Troubled Hearts: Grace amid failure (Judges 16:21-22)
Grace amid failure (Judges 16:21-22)
Be careful little eyes what you see (16:21). The new narrative section begins in horror; Samson, the mighty man of Yahweh, has been seized and blinded. What a cruel way to torture your enemy!However, there is more than meets the eye.
From the onset, Samson lived in a morally bankrupt society that did evil in the Lord’s sight (13:1). Like many today, Samson’s lifestyle echoed the culture of his day. He saw a young woman in Timnah and commanded his father to get her because she was the right one for him. Later he left to see and boast concerning the lion’s carcass he destroyed.
Samson was the man whose life was governed by sight, and who lived according to what was right in his own eyes. But, overnight, the judge would no longer be able to do anything according to sight.
Take-Home: When you live by what is right in your own eyes, you will reap spiritual blindness. Jesus people no longer live by sight but by faith. How are you living today?
The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision. –Helen Keller Be careful little eyes what you see.
Be refreshed (16:22) In the midst of Samson’s dark night of the soul, physical blindness, and spiritual void, something breathtaking occurs. Scripture describes it in the most straightforward way possible: But his hair began to grow back after being shaved. This represents no standard trim. Rather, Samson fractured every promise of faith he made to the Lord. As a result, Samson is bald, shamed, broken, humiliated, and missing his crown of glory.
Amid humiliation, a divine but happens. But is a conjunction of mercy. But, it is a reminder that the Lord doesn’t give you what you deserve. Samson’s baldness is a reminder that the Spirit of the Lord had departed. But, his hair began to grow back—that’s grace.
Nothing in Samson himself caused his hair—a visible reminder of faithfulness—to come back. Only the mercy of a loving Creator made that happen. This is good news- on your worst day, Jesus is gracious!
Unfortunately, because of his sinful life, Samson lost his holiness, lost the Spirit, he lost his eyesight and any dignity the remained. Do you feel Samson’s shame?
Take-Home: Only the grace of Jesus Christ will refresh your soul. Some are sitting in a spiritual prison, and need to experience a but God, moment. Yahweh is the God of new beginnings. Be refreshed.
Read 16:23-25. Sin will mock you (16:23-25)! As the glory of God begins again in Samson, the Philistines begin to mock and humiliate him more. The enemies of Samson have a full-blown party to their false god Dagan. They say, “Our god has handed over our enemy Samson to us.”
What they don’t realize is that the Philistines have unwittingly gives praise to the One True God. It was Yahweh who had weakened Samson.
Now, the Philistines brought Samson out to entertain the crowd and humiliate him further.
Take-Home: Sin will always mock you. Temptation will taunt you, torture you, and ultimately trash you. Samson, don’t play with sin!
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. “
Things never change-- The world wants nothing more than to gloat (cancel culture) over the fall of righteousness: Revelation 11:9 Describes two mighty witnesses of Jesus who have died. And this is how Revelation describes the scene: 10 Those who live on the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and send gifts to one another because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. Sin and a sinful world will mock you.
Take-Home: Beware the roar of the crowd. The world is not cheering for you to live for Jesus. On the contrary, a fallen world wants you to fail! But Jesus keeps you from stumbling (John 16:1).
Read 16:26-31 So, the Philistines “call Samson out” to his shame. Samson, a mighty warrior, is led to his final battle by a young lad. The spectators have been tailgating all day and are ready for the primetime event. The Scriptures describe the scene as overcrowded and overflowing with men and women on all levels to see the world’s most muscular man slumped over, leaning against two pillars.
Call to the one who hears (16:25, 28) We are not told why, but in the smoke of the chaotic revelry, possibly so soft no one could listen to, Samson calls out to the Lord. Samson calls out to the Lord who blessed him from birth (13:24) and to the Savior who stirred his Spirit in the camp of Dan (13:25). Earlier, Samson could not bring himself to use the name of the One true God (16:17); now, one last time, he appeals to the Covenant Maker.
When all hope was lost, Samson cried out to the personal God, the exclusive Lord, and the Faithful One.
Take-Home: Have you called out to the only Savior who can hear you? 9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 11 For the Scripture says Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame. Jesus hears!
Call out to the one who remembers. In surprising irony, Samson, the one who forgot his promises to Adonai, calls out and proclaims, “ Lord God, please remember me.” In the OT, remembering is not the opposite of forgetfulness. Samson knows that there is a distance between him and the Lord, but it wasn’t God who forgot or walked away; it was the judge. Remember me is a petition to “act on behalf of.” Samson, in effect, says, “Lord, you have no reason to take note of me, but one more time would you act on behalf of your servant.”
Take-Home: You have a Savior who remembers you. As Isaiah 64:4 says, “no eye has seen any God except you who acts on behalf of the one who waits for him.” Jesus remembers!
As Samson prays, his character deprivation again shines forth. If you were holding out hope that this mighty judge of Israel would humble himself through repentance, don’t hold your breath. Samson prays, “strengthen me God that I can pay back the Philistines for my two eyes.”
Samson’s life and prayerful request are utterly self-centered. Although he can no longer see physically, his physical eyes control his every thought and impulse.
His prayer is not to serve Yahweh again or deliver Israel; he only wants personal revenge. In some respects, Samson’s life is no different than the Philistines.
30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” So he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the leaders and all the people in it. And those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed in his life.
Samson pushed with all his might, and the building collapsed. How tragic that a man once set apart for the holy purposes of Yahweh wanted to die with the uncircumcised Philistines.
Samson, a man with extraordinary gifts, has wasted his life and accomplished more for Yahweh dead than alive.
Why did God hear Samson’s prayer? Why did the Lord give him strength one more time, even though Samson had broken faith over and over again? We will never know.
I can imagine Samson in prison, bound, blind, and broken singing this song: I once was holy but now I’m lost, I once could see but now I’m blind.
22 But his hair began to grow back after being shaved.
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
But is a conjunction of mercy. But, it is a reminder that the Lord doesn’t give you what you deserve.
Have you ever experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ? Call out to him, He hears. Call out to Him, Jesus remembers. There is grace in the midst of your failures.