How Sin Seduced the Strongest, Wisest, and Most Godly
They Fell, So Can You
We are all in danger of the seductive nature of sin. Yet we often do not feel the danger until it is too late. Sin is like a seductress who lures her unsuspecting prey with flattering assurances (Proverbs 5–7; Hebrews 3:13). Like a spider, she sets her trap and waits to pounce on those who play in her web.
But God does not desire us to be consumed. He warns us of sin’s schemes by recording the fall of others who were tempted as we are. Few examples are more sobering than those of Samson, Solomon, and David. They are tragic tales of strong, wise, and devoted men who were overcome by the power, trickery, and allure of sin.
Sin Is Stronger Than You
The life of Samson was marked by triumph and tragedy. Born to godly parents and empowered by God, he was set up to be a deliverer Israel desperately needed. Prior to Samson’s downfall, his supernatural strength was unmatched. No army or enemy was able to defeat him.
But sin could. Seduction weakened him to willingly surrender his secret source of strength (Judges 16:17). When his locks were clipped, he rose to fight, but “he did not know that the Lord had left him” (Judges 16:20). The spider had spun him up, and he was too weak to defend himself. His physical state mirrored his spiritual one. He was blind, broken, and crushed under the consequences of compromise. His wicked wife also was seduced by offers of money and power.
. The unseen enemy in his heart blinded him to his own weakness and he imagined he could go alone with his strength and no longer depend upon God!
Samson never saw it coming. As he fed his lust, he strengthened it. As he stoked his pride, he invigorated it. As he submitted to his flesh, it fortified against him. When God left him he was weak and hopelessly vulnerable.
What can we learn from Samson’s fall?
- Sin feeds on power.
“Sin overpowered the strongest man. It can take you out, too.”
We are tempted to think that the more powerful we become, the better we will battle sin. But the exact opposite is true. The more power, influence, or prestige we possess, the more we are easily tempted. With success comes a certain spiritual weak spot. Self pride feeds our sinful nature. That weak ego strength of self pride makes one imagine he can have whatever he wants, and cab do whatever he pleases, but eventually those he leads see through his sins and depose him from the lofty position. This is why we are warned that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). In weakness, we feel our need for God, but when we are strong, we lack that caution so necessary for our safety.
- Sin flourishes in isolation.
Samson was almost always alone. He had no need for others. He had things under control. But his isolating pride set him up to be ambushed by the prowling lion. Isolation is the enemy of spiritual strength because it separates you from those God has provided to help you. We are not all strong at the same time. We need others to press us into the light of humility and honesty. Samson didn’t see a need for that kind of help — he was too strong.
Sin overpowered the strongest mind and that is why God advises us to seek counsel from wise God-fearing friends.
Sin’s Father Is Smarter Than You
Solomon’s reign began with love for God and his gift of unparalleled understanding. He wrote thousands of proverbs and authored inspired words of Scripture. But his heart had turned away to forbidden alliances, lovers, and idols (1 Kings 11:1–8).
Solomon had matchless wisdom, yet was outsmarted by Satan’s sinful schemes. The tempter sowed seeds of compromise that eventually sprouted and choked his discernment. He counseled others to lean not on their own understanding, yet he did not take his own counsel.
His collection of forbidden horse chariots may have been well-intentioned, but they revealed a distrust in God’s care (Deuteronomy 17:16; 1 Kings 10:26). He made alliances with foreign kings that were sealed with wives who brought idols into his home (Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Kings 3:1; 11:3). He thought he could keep the compromise under control (2 Chronicles 8:11), but eventually they outnumbered him a thousand to one. It seems Solomon thought he could work the system, but in the end we was a slave to the system.
What can we learn from Solomon’s fall?
- Sin wants you to trust your own wisdom.
The way seems right to you but without seeking God’s counsel it will be the worst path.
Solomon knew what God said about multiplying wives and horses and riches. Yet he thought he was wise enough to handle it. This is part of sin’s scheme. The tempter assures you that you are wise enough to see when you are in trouble. He wants you to think you’re safe, even while indulging in sinful exploration (Ecclesiastes 1–2). You’ll be assured that you can keep things under control — after all, you are one of the chosen special ones and God is with you.
- Sin wants you to underestimate small compromises.
The tempter has a crafty plan to patiently have you grow content with small compromises. “It’s just one look.” “A little won’t hurt.” “It’s not as bad as what they are doing.” If Satan cannot tempt you into a great sin, he will settle for a small one, because he knows that small sins pave the way to greater ones. Callousness grows in small degrees. Fear of God does not disappear all at once.
Solomon slowly became comfortable with his sins and eventually have a thousand idol-worshiping homemakers. One makes a home. A thousand makes a stable of people who do not know or love the home owner.
Sin outwitted the wisest man, and it can outsmart you, too.
Sin Can Woo You
Few people have known the sweet fellowship David had with God. His delight in God marked the lines of his songs and the steps of his life. Whether in trial, trouble, or celebration, David’s heart was always oriented toward enjoying God.
Yet even those who love God can be wooed away from him. We do not know why David stayed back from battle that spring afternoon, but we can guess he had seen her before. As he watched for her on his palace roof, his unattended heart fell prey to forbidden beauty. Rather than flee, he lingered. A look, a longing, an inquiry, adultery, lies, conspiracy, murder, and attempted cover-up. David would repent and find forgiveness from God, but the consequences of his sin sent incalculable ripples throughout the kingdom (Psalm 51). We might even argue it was the beginning of a slide into the final destruction by Babylon.
David had become luke-warm for God. His affections for God diminished and the tempting beauty of sin ignited his flesh. He admired her but in the end probably she was not so different to or better than the others he had known, and now he would pay a terrible price for his curiosity and transgression.
What can we learn from David’s fall?
- Sin has a deceptive beauty.
We must remember that Satan wears the disguise of an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is a master at twisting good things God made and using their beauty to luring our hearts into forbidden waters. The power of sin is found in its presented beauty.
Nearly everyone wants to receive yet another confirmation they are loved, wanted, needed and/or appreciated.
The affirmation of his desirability led to their adultery. The lie seemed safe. The stolen treasure looked good and he thought he could find safety in his lie. Surely God would forgive him. Remember in your case as in David’s the tempter lays before our eyes a beautiful prize and tells us it is right and acceptable before God but hides the hook that ensnares us.
- Lead me to temptation, deliver me to evil.
Temptation most often enters through a door intentionally left open. If you aimlessly wander in the wilderness near the tempter’s house, you can be certain you will get a visit from him. This is why we are warned to “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14).
I once saw an advertisement for pornography and the headline was, “This Is Why You Bought A Computer.” Well, I hope not! But those who did were making a rather large provision for the flesh, it’s temptations and deliverance to evil.
Jesus Is Stronger, Wiser, More Beautiful
God has given these examples to us that we might be instructed and warned to not fall into the same temptations (1 Corinthians 10:11–13). Yet we must not only avoid their example, but receive assistance from “The Helper” who is greater than sin.
Our sinful weaknesses need not lead us to despair. Instead, these weaknesses can lead us to hope in the one who is greater than our sin, and teach us lessons about ourselves and the fallable nature of humanity.
Jesus bound the strong man to set us free (Matthew 12:29). Jesus outsmarted the tempter by clinging to the wisdom of the Scriptures (Matthew 4:1–11). Jesus rejected sinful exaltation by drinking the cup of humiliation (Matthew 26:39).
Jesus was tempted as we are, yet he endured without sin. His life was the only righteous life, therefore his death satisfied his Father’s just requirements. His resurrection gives us liberation, and his intercession grants us help in our weakness. Jesus is stronger than Samson, wiser than Solomon, and more devoted than David — and in him we find help to resist the tempter’s snares.
With notes from Garrett Kell at desiringGod.org, editing by Dr. Steve Newdell