July 24 I Saturday
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
If we had to choose the strongest man in the Bible, we would all say “Samson.” With his bare hands, he tore apart a young lion. How was Samson so strong? Because God chose him and empowered him by His Spirit as a judge of Israel. The symbol of Samson’s strength was his hair, which he was told to never cut, not because there is strength in hair, but because that was a symbol of the Nazirite vow he had taken. But Samson had one major problem—getting involved with the wrong women. Judges 16:4-20 tells us the tragic downfall of Samson.
The Philistine leaders said to Samson’s wife, Delilah, “…lure [Samson] into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him....Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” She agreed and asked Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength...” Samson answered, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bow-strings that have not been dried.” Delilah did that, but Samson easily snapped the strings. She went to Samson saying, “...you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.” Samson replied, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used.” Delilah did that, but Samson broke loose. Again, Delilah said, “Tell me how you can be tied.” Samson said, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin...” But once more, when the Philistines came, Samson pulled free.
Delilah confronted Samson, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me?” Then we are told, “With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything....‘If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.’” Delilah let Samson fall asleep on her lap, and while he was sleeping, she shaved his hair. This time, when Delilah yelled, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” Samson thought he could easily break free, but could not. Afterwards, we read the most sobering words in Scripture, “he did not know that the LORD had left him.”
Under the new covenant, the Lord does not leave us in terms of our salvation. But in terms of His power, His presence, His working and the bearing witness of His Spirit with ours, God can become distant. Through Samson’s story, we can learn that the true source of our strength and abilities comes not from ourselves, but from God alone.
Prayer: Dear Lord, what a sobering story about Samson, and how a man who was full of Your Spirit did not realize Your Spirit had departed from him. Humble my mind, remembering that my strength and abilities come from You alone. Thank You, Lord.