I was a child of hope. My mother fostered my dreams in her arms and encouraged me with her words. I have photos in my mind of her praying by the sofa for her children. I felt the world be at my feet. But as I grew older, I realized things would not be so easy. As I look back, I can see mistakes I made. I had to declare bankruptcy, I endured child abuse, I suffered deep depression. I went through a divorce. I caused pain; I received pain, and experienced many hardships.
My past is a shadow which could stay with me; I could be haunted by my fall from the promise of my youth. If not for the grace and mercy of God’s abiding love, I would be lost. But thanks be to the Lord, my past is just that-Past! But I’m forgiven and washed in His blood. Yet, even at that, I realize the war is never over. It takes a close daily walk with Christ to make it through.
Samson was also a child of hope. God blessed him from his youth with good looks, intelligence, and super human strength. His fame spread across to other nations who heard of the Israelite who killed a lion with his bare hands. “So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done” (Judges 14:5 & 6).
Yet, Samson was a frail man. He was very vulnerable amidst the pleasures of the Philistine women and the lures of that city. Like us, Samson walked through this world filled with glamour and temptation. The Philistines, who probably came from near the Aegean Sea, were worldly and sophisticated. They were traders and warriors. They also had respect for intelligence. Their worldliness included the acceptance of local gods. Their customs were united with a sexual liberality and beautiful women.
In our modern, world we cannot escape temptations from television, movies, to video and computers, to society itself. Likewise, we could not have gone to a Philistine city without being tempted, for they loved to party just like the world today. Like us, Samson walked through this world filled with glamour and temptation. He was tempted and finally ensnared.
He married a Philistine woman (probably for lust) and divorced early after his wife betrayed him. The pain stayed with him but the lesson did not. Though his arms were like sledge hammers, his weaknesses brought him back to the same old mistakes over and over again. After partying for some time, he found Delilah. Though beautiful she was, she was just as deceitful as his first wife. She too betrayed him. This brought him to his knees. He lost his sight, for his eyes were gouged out. He was chained and yoked to a gristmill.
The Philistines laughed merrily and yet scorned Samson and his God. Humiliated and blinded, Samson turned the mill wheel in place of an ox. He was fed and treated like an animal. All the vision of his youth, all the laws of his God Almighty, all the teachings of his parents and the love of his people, were taken away and gone.
How many of us have likewise been driven to the ground of life’s misfortunes? Many I would dare say.
Stumbling forward beneath his weary burden, Samson’s heart returned to God. He was brought for sport before the laughing taunts of women who would have gladly lain at his feet and men who once feared his name. Though the Philistines could not see it, even then was there hope for Samson.
Join me next week for the conclusion of Samson’s peril.
Until next time, remember, sin will take you farther than you want to go.
From My Heart with Love-Rita.
By Rita Sutton