In our text this week we are confronted with Samson’s sin with a prostitute, a sin that almost destroyed him. This is a clear picture of yielding to temptation and giving in to unbridled lust and passion. Again, Samson’s inconsistent life, and his compromising with the ways of the world almost cost him his life. The scene is graphically painted by the Scripture, Samson’s sin was that of illicit sex – immoral womanizing. He made a trip to Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute. Gaza was one of the five major cities of the Philistines, a major seaport of the Mediterranean Sea. It was about 40 miles from Samson’s hometown of Zorah, and just why Samson had made the trip is not stated. But as soon as he arrived, he obviously saw the prostitute, and his tendency toward unbridled lust and passion was aroused. The lust of the eyes and the flesh took over, and he yielded to the temptation, breaking the clear commandment of God. At some point, Samson’s presence was discovered; unknown to Samson, the authorities immediately sent guards to surround the house of the prostitute, and the officials plotted to assassinate Samson at dawn. But Samson discovered the plot and escaped during the middle of the night. The city gates being guarded, Samson had no way to get out of the enclosed or walled city. But either the guards posted at the gates had either fallen asleep, or else Samson threatened or frightened them away; whatever the case, Samson walked up to the gates, unlocked them, took hold of the doors of the gate, and either tore each one from its hinges and then pulled up the posts or he took hold of the gate and post and broke them both out of the ground simultaneously. In either event, he lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill facing Hebron.
How could one person conceivably do such a feat? Obviously, Samson was a very strong man, most likely the strongest who has ever lived. But even for him, even as the slaying of 1000 men is a phenomenal feat for any single person, so this feat astounds human imagination. The only way a human being could perform either of the two feats, is by an astounding, incomprehensible empowering of the Holy Spirit of God. Daniel I. Block wrote, “How could Samson pick up these huge gates and their bars, place them on his shoulder, and then carry them away? Based on previous incidents, the most likely answer is to be found in a special divine empowerment, as the Spirit of Yahweh rushes upon him.” The point to see is that all of Samson’s feats of strength and achievements are personal. They revolve solely around him. The Israelites are not involved. They have not been mobilized to stand against the evil, oppressive Philistines, not mobilized to throw off the yoke of subjection and enslavement to the cruel foreign power. All the feats of Samson were provoked by his own wrongful behavior. More than any other judge, he had been born with the great hope of being a mighty deliverer of God’s people. But he spent his whole life doing his own thing and giving in to the lustful cravings of his flesh. Is this to be your legacy?