Summary: Samson lost all by compromising his committment to God. Where is his hope? Where is OUR hope?
And Samson did not know that the LORD had left him. But the Philistines
took him, put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. There they bound
him with chains of brass, and set him to grinding in the prison house.
Recall the story of Samson’s downfall. Samson was the original superhero, possessor of fantastic
strength. He fell in love with Delilah, a woman from the tribe of the Philistines, archenemies of Samson’s tribe. tribe. Samson married Delilah, and eventually told her that his strength lay in his hair. She promptly had him shaved bald and handed Samson over to his enemies for a neat little profit. The Philistines blinded him and set him to work grinding in the prison.
Imagine that you were with Samson in the Philistine prison. What could you say to encourage him? Would you say, “Accept where you are and look at the bright side of things”? Would you say, “Work hard, do a good job, and be a good witness to the Philistines”? Would you say, “Well Samson, you’ve got to take the bad times with the good times”?
Genuine encouragement for Samson can come from only one place. "Hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities (Psalm 130:7-8). For Samson, his only comfort comes through hope. Apart from hope, Samson is inextricably stuck in the pit of misery and regret.
We are in need of that same hope. For without our even realizing it, Satan has done to the Christians of America just what the Philistines did to Samson. Satan has shaved us bald. He has blinded us, enchained us, and placed us on a treadmill to grind out food for his evil empire. We are even worse off than Samson, for by and large we are oblivious to our pitiful condition. We only have a vague sense of being caught in a shallow lifestyle which offers little rest, satisfaction, or fulfillment.
Society also bears witness to our spiritual powerlessness. The American Church has failed to halt the destructive social trends which have ruined our quality of life. Christian couples divorce right and left. Children in Christian families turn to sex or drugs or suicide. Christians live in a state of siege, gripped by fear.
How did our spiritual emasculation occur in the first place? Recall that Samson’s slide began when he fell in love with a beautiful woman from the neighboring Philistines. He still had his strength after he married, he still kept his vow to the
Lord and his long hair. But day after day, Delilah wore away his resistance. She nagged him, robbing him of peace and tranquility. She held out her favors and refused to satisfy him. Finally, Samson broke down and gave away his secret. Delilah then put him to sleep,and when he woke up his strength was gone.
Spiritually, we have followed exactly in Samson’s footsteps. We too have looked to our neighbors and fell in love with their prosperity, their lifestyle, and their possessions. “I can live like that and still walk with God”, we say to ourselves. Just like Samson! But day after day, the demands of our high-pressure, high-living lifestyles occupy the lion’s share of our time and energy. Though outwardly we become increasingly wealthy, inwardly we become increasingly dissatisfied. This only causes us to work harder, thinking that more success will bring more fulfillment. The very jobs we slave at are targeted at promoting the same acquisitive, self-centered lifestyles that we ourselves are caught in. In the end our attachment to worldly values causes us to betray the secret of our spiritual strength. Our secret is not long hair; but rather what the hair really represents. For Samson’s hair was connected to his head; but our Head is Christ. Just as Samson’s strength was lost when the connection was severed, so our spiritual strength was lost when our connection to the Head is broken. Our worldly objectives have lulled us into spiritual slumber.
Samson gave up the secret of our strength, and we have given up our secret time with God in favor of worldly pursuits. Even if we do read the Bible or keep a “quiet time”, our minds are so occupied with busy thoughts that our connection to Jesus our Head is virtually severed. The Spirit of God has departed, and we are left to toil by our own strength. Though outwardly we may appear religious, and are capable of great "religious" works, to a great extent our works are carnal projects designed to appeal to the carnally-minded. In actuality, we have simply become cogs in Satan’s machine.
What then must we do? We must recognize that we have become slaves under Satan’s world system. We may not be able to free ourselves immediately, but we should continually look for opportunities to work our way loose (1 Corinthians 7:21).