Is there anything that this story doesn’t have?…sex, betrayal, unrequited love, internal struggle, failure and character redemption (to name a few).
As Philip told us a few days ago, Judges is an account of mini saviours. Sampson is one seriously flawed mini saviour. If we’re in any doubt, the first few verses reinforce this. The ‘saviour’ is down at a brothel (…although I can’t remember that detail from my childhood illustrated Bible). Samson is more than a seriously flawed saviour. He is faithless—unfaithfulness on steroids.
Why does God work through such a weak character who continues in sin? I guess one answer is that God is always working through weak characters who continue to sin, us! However God is working His good plans in us, in spite of us, and for us for His glory.
In judges the ‘saving’ has mainly to do with military rescue—releasing God’s people from the tyranny of pagan overlords. We learn through judges that any garden variety saviour could do that (along with some help from God). So by the time we despair of reading judges and of its unsaving saviours we’re ready to hear about a better saviour, like, David—after all, he slays giants and writes psalms, and is a king. But even then we’ll be disappointed. No, we’ll still be looking for a saviour.
The saddest part of this episode of Samson for me is v.20
“But he did not know that the LORD had left him”
Walking away from Jesus can be awfully subtle, until sometimes God finally gives us what we have been quietly demanding…to be left alone. On Monday I met the man who was walking away from Jesus, who just didn’t know it. He was a tradesman fixing something in our home. He told me he used to go to a local church but didn’t like the politics so walked away from church…“but it’s ok” he said “because he still had faith in the Lord.” I can’t help but think, “But he did not know that the LORD had left him”.
Back to Samson. After wasting his gift, living unfaithfully and placing his trust in human relationships rather than trusting God, we meet him blind, humiliated but now remembering the Lord. How he must have searched for God’s love and mercy in his prison. How he must have agonised with remorse over his stupidity and sinfulness. How he must have craved God’s refreshment. How he cried out in repentance and faith! And he discovered that God was not far from him, waiting to restore him…and well, you know how it ends 🙂
All I can say is, thank you God for your faithfulness. Thank you Jesus for being a faithful saviour. A faithful saviour who,
“being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father”
Sampson: “‘Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God…”
Brother’s and sisters, lets pray for ourselves and each other that we don’t ever have to pray the Samson prayer…but remember that even this prayer testifies to the faithfulness of God, the God of second chances.
Remain in Christ, remain in his love.