Read Judges 15 -- 17
In Today's Reading:
The strongest man recorded in history dies as a slave. The Philistines use bribes and threats to capture him. He is betrayed by a Philistine woman he was having an affair with! In chains with his eyes gouged out, mocked and ridiculed by the crowd, Samson finally prays. Will God answer his prayer? Following Samson's death, civil and moral confusion fill the land: In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).
Verse for Today:
He (Samson) loved a (Philistine) woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said . . . Entice him, and see (find out) where his great strength lies and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give you every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver (Judges 16:4-5).
Samson loses his wife; 1,000 Philistines slain by Samson; Samson in love with Delilah; Samson defeated and blinded, dies with the Philistines; Micah's idols.
When Samson first saw Delilah, he was once again sidetracked from his God-appointed mission. After he revealed to Delilah the secret to his strength, she cut off his hair, but he did not know that the Lord had departed from him (16:20). Because Samson was out of the will of God, the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison (16:21).
Samson had underestimated the destructive forces of lust that leads to adultery and soon found himself powerless, blinded, and controlled by the enemies of God.
When Samson first saw Delilah, he should have thought of his sacred Nazarite vow and his high calling as a judge. But sin had blinded him, both to his sacred calling as judge over Israel and to the reason he had been gifted with great strength. Not only did he suffer the gruesome torture of having his eyes gouged out, but Samson, the leader of Israel, was disgracefully forced to take the place of an animal and spend the rest of his life turning a mill to grind corn into meal.
Samson knew why he had lost his sacred position as a judge his physical strength, his sight, and why he was a slave to the Philistines. Eventually, Samson called to the Lord, and prayed, O Lord God, remember me, I pray, and strengthen me, I pray . . . that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes (16:28). Though he had sinned grievously, Samson's faith in God was evident as he cried out: O Lord God. This was Samson's first and only recorded prayer to overcome the Philistines and God, in His mercy, answered his prayer.
Samson's final victory was great as his Philistine tormentors fell dead at his feet, but it also ended his life. His victory was small compared to what he could have accomplished for the Lord.
Like many today, Samson believed that God's mercy and long-suffering would continue indefinitely.
The story of Samson should send a strong message to every Christian who is tempted to indulge in the treacherous web of sinful pleasures. We must never forget that our talents and spiritual gifts are not for our own benefit. They are given that, through them, the Lord may be glorified (Matthew 5:16).
Was King Solomon thinking of Samson when he wrote of a strange (worldly) woman: With her much fair speech she caused him to yield. . . . He goes after her . . . as a fool to the correction of the stocks (Proverbs 7:21-22). Since God said it, it is a fact her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. We are warned to come not near the door of her house: Lest you give your honor to others and your years to the cruel (Proverbs 5:5).
A Thought from Psalms: The Law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver (coins) (119:72).
Through the strength God gave to Samson (Judges 16:17). The Apostle Paul declared: My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may reast upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).
15:4 firebrands = torches of flax on fire; 16:7 green withs = small new ropes; 16:11 fast = securely; 16:25 make us sport = entertain us; 16:26 Suffer me = Allow me; 17:4 founder = silversmith, metal worker.
Government Officials: Sen. Frank Murkowski (AK) and Rep. Nydia Velÿzquez (NY) · Pray for the President · Country: Algeria (31 million) in North Africa · Major languages: Arabic and French · Authorities have virtually ended all open mission work · 99% Muslim; .5% Roman Catholic/Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and praise God with a spirit of thankfulness for His goodness (Psalms 107:1).
Optional Reading: John 19
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:16