13. LUST FOR POWER CAN LEAD PEOPLE TO BRUTALITY.
Judges 9:4-6 - "So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men; and they followed him. Then he went to his father's house at Ophrah and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. But Jotham the younger son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself. And all the men of Shechem gathered together, all of Beth Millo, and they went and made Abimelech king beside the terebinth tree at the pillar that was in Shechem."
What kind of man murders sixty-nine of his brothers just to become king? A brutal man (cf. 9:48,49), and one who has an exceedingly strong lust for power. God calls us to deny our lusts and submit to Him (cf. I John 2:15-17).
14. YOUR SPEECH WILL CONVEY WHOSE SIDE YOU ARE ON.
Judges 12:5,6 - "The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, 'Let me cross over,' the men of Gilead would say to him, 'Are you an Ephraimite?' If he said, 'No,' then they would say to him, 'Then say, "Shibboleth"!' And he would say, 'Sibboleth,' for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites."
Even back then people could tell where someone was from based upon how he spoke or pronounced certain words. The lesson to glean here is that our speech conveys to the world which side we are on. If our speech contains profanity, dirty jokes, or gossip, we are telling everyone whose side we are on (whether we realize it or not). May our speech be filled with words of encouragement, kindness, and the gospel spoken in love! (cf. Eph. 4:15; Col. 4:5,6).
15. STRENGTH IN ONE AREA DOESN'T EQUAL INVINCIBILITY.
Judges 14:2,3 - "So he [Samson] went up and told his father and mother, saying, 'I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.' Then his father and mother said to him, 'Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?' And Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me, for she pleases me well.'"
It is true that this was "of the LORD" (14:4), but that doesn't negate the fact that it is the first glimpse of Samson's weakness--women (cf. 16:1,16,17). Samson was an unstoppable force of physical strength when the LORD was with Him. However, this didn't make him invincible in other aspects of life. Friends, don't make the mistake that Samson did in thinking more highly of yourself than you should (cf. I Cor. 10:12).
16. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LUST AND LOVE.
Judges 16:4 - "Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley or Sorek, whose name was Delilah."
To what degree Samson truly loved Delilah is hard to say, but the text says he loved her. He was foolishly willing to tell her everything (even after she had proven herself untrustworthy!). Delilah, on the other hand, clearly did not love Samson. She certainly did not have his best interests in mind. Her attraction toward him was based on selfish lust; that is, lust for his body and later lust for money! Sadly, too many people today do not realize the difference between lust and love in their relationships. No relationship can succeed for long if its foundation is illicit desire. On the other hand, any relationship can prosper when based upon selflessly seeking the best interests of the other person.