or why we just don’t feel God’s presence anymore. I used to think that maybe God was mad at me and was just not really feeling me. But then I realized that it’s not that God moves away from us, but sometimes, we move so far into darkness and fear that He can’t occupy that same space. …but as the old folks say, “Thank God for Jesus!” Jesus serves as the bridge over troubled waters. God is on one side and we’re on the other. The only thing that separates us from our strength supplier is sin, but all we have to do is cross the bridge….
So the next time you look up and your hair is jacked up because you let the wrong person braid it, remember that the bridge is open. Our hair can grow again and the Spirit of the Lord can dwell among us. It’s just up to us to cross the bridge.
For those who aren’t familiar with Samson, let’s revisit his story. Samson was anointed even before conception (Judges 13). Although his mother had not been able to conceive children, an angel appeared to her and gave her instruction on how to care for herself while carrying the child she would raise. The son was to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth so he can begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
Moving on to Judges 14, Samson marries a Philistine woman. Her name isn’t mentioned; she’s only referred to as a Philistine and as Samson’s wife. Long story short, he gives the Philistines a riddle they can’t answer so they ask Samson’s wife to get the answer for them. She cried for SEVEN DAYS, relenting until he finally revealed the answer. Of course, she told her kinsmen and they then attempted to appear wise before Samson with the answer. However, Samson knew what was up, called his wife a “heifer,” and then her father ended up arranging a different marriage for her. Samson gets angry and basically burns the whole town and even though the Philistines almost get him to exact their revenge, he breaks free and wrecks shop.
In Chapter 16, Samson meets Delilah. The chapter starts with him spending a night with a Philistine prostitute and yet again, God allows him to escape the hands of the Philistines. A few verses down, he meets and falls in love with Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines conspired with her to find the secret of Samson’s strength so they could capture him. Twice she asked him to share the secret of his strength and twice, he lied to her. She then pulled out the “If you love me” card and continued to nag him until he told her that his hair had never been cut and that if his head were shaven, he’d become as weak as any other man. After he revealed this, Delilah somehow knew that this was the truth and sent word to the rulers of the Philistines that they should come back and she’ll have Samson ready for them. She put him to sleep with his head on her lap and called someone to shave his head while he slept. When he awoke, he just thought he’d be able to shake himself free as he’d done the two times before, but he did not know that Lord left him. The Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes, and took him to Gaza. However, his hair did begin to grow.
After being captured, the Philistines celebrated their god Dagon since their enemy had been delivered into their hands. They then called out for Samson to come and perform for them. However, he prayed to God for strength so he could get revenge on the Philistines for his eyes and God granted him his desire. He then pushed down two pillars that supported the roof and killed thousands of people, including himself.
That’s the story in a nutshell. To get the details, read Judges 13-16 in various versions. NIV and The Message are my personal favorites, but whichever you choose, please read it for yourself. To me, it reads like a juicy novel or even a soap opera. Happy reading!
So, what’s the deal with Samson? And why does it seem that Samson can’t learn a lesson the first time it’s taught? I think it’s primarily the same reason why we keep walking around the same mountains in our lives. God delivers us, gives us the strength to fight our enemies, then we fall back into the same traps and repeat the same stupid behaviors. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at different lessons we can learn from Samson’s mistakes so we don’t have to repeat them. Next up, we’ll examine why you shouldn’t let everyone play in your hair….
So I'm working on another post that I think you'll enjoy. It's about Samson and his many issues with women. Of course, we'll touch on Delilah too. But as I continue to write, I want to know what issues you'd like me to address. What are some topics you'd like explored on Sex for the Saints? What interests you? And what topic do you think needs to be addressed from a Christian point of view? I'm very interested in your feedback. I have several topic ideas, but I really want to know what you want. It makes no sense for me to prepare a heaping plate of liver and onions and y'all don't like liver and are allergic to onions. ...y'all get what I'm sayin'.
Anyway, let me know what's on your mind and what areas you feel need to be addressed.
The Horizontal Mambo. The Booty Call. The Denver OmeLET (a la Chocolate News). Casual sex. It has many nicknames, some a bit funnier than others, but it does occur, even among Christians. …I’ll wait for your gasps of disbelief.
I know what you might be thinking. What is De-Andrea going to say now? The answer: a lot. I generally like to work with vignettes to illustrate my ideas, so let’s start there.
Let’s bring back Jan and Jim. They just met each other at a Christian conference and are seriously digging each other. Jim is from Chicago and Jan is from Atlanta. They’ve already exchanged email addresses and have vowed to stay connected because of the friendship spurred by their common beliefs. Since it’s the last evening of the conference, they decide to spend time together and end up talking into the wee hours of the morning. They’re feeling each other and Jim kisses Jan. She kisses back because, after all, he is her dream guy: Christian, grounded, good-looking, and available. However, a kiss progresses to a touch which progresses to even more touching and next thing they know, pants are on the ground and they’re studying Song of Solomon instead of Proverbs. …You get the point. So they did it; they had sex and the next day, they return to their separate cities intending to stay connected, especially since they’re now friends on Facebook. And it was only sex, right?
No, not exactly. Let’s start by looking at it biologically. Intercourse is designed for reproduction, for the most part. (The only purpose of a woman’s clitoris is pleasure, but that’s a whole other blog.) Anyway, women are designed to receive: we receive a man’s sperm that makes the miraculous journey of travelling through the fallopian tubes and uniting with one of our eggs to create new life. Additionally, both women and men produce chemicals in their brains during sexual contact. Dr. Laura Berman further explains:
When girl meets boy (or, in our case, Jan meets Jim), the brain releases a chemical love cocktail: Dopamine produces feelings of bliss, norepinephrine makes the heart race, and we are driven to want sex. Then, during sex, the brain triggers the release of oxytocin—the warm fuzzy of the hormone world—which leaves us wanting to bond with the person we’ve just done the horizontal mambo with. These are primitive urges that have helped ensure the survival of our species.
The problem is that oxytocin may have a more powerful effect on women, at least initially. The theory is that testosterone (which men have more of) turns off oxytocin, making women more sensitive to oxytocin’s effects. So although you may intellectually and even emotionally approach sex with a no-strings-attached attitude, these primal brain circuits may override the decision.
Of course brain chemistry cannot explain everything and there are times when recreational sex is just that—recreation. However, as anthropologist Helen Fisher puts it, be careful about having sex with people you don’t want to fall in love with—because you may end up doing just that!
Taken from Dr. Laura Berman’s Passion Files, 12/3/09
As explained by Dr. Berman, our bodies are engineered to bond while having intercourse. Additionally, oxytocin is also released in women’s brains during childbirth to facilitate mother-child bonding. The cards are indeed stacked against women in treating sex as casual encounters. However, there is an even deeper level of transfer that occurs.
Genesis 2:24 explains that when a man leaves his father and mother to unite with his wife, the two become one flesh. I think of this process kind of like how paper is made. There are several different ingredients that form to make paper, such as wood and water. However, if you try to extract wood or water from a sheet of paper, you’d be unable to do so because they’ve formed to make one product. You can cut a sheet of paper into different shapes or sizes, but you can’t squeeze water from it. And so it is when a man and woman become one flesh. When a man unites with a woman physically, they’re united spiritually, even if the intent was to have a casual fling. So how can we separate our spirits from those we didn’t plan to become tied to? It can be like tearing a sheet of paper in half….
Well, you know the story. Jan goes back to Atlanta and is still thinking about Jim while he’s in Chicago. It’s a possibility that the soul tie created could be pulling them together. However, they prematurely entered into a covenant to which neither of them was committed. Sure they’ll probably never see each other again aside from updated status messages on Facebook, but both will have to work extremely hard when they plan to marry others. They’ll have to work to untie themselves from each other so they can enter into the ministry of marriage with other partners.
So let’s revisit the question: is it just sex? No, it’s not. Sure, some people will continue to have casual flings, but it’s important that you understand all that’s at stake: your physical and spiritual health. Make wise decisions y’all.
This is just a quick note to let you know I'm back! I will be posting regularly with relevant topics that I hope will pique your interests. Stay tuned! Also, if you have any topic ideas, feel free to drop me a line.