Right in the Eye - week 4

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Conversation point:

  • Talk about something you badly wanted when you were younger. Did you get it? If so, did it live up to your high expectations?

Chances are our greatest regrets can be traced back to decisions we made where our body wanted something that our heart knew was wrong. An appetite was raging. We saw something or someone we wanted… even though he, she, or it wasn’t healthy for us. But we gave in to our appetite anyway, yielding to the “little kings” that want to replace the Creator King.

What do we do when our body wants what our heart knows is wrong?

Conversation points:

  • Why do you think our culture glorifies doing what is “right in our own eyes” when it comes to our appetites (ex: power, entertainment, money, sex, etc…)? What are some of the costs of this mindset?

This week we turn our attention to one of the more well known judges, Samson. In many ways Samson’s life was a microcosm of Israel’s issues during the time period of the judges:
⁃ both chosen by God to do something great, and to be an influence on surrounding nations
⁃ both distracted, wanting to be like the other nations, costing them their influence

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Samson was his long hair, an aspect of his Nazarite vow. Nazirite, meaning “to separate or abstain,” was a vow taken on willingly by one who wished to devote themselves to God. Samson was unique in that he didn’t choose this vow- it was placed upon him by his parents at his birth.

The Nazirite vow consisted of three primary restrictions:

  • don’t consume grape products (primarily wine)
  • don’t touch dead things
  • don’t cut your hair

Samson broke all three in his lifetime. His heart, his appetite, laid elsewhere.

Look at the first episode of Samson’s life recorded in Judges 14.

Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.” Judges 14:1-3

The first recorded words of Samson are “I’ve seen a woman- get her for me!” His appetite raging, Samson only wanted what was “right in his eyes,” regardless the cost.

Samson’s life of self-indulgence culminates in his super-dysfunctional relationship with Delilah (take a minute to read Judges 16 to brush up on the details). In those moments leading up to Delilah’s betrayal, I wonder if it briefly crossed Samson’s mind , “wait… I’m a Nazirite, dedicated to God- why am I here?” The Spirit of God was upon him and he was the most feared man in the region- why would he want to be like everybody else?

In his pursuit of doing what was “right in his own eyes,” Samson became a prisoner of the very people whose lifestyle he tried to emulate.

In analyzing the life of Samson, we must ask ourselves a question: are we, like Samson, living from the outside in? Or are we living, as God asks of us, from the inside out?

Are we letting God have our heart so that he motivates our external response, or are we letting the things around us that appeal to our physical nature control us internally? It is helpful to be reminded that when it comes to acting on our appetites, God isn’t trying to keep something good from us, He has something better for us!

Conversation point:

  • What is one step you can take to yield your appetites to God and begin to live from the inside out instead of the outside in? How can this group support you as you take that step?