Do you love a good riddle? I particularly love the feeling of accomplishment once I’ve solved a challenging riddle. Riddles are not only fun, but they’ve also been proven to help with problem-solving, logic, and critical thinking skills.
Did you know there’s a riddle in the bible? In Judges chapter 14 we see Samson heading down to Timnah, to arrange a marriage to the enemy, to a Philistine woman who “pleased him well” (verse 3). On his way to Timnah a lion attacks him, but the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he tore the lion apart (verses 5-6). After some time when he returned to Timnah for the wedding, he saw some honey and bees in the carcass of the lion, took some, and ate it (verses 8-9). During the wedding, Samson posed a riddle to the Philistine men. Riddle me this, “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet” (Judges 14:14). If you’re familiar with the rest of the story, you probably already know the answer, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” (verse 18). Honestly, I thought the riddle was quite stupid but after taking some time to study it, I found that even this strange riddle had lessons we can apply to our lives.
Although Samson was chosen by God from birth, he made a lot of questionable decisions during his life. At a time when Samson should have been dedicating his life to the service of God and focusing on his divine mission, he was fraternizing with the enemy. He chose to marry a Philistine woman even though this was in direct disobedience to God’s commands (Deut. 7:1-3; 2 Cor 6:14). On his way down to Timnah, down in the direction of sin, down to fraternize and lie with the enemy, a lion attacks him. Did you know that in Hosea God is compared to a lion who attacks Israel for their sins (Hosea, 5:14; 13:7)? How are we like Samson? God has called us by name for a divine purpose, yet we choose to pursue our own sinful desires. We hear the calls of Jesus, who stands as a lion (Rev 5:5) between us and sin, but we choose to sin because it 'pleases us well'. By rejecting the Son of God, and choosing our sin over Christ, we have again crucified Christ by nailing him to the cross (Heb 6:6). Just as Samson kills the lion, we kill Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah with our sins.
Is there anything sweet that can come from the sacrifice of Christ? “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes, we are healed” (Is. 53:5). The good news of the gospel is most definitely sweeter than honey! It is because of His sacrifice at the cross that we can experience the sweetness of eternal life and reconciliation back to God. We can declare like the psalmist, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psa. 119:103). Have you ever had someone describe a dish they tasted that was just absolutely delicious? I can assure you that no matter how many adjectives they used, nothing can compare to when you experience the textures and flavors of the dish yourself. Tasting the words of God is a personal experience! When we accept Jesus as our Savior and experience His redeeming power in our lives, is there anything sweeter?
Let us endeavor to hide the sweetness of His word in our hearts, so that we may not sin against God (Psa. 119:11). Let us allow Christ to empower us through the Holy Spirit to turn away from our sinful desires in our lives. Honey is not only sweet but nourishing. Let us taste His words daily and let them provide the nourishment that we need as we continue our Christian journey.