Judges 13-16 finds the Israelites again doing “evil in the eyes of the Lord” and so being oppressed for 40 years by the Philistines. This time God chooses an old barren couple and blesses them with a son who is to be raised as a Nazirite, a child dedicated to God from birth. This meant no fermented drink and no cutting of hair. They named the boy Sampson and that name we associate with strength. When the spirit of God came on Sampson, he could do great feats of strength and help the Israelites but Sampson had a temper and he became involved with the wrong women. He lacked self-control in his passions. The woman who brought about his downfall was Delilah. Delilah managed to get Sampson to tell her that the secret to his strength as a Nazirite was his hair. It had never been cut. Delilah tells the secret and men come and gouge out Sampson’s eyes and make him work pushing a grindstone
I think one of the saddest verses in the Bible comes as Sampson awakes, not realizing his hair had been cut in his sleep by his “love” and we read, “But he (Sampson) did not know that the Lord had left him.” How many gifted leaders fall because of lack of self-control and moments of weakness? In the midst of sinful self-indulgence they do not realize that God has left them. An eternal relationship that is the source of blessing and power is traded for a moment of pleasure. That which is sacred, his vow as a Nazirite, is traded to appease a momentary problem, Delilah’s whining.
What lesson might we carry away from this story? Most of us are not Sampsons. But, perhaps we need to reflect on the source of our power. We each are gifted as part of the body of Christ and we have a part to play. Everyone is important. We may not be a judge but we are part of God’s epic story that is unfolding. Are we being tempted to trade the eternal relationship for a momentary pleasure? In the end Sampson repents and we can repent also, but I wonder what might have been. How sad to wake up one day and not realize that God has left you and you are weak. Let us guard that which is precious and our source of strength. Our relationship with God is eternal and he wants to use you!