Today’s Reading: Judges 15-17
Today’s Reflection: Judges 16:20
And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
The story of Samson is one of the most tragic in the Bible, and the crux of this tragedy rests in this single verse.
In the age of the Judges, men raised to free Israel from oppression and lead them back into obedience to God, there was no other judge like Samson. Prophesied by an angel, raised by faithful God-fearing parents at a time Israel was steeped in idol-worship, set apart as a Nazarene, and blessed with superhuman strength, Samson had every advantage to become one of the greatest judges in Israel’s history.
But he also had a tragic flaw—a lust for women and inappropriate relationships with them.
Samson chose women who did not believe in the God he served (Judges 14:3). He engaged in sexual exploits with prostitutes (Judges 16:1-2). He even ignored the clear signs that should have told him when a woman posed a threat to him or his God-given mission (Judges 16:4-6). Most importantly, Samson didn’t see this sin as an issue. He didn’t recognize the wedge it was creating between him and God. Time and time again, his sinful issues with women had gotten him into trouble. Time and time again, his God-given strength had gotten him out of trouble. Until this last time. And Samson never saw it coming.
When he confessed the secret of his strength to Delilah and she used it against him, Samson thought he could just get out of the situation as he had in times past. But he didn’t realize his strength was gone, that he’d gone so far from God there was nothing left to rescue him from the trouble he’d created for himself. The Philistines who captured him put out his eyes, blinding him, but this was just a reflection of the growing spiritual blindness Samson had been suffering from for years.
Often when we’re dealing with sin we don’t see it as such a big problem because the consequences aren’t immediately apparent. But as we allow sin to encroach upon our lives a growing distance is created between us and God. Evenually a crisis will arise where we look for God’s power to be active in our lives, to do something for us we can’t do for ourselves. But if sin has quietly been creating a chasm between us and God, we may find that His power is no longer there—not because God has left us, but because we have left Him. Even more tragically we won’t have seen it coming. We don’t even realize our treasured sins have caused us to walk away from God and leave His presence, His power and His protection.
Fortunately God is merciful and forgiving. Just as Samson received his strength again (Judges 16:28-30) we can be restored, but this cannot happen while sin remains in control of our lives.
Isaiah 59:1-2 – 1) Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2) but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.