The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance
Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
One of the saddest phrases in the Bible is, “But he did not know the Lord had left him.” Samson’s confidence in himself was the blessing that God had bestowed upon him – his great strength. As long as no one cut his hair, God had poured out His blessing upon Samson. He was so confident in God’s blessing upon his life that he started to do things that God had expressly forbade the Israelites to do:
- He dishonored his parents (even though this was from the Lord).
- He took a Philistine woman as his wife. The Israelites were supposed to separate themselves from the pagan cultures around them. (Just for the record, Rahab and Ruth believed God and were listed in the genealogical lineage of Jesus and Rahab was listed in the halls of faith).
- He grabbed the fresh jawbone of a donkey to slay a thousand men, and ate honey from the carcass of a lion that he had slain. Israelites were not supposed to touch carcasses of dead animals – it made them ritualistically unclean until that evening.
- When Delilah asked Samson what gave him his strength, he lied to her several times. God told the Israelites that they shouldn’t bear false witness.
Samson did not follow the Lord – he assumed he was fine because God kept blessing him with supernatural strength. We need to be very careful, especially when God has blessed our ministry, that we are in the faith. We need to be completely committed to God and His ways to prepare us so that we can avoid many pitfalls.
The separation from Samson from God didn’t just happen overnight. It occurred over a period of time. Sin does the same thing in our lives. Once we veer off the straight and narrow path, we become further and further from the truth, and we are able to justify what we are doing. The Holy Spirit will try to reconcile us, but if we ignore Him we will eventually sear our conscience (“con”=with, “science”=knowledge) and sin will truly blind us to what we are doing. Samson kept going further and further away from God. Although he led Israel for twenty years, he did so moving further and further away from God.
Captured now by his enemies, betrayed by his wife, eyes gouged out to cripple him, Samson languished in prison, a trophy of the Philistines. We need to be very mindful of the consequences of our actions, especially when we are surrounded by people who seek to cause us harm, and possibly even death. Samson is a prime example what can go wrong when we allow sin to reign in our lives. David did the same thing when he went into the Philistine area during the time of Saul’s quest to destroy him. He went there for a year and four months. In that time, he lied to the king about who he was raiding and didn’t plan security for the wives and children which were under his care which resulted in their abduction by the Amalekites.
God always wants us to come to repentance. He restores us once we confess our sins and turn from them. Samson had been humbled. His hair had started to grow back. Standing in the temple between the main pillars holding up the temple as the Philistine leaders gloated over their conquest of Samson, he asked the Lord to restore his strength. And the Lord came upon him mightily. In few moments, he destroyed the temple where they were and dealt a mighty blow to a people who had been oppressing Israel.
God seeks to restore us as well. It doesn’t have to turn out in tragedy like it did for Samson. We need to be on guard against the world, the flesh, and the devil. We need to seek God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. And through this vigilance we can avoid many of the pitfalls that we see of the great men of old in the Bible. Their lives are both warnings and instructions to us so that we won’t repeat their mistakes. But Solomon, the wisest person ever to live, rightly said “there is nothing new under the sun.” Even with these warnings, we continue to do what we know is wrong. But thanks be to God for His Son, Jesus Christ, who redeemed us and paved the path to repentance!
The Qualifying Question
So let’s ask ourselves a question: Do I learn from my mistakes?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You show us Your mercy and grace through Your Word. Help me to be vigilant in all my ways that they may be pleasing to You. Guard me from the influence of evil that I may walk in truth and righteousness. Help me to abide in Christ, so that I may abide in You. Help me to see the warning signs when I go astray, and reconcile me when I turn back to You. Help me to have a steadfast spirit that is for You. As You bless me and any ministries I am in, keep me free from pride and help me to keep everything in balance. Deliver me from evil this day, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?