And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. Judges 16:6
The forwardness of Delilah’s question is striking. She asks a straightforward question, plain with what the intention is, and Samson dances around the truth, failing to give a straightforward answer. Samson was a man in covenant, a Nazarite vow bound him to certain covenant duties, and the sign of his covenant was his famous locks of hair. Now, though a might man who boasted great feats of strength, it should be remarked that at this point in his story he is allured by the charms of Delilah and the temporal delights she may offer.
He is tantalized by sin, and as a result he does not answer this straightforward temptation with a straightforward answer. Rather, he tries to evade temptation without meeting it head on, and even when he admits the source of his strength (Jdg. 16:17) he points at the sign of his covenant, and not the LORD whom he is covenanted with!
When Delilah asked wherein was his great strength, his answer ought to have been the same as the Psalmist: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him (Psa 28:7).” Now, we must be careful to not simply toss aside the sign of the covenant as irrelevant here; Samson’s hair was a sacramental sign of sorts, and as such there was a real (or true) correlation between his unshaven head and the strength which God imparted to him because of that Nazarite covenant.
Our baptism and our taking of the Lord’s supper are signs of our covenant with God, wherein He is truly presented to and present with us. Our strength does not lie in the signs themselves, but in our Christ who is mystically present in them.Our strength does not lie in the signs themselves, but in our Christ who is mystically present in them. We ought not to toss aside our covenant signs as irrelevant, nor should we look to them as more important than that which they signify. Samson resisted temptation feebly, by failing to distinguish the signs of his Nazarite vow from the God with whom he was avowed! We must not make the same mistake.