Whenever relating the truth as it is in Jesus, we must look to the Bible—God’s Holy Word—for the truth in principle, and for the provided illustrations that give the correct rendering of meaning. In some cases, the illustration furnished in Scriptures reveals the pitfalls and failings of those who do not live according to the principles of truth.
Samson is such an example provided to us so that we can avoid his particular sin that brought dishonor to himself. What was this sin? Unconditional love that embraced the unrepentant heathen led to his disgrace when his life should have been governed by a discriminating love. And yet, as we shall see, he became a repentant judge.
The Biblical account of Samson includes the purpose for which God raised him up and endowed him with the peculiar gift of prodigious physical strength. Because of the abhorrent wickedness of the Israelites, God had seen fit to punish the national apostasy with Philistine dominion. Forty years of harsh rule had its effect. “Amid the widespread apostasy the faithful worshipers of God continued to plead with Him for the deliverance of Israel. Though there was apparently no response, though year after year the power of the oppressor continued to rest more heavily upon the land, God’s providence was preparing help for them. Even in the early years of the Philistine oppression a child was born through whom God designed to humble the power of these mighty foes.” (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 560.)
Samson was to be the appointed anointed symbol of deliverance. “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” (KJV, Judges 13:5, emphasis added.)
As a Nazarite, Samson was a type of Christ. Because of the great importance of his mission, even his mother was to obey particular instructions that would impact the prenatal care so as to provide a positive influence on Samson’s development from the moment of conception. She would obey by drinking no wine, strong drink, nor eating any food considered unclean by Mosaic laws. By obeying these instructions given for the benefit of all, Samson’s parents would be exercising the discriminating love that would enhance his ability to discern between right and wrong. The danger of disobedience in this regard would result in debilitating judgment. “Anything that lessens physical strength enfeebles the mind and makes it less capable of discriminating between right and wrong. We become less capable of choosing the good and have less strength of will to do that which we know to be right.” (Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, 346.)
Though Manoah and his wife were faithful to obey the Lord’s instructions, Samson was not as diligent as he ought to have been. “Had Samson obeyed the divine commands as faithfully as his parents had done, his would have been a nobler and happier destiny. But association with idolaters corrupted him. The town of Zorah being near the country of the Philistines, Samson came to mingle with them on friendly terms. Thus in his youth intimacies sprang up, the influence of which darkened his whole life. A young woman dwelling in the Philistine town of Timnath engaged Samson’s affections, and he determined to make her his wife. To his God-fearing parents, who endeavored to dissuade him from his purpose, his only answer was, ‘She pleaseth me well.’ The parents at last yielded to his wishes, and the marriage took place.
“Just as he was entering upon manhood, the time when he must execute his divine mission—the time above all others when he should have been true to God—Samson connected himself with the enemies of Israel. He did not ask whether he could better glorify God when united with the object of his choice, or whether he was placing himself in a position where he could not fulfill the purpose to be accomplished by his life. To all who seek first to honor Him, God has promised wisdom; but there is no promise to those who are bent upon self-pleasing.” (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 562, 563, emphasis added.)
God’s love is discriminating! It is by His wisdom and love that He desires to guide those who profess to be His peculiar people through life’s situations and circumstances so as to avoid the pitfalls associated with selfishness. It is His discriminating love that tests the loyalty of these professors. He would weed out the false professor so as to prevent the choking out of the true. That is why salvation is conditional. That is why His promises are conditional. And yet, how many commit the same selfish sin as Samson by associating and fellowshipping with those who are bent on pleasing only themselves. The result is evident in the Church by the increase of marriages to unbelievers and the escalation in divorce among professed Christians.
“Unwise marriages are the curse of this age. Such an alliance can but be disastrous to both parties. That love which has no better foundation than mere sensual gratification will be headstrong, blind, and uncontrollable. Honor, truth, and every noble, elevated power of the mind, is brought under the slavery of passions. The man who is bound in the chains of this infatuation is too often deaf to the voice of reason and conscience; neither argument nor entreaty can lead him to see the folly of his course.
“Men and women professing godliness should tremble at the thought of entering into a marriage covenant with those who do not respect and obey the commandments of God. It was this that opened the flood-gates of sin to the antediluvians. Such a connection with the world is a direct departure from God’s express requirements,—‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.’
“In these alliances the creature receives the love which should be given to the Creator. There is danger in entering into any intimate relation with those who have no connection with Heaven. This is the friendship which Inspiration calls enmity with God. We can not be too jealous of ourselves, lest, by associating with worldlings, we fall into the same habits. It was for this reason that the Israelites were commanded to dwell alone, as a people separate from all other nations. The friendship of the Lord’s enemies is more to be dreaded than their enmity; for Satan is constantly working through pleasing, intelligent unbelievers, to tempt the people of God to sin.” (Ellen White, Signs of the Times, July 1, 1903, emphasis added.)
“True love is not a strong, fiery, impetuous passion. On the contrary, it is calm and deep in its nature. It looks beyond mere externals and is attracted by qualities alone. It is wise and discriminating, and its devotion is real and abiding. God tests and proves us by the common occurrences of life. It is the little things which reveal the chapters of the heart. It is the little attentions, the numerous small incidents and simple courtesies of life, that make up the sum of life’s happiness; and it is the neglect of kindly, encouraging, affectionate words, and the little courtesies of life, which helps compose the sum of life’s wretchedness. It will be found at last that the denial of self for the good and happiness of those around us constitutes a large share of the life record in heaven. And the fact will also be revealed that the care of self, irrespective of the good and happiness of others, is not beneath the notice of our heavenly Father.” (Ellen White, Vol. 2, Testimonies for the Church, 133, 134, emphasis added.)
The simple truth is that unconditional love, which is primarily sentimental in its workings, is a fatal deception. Because it is fatal in its delusion, it can be rightly identified as the omega deception—the last deception! It starts out with the sentiment of harmlessness, and results in the breaking of every commandment of God. This is why we are given specific counsel regarding the accomplishment of our work in these last days.
“While we cannot love and fellowship those who are the bitter enemies of Christ, we should cultivate that spirit of meekness and love that characterized our Master,—a love that thinketh no evil and is not easily provoked.
“This is a matter that rests between God and our own souls. We are living amid the perils of the last days, and we should guard every avenue by which Satan can approach us with his temptations. A fatal delusion seizes those who have had great light and precious opportunities, but who have not walked in the light nor improved the opportunities God has given them. Darkness comes upon them; they fail to make Christ their strength, and fall an easy prey to the snares of the deceiver. A mere assent to the truth will never save a soul from death. We must be sanctified through the truth; every defect of character must be overcome, or it will overcome us, and become a controlling power for evil. Commence without a moment’s delay to root out every pernicious weed from the garden of the heart; and, through the grace of Christ, allow no plants to flourish there but such as will bear fruit unto eternal life.” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, June 3, 1884, emphasis added.)
When we begin to understand that the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 begin with Ephesus leaving its first love and end with Laodicea thinking it has God’s love and favor when it does not, then we ought comprehend why things in this lukewarm church are as they are!
“The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people, should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition, and worship they know not what.
“I have been shown that many who profess to have a knowledge of present truth, know not what they believe. They do not understand the evidences of their faith. They have no just appreciation of the work for the present time. When the time of trial shall come, there are men now preaching to others, who will find, upon examining the positions they hold, that there are many things for which they can give no satisfactory reason. Until thus tested, they knew not their great ignorance.
“And there are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe, but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness. When separated from those of like faith, and compelled to stand singly and alone to explain their belief, they will be surprised to see how confused are their ideas of what they had accepted as truth. Certain it is that there has been among us a departure from the living God, and a turning to men, putting human wisdom in place of divine.
“God will arouse His people; if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat. The Lord calls upon all who believe His word to awake out of sleep. Precious light has come, appropriate for this time. It is Bible truth, showing the perils that are right upon us. This light should lead us to a diligent study of the Scriptures, and a most critical examination of the positions which we hold.
“God would have all the bearings and positions of truth thoroughly and perseveringly searched, with prayer and fasting. Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the word of God, so that when the testing time shall come, and they are brought before councils to answer for their faith, they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear.” (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, 298, 299, emphasis added.)
“When God’s people are at ease and satisfied with their present enlightenment, we may be sure that He will not favor them. It is His will that they should be ever moving forward to receive the increased and ever-increasing light which is shining for them. The present attitude of the church is not pleasing to God. There has come in a self-confidence that has led them to feel no necessity for more truth and greater light. We are living at a time when Satan is at work on the right hand and on the left, before and behind us; and yet as a people we are asleep. God wills that a voice shall be heard arousing His people to action.” (Ellen White, Vol. 5, Testimonies for the Church, 708, 709, emphasis added.)
May our voices be raised in unity to “cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (KJV, Isaiah 58:1.) May we be found proclaiming the three angels’ messages, which include the announcement that the hour of judgment has commenced, and that soon God will fulfill the warning He has given in advance of the work, the strange act, of purifying the universe of sin. “Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them…. And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” (KJV, Ezekiel 8:18; 9;5, 6.)
At the end of his life, while physically blinded and enslaved, Samson repented of his folly. God strengthened him to perform one last feat of strength that destroyed a heathen temple and thousands of reveling, idolatrous priests, rulers, and rabble. Let us also repent of our erroneous beliefs before it is too late.