What the Bridegroom doesn’t want, could be my tale:     

He doesn’t want a woman who’s afraid;

He doesn’t want a woman who’s for sale;

He doesn’t want a woman who has made

A bargain with the Philistines to trade

The secret of His strength for silver coin.

Like me, He is a man who’s been betrayed,

But He discerned the soul that would purloin.

With beauty that is false, He never would conjoin.

My trials were a way to figure out

Just what it is our Groom is looking for:

A woman so impervious to doubt

That when the wicked say they will make war,

She will not listen, nor will she implore

The Philistines, hoping to save her life.

With her great Lover she has great rapport;

She turns to Him when others threaten strife:

This Samson is a Man who can protect His Wife.

She knows Her sex and beauty are a gift

That God has given Her for a good cause;

She’s saving them for Him and will not shift

For flattery or money or applause.

She trusts that, when it seems that He withdraws

And She must face Her trials on Her own,

It is the way He brings to light Her flaws;

For we grow humble when our faults are known,

And the humble find the Lord has not left them alone.

Believe me, even when He takes your sight,

There’s something greater He wants you to see.

And I grew stronger in my soul’s dark night

Than anytime I had my liberty.

It’s frightening, for there’s no guarantee,

Unless we learn to take Him at His word.

But if you can discern His grace to me

In the trials that my foolishness incurred,

When everything seems lost, you will not be deterred.

To be a picture of the Bride of Christ                             5

Is an honor that the mind can comprehend.

For Her mistakes and troubles have sufficed

To enable our Rebekahs to extend

The things they know and perfectly attend

To Her the Bridegroom always finds so fair.

The Church indeed need little condescend,

When She’s portrayed by those whose lives declare

That they were weak in faith and not enough in prayer.

But it’s a major problem for a man,

Especially a reckless man like me,

To build a mental structure that can span

The gulf of sin and infelicity

So vast and dim it’s really hard to see

The likeness of the Son of God to him.

My foolishness, my immorality,

My living too much by my strength and whim—

However broad the brush, the likeness must be slim.

I was attracted to a heathen maid;

But how is that to be compared

To the love, the dedication, and the aid

Our Lord has demonstrated and declared

To the Church with whom He’s chosen to be paired,

Despite Her gentile blood and low descent?

If only I, like Him, had really cared

About my bride, if only love had meant

More to me than anger, we might have been content.

I slew a lion with my hands, ‘tis true;

That took great strength, but it took little skill.

But when the Lord slew sin and death for you,

He needed meekness, a submitted will,

And patience every scripture to fulfill;

Then, when His mission was at last complete,

The courage to ascend Moriah’s hill;

And what we gained from sin and death’s defeat,

Not even honey from a lion is so sweet.

And when I was entrapped because of sin

In Gaza, and I carried off the gate,

That feat of strength is not at all akin

To Christ’s absorbing all the hellish hate

The Devil charged upon our fallen state

Because we had no strength to keep the Law.

Bursting the gates of Hell to demonstrate

That He will save His sheep from the lion’s maw,

He showed us grace and strength of which I am in awe.

In dying, Christ and I were more alike                       10

Than in our living we had ever been.

It was our common privilege to strike

The Devil’s temple, to his great chagrin,

Destroying it and everything within,

While bringing liberty to those enslaved.

In dying we accomplished more, to win

Our battles against all that was depraved;

And in our perishing, all Israel was saved.

I see now that my riddle was profound,

Stronger and sweeter than I ever knew.

With that engaging paradox I sound

The mystery no mortal can construe.

And now the Lord would use it to imbue

His Bride with wisdom, whom in love He sought,

That She might know that His great heart is true.

The answer to His riddle I’ve been taught:

It’s loyalty and love that never can be bought.


The Song of Samson: Judges, Chapters 13–16, especially chapter 14.

Samson, stanza 7, I was attracted to a heathen maid, Judges 14:1-2.

anger, Judges 14:19-20.

Samson, stanza 8, Moriah’s hill: Abraham sacrificed Isaac on Mount Moriah, Genesis 22:2; Solomon built God’s Temple there, II Chronicles 3:1. Christians have long believed that Christ was crucified in the same location.

             honey from a lion, Judges 14:5-14, 14:18.

Samson, stanza 9, Gaza . . . gate, Judges 16:1-3.

Samson, stanza 10, to strike / The Devil’s temple, Judges 16:27-30.

Samson, stanza 11, my riddle . . . the Lord would use it . . . His riddle. The Bridegroom’s riddle at the beginning of The Wedding Party (“Why do I choose this Woman as My Bride?”--Introduction, stanza 12) is patterned after Samson’s at his wedding (Judges 14:14), and Samson’s riddle is a prophecy of Christ. The Church Fathers and some later commentators have applied the riddle in various ways. Some see the lion as Christ, out of whose death comes the sweetness of salvation. Some see Samson as a Christ figure, slaying the lion of death, and offering the sweetness of eternal life to men. St. Ambrose interpreted the lion’s carcase as the Church, the body of Christ, and the honey as wisdom which flows from the Church.

       Home                The Wedding Party