And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.…
Sudden, surprising danger is brought before us here. How true that is of the life of young men still. Are there not temptations that leap upon us — spiritual wickednesses that come upon us unawares? This Samson was going down to Timnath on thoughts of love intent, never dreaming of such danger. A young lion roared against him. I thank God for the roar — for the sins that are unmistakable. You know where you are. But what are we to do with such temptations? First of all, do not run. Samson had great strength; he could stand and fight till his weapon clave to his fist; but I rather think running was not in his line. There was only one thing death or victory; and he ran all risks, and flung himself on the brute. So with certain sins. Do not dally with them; do not dodge — you cannot. Do not try, as some one has said, to think them down. It is utterly impossible; it is neither philosophical nor anything else. There is just one thing to do — accept them. Take them as they are, in all their ugliness and all their ferocity, and do not be afraid, but by faith and prayer imbrue your hand in their blood. Grip them, bring them out, face them, and slay them before the Lord. And do it quickly; make sure work of it no half-work of these lusts, like springing lions, that war against the soul. See how heaven and earth are mingled in that conflict. In order to tell this story completely, you have to bring in the supernatural — "The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him." Now, that control by the Spirit must be known by us; His power must be experienced. Without Him ye can do nothing. Without Him, the lion-like temptations, or the snake-like temptations, will lay hold of you and destroy you. But with the Spirit of God you are invincible; you have got the secret of the old warrior in classic story, who as often as he touched mother-earth found his strength return to him. "Stand," says Paul. "How?" you ask. "Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit," he replies. But notice further, "there was nothing in his hand." No sword, no staff. An adumbration, a hint of the New Testament again: "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual." To the eye of sense, the most defenceless babe in London is the young fellow, full of flesh and blood, who wants to hold the faith and fear of Jesus Christ. Wonder of wonders! He is not defenceless. Marvel of marvels, joy of heaven, disappointment of hell, he is not overcome! There are men and women to-day living a kind of salamander life; living in the flame, with the roar of the lion, and the hiss of the serpent, and the rattle of the snake, for ever in their ears; and they are not dead yet, and they never shall be. Yet they have "nothing in their hands." How, then, do they live when others are pinned to the earth? The Spirit of the Lord is with them. "He told not his father or mother what he had done." For a young Christian that is very helpful. Samson had his fine points about him. Like a great many other giants, he was a modest fellow. He bore his honours meekly. You may be like Samson. You may be a deal stronger and brighter than your fellows, and you may be able to cope with difficulties that overwhelm others. Cope with them, and hold your tongue. Perhaps you have escaped a lot of things that others have not escaped. But remember Samson. He did not halloo; and it well became him, for he was not out of the wood. Take care; there is no cause for fear; but there is no cause for boasting. Then another word from the eighth verse: "After a time he returned, and he turned aside," etc. The picture is Samson going on eating that sweetmeat, and being refreshed by it; and you see at once the application of it. Sin faced, mastered, becomes a very eating and drinking as we go on our way. See how the believer's path is a path going on from strength to strength. Crucifying the flesh is honey-sweetness. Do this to your temptations: get at the honey in the heart of their carcase when you have slain them; thereby reading Samson's riddle, "Out of the eater comes forth meat, and out of the strong comes forth sweetness."
Parallel VersesKJV: And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.