Greed and selfishness can make people do things they normally wouldn’t do. Judges 14:12-20 shows how these two habits can lead us down a dangerous path. The passage shows how these emotions can harm our lives. We find this happening in the riddle of Samson — and we discover that Samson is not very nice.
Samson becomes caught up in a destructive web. He uses his mighty power to manipulate those around him. And it backfired! Let’s read the passage and see what the Book of Judges says about Samson’s riddle.
Samson Makes a Bet Using a Riddle – Judges 14
Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.
But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.”
So he said to them,
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”
But they could not tell the riddle in three days.
Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire.
Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?”
Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.”
And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?”
However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people.
So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,
“What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?”
And he said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have found out my riddle.”
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle.
And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house.
But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his friend. – Judges 14:12-20 NASB
The Danger Signs from Samson’s Riddle
Judges 14:6-8 tells the story of Samson’s great strength. In these verses, God gave Samson supernatural strength. This strength enabled him to defeat many of his enemies and accomplish great feats. Using that strength, he killed 30 men. Why? To settle a bet about a riddle he wrote.
Though we cringe at this, aren’t we sometimes selfish and self-centered too? Not to the point of killing, but to the point of doing something that could hurt someone else? For example, some people might take credit for someone else’s work in order to get ahead in their career. Samson’s story of supernatural strength and winning a bet can help us reflect on our own selfishness in the face of temptation.
God gives each of us talents and spiritual gifts. And, He allows us to choose whether to use them and how to use them.
This is like having a toolbox full of tools, some of which you have never tried before. You can choose to pick them up and learn how to use them, or they can sit in the box, gathering dust. So, we can use our gifts for God’s kingdom or for our own benefit. Therefore, we have the choice to choose how we will use our spiritual gifts. And each of us has the responsibility to make the right choice. But will we?
Responsibility for Choosing How to Use Our Gifts
The lesson today is very short. But it is important how we use our gifts and abilities is to help others and to build Christ’s church. By using them selfishly (to benefit ourselves), we are not giving God or the church the strength they need to change the world. As Jesus said in Matthew 25:14-30,
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.”
Judges 14:6-8 shows us the story of Samson’s unusual strength and how it led him to do something selfish and wrong. It serves as a reminder to us to be mindful of our own spiritual gifts. It encourages us to use them for the benefit of others, rather than for our own gain. We should strive to use our gifts for the good of the kingdom of God. If we do, we benefit others — and ourselves.
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 here.