“But Samson did not know that the Lord had left him,” says Judges 16:20.
This is one of the saddest verses in all of scripture. God’s chosen man started well but ended poorly. Even before he was born, God had a plan for Samson’s life that he would deliver the Israelites from foreign oppression. He was to abstain from strong drink, never cut his hair, and avoid moral impurity. These were the constraints of a Nazarite, which God imposed upon Samson from birth in exchange for supernatural physical strength. The Spirit of the Lord would come upon this chosen deliverer and he would accomplish extraordinary military exploits, such as killing hundreds of the enemy with the jawbone of a donkey.
We’re all familiar with the phrase often spoken from the pulpit – “sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” Never was this more true than in the life of Samson who dabbled in sin long enough that he began to be drawn deeper and deeper in until he couldn’t escape. In fact, he was in so deep he couldn’t see the danger he was in.
When we read the account of all the traps that Delilah set for him, don’t you want to yell at him, “Get out, get out, you big dummy. Can’t you see what she’s doing to you?” But he couldn’t see because sin makes us stupid and blind. The more Samson toyed with Delilah and dabbled in sin, the more his vision was obscured and his thinking was muddled.
Where moral purity is compromised, spiritual power dissipates! This is clearly illustrated in Samson’s life when he lost his strength, the Spirit of the Lord left him, and he didn’t even know it. How sad!
This didn’t happen to Samson in one bad decision. There was a long series of bad choices in his life from rejecting his parents’ counsel in the beginning to cavorting with harlots in the end. His sin took him further than he intended to go and kept him a longer than he intended to stay. Then the Philistines gouged out his eyes, leaving him not only spiritually blind but physically blind as well, thus costing him more than he intended to pay.
All of us have been like Samson at one time or another in small ways or great. We’ve all made bad/sinful choices that drew us into the quicksand so deep we couldn’t escape. For some it’s illicit sex; for others, it’s drugs, booze, or pornography. Sometimes it’s allowing bitterness, jealousy, or fear to enter in. Maybe it’s gossip, cheating, or stealing. All of these enter in insidiously with many small decisions until we find ourselves like Samson – trapped, naked, powerless, weak, ashamed, and not realizing that the Lord’s blessing has left us.
Here’s the amazing thing. While enduring the awful consequences of his sin, pushing a heavy millstone, and grinding the enemies’ grain amidst jeers and scorn, Samson repented, God restored him, his hair grew back and his physical strength returned. God allowed him to have one last great victory over his enemies when he pulled down the pillars of their pagan temple killing himself and thousands of the enemy.
Listen carefully. God is in the restoration business. “He can restore the years that the locust and the cankerworm have devoured.” However, we must repent and confess our sin like Samson did. God in His mercy will forgive us and restore us to a relationship with Him. We may still endure the consequences of our bad choices, but we will be free of sin, guilt, and spiritual blindness. And maybe you’ll develop big muscles and your hair will grow back!!!