**This newsletter is the third article in a four part series on the life of Samson.
The first part is "Samson: A Man of Privilege. (September 2016)
The second part is "Samson: A Man of Misplaced Confidence (October 2016)
Dear fellow disciple-maker,
Every woman in the book of Proverbs is described as either a trap or a treasure. The women who are a blessing are treasures. The women who bring men to ruin are traps. Throughout his life Samson failed to distinguish the difference. Somehow he felt he could play with fire and not get burned. Unfortunately he learned the hard way.
The woman who is best remembered for exploiting Samson is Delilah. While Samson fell in love with her, Delilah used him. Judges 16 records that the rulers of the Philistines approached Delilah and offered her money to lure him into revealing the secret of his strength. Motivated by greed, Delilah was a satanic trap that Samson would not escape. To Delilah, Samson was nothing more than a winning lottery ticket.
On three separate occasions Samson noticed that Delilah was trying to trick him and hand him over to the Philistines. Weren't her evil intentions obvious? Yet day after day he spent time with her and seemed to assume that God would never leave him. He felt invincible. Eventually Samson told her everything (Judges 16:17-18).
Totally exhausted, Samson fell asleep on Delilah's lap and she called a Philistine to shave off his hair. Although his hair was gone he still assumed that he had the power to protect himself. He did not know that the Lord had left him (Judges 16:20). Until now, Samson was a man set apart for God. On this day he became as weak as any other man. When the Philistines overpowered him he undoubtedly remembered the true source of his power.
Desire, Sin, Death
Samson slowly self-destructed. He spent day after day in a compromising situation – with a woman he enjoyed. Eventually she ruined him. Every person has a Delilah. Your Delilah may not come dressed as a woman – but one of Satan's master strategies is to tempt us in a way that causes us to forget the Lord. Samson's personal failure is a warning. His story depicts the well-worn path to self-destruction that always begins with desire, always follows with sin, and always ends with death. Samson assumed that regardless of the situation he could handle the pressure.
God does not want us to make the same mistake. The story of Samson helps us understand that everyone is vulnerable. Which of these seven warning signs do you recognize in your own life?
* Overestimating your own capacity to resist temptation
* Underestimating the deceptive power of Satan
* Developing an angry, bitter and critical spirit
* Focusing on your rights and magnifying the faults of others
* Shifting blame and responsibility on to others
* Desiring to impress others
* Refusing to make yourself accountable to others
God's grace and strength will protect us from spiritual and moral danger. Good intentions and personal will power are not enough. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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