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…the reality of what we’ve done hits us… when the realization that, no amount of unwinding the clock can change the outcome or remove the pain of our foolish choices…

It remains the saddest hour of his life—

hair gone, dignity forfeited, reputation tainted—

even more so, God’s holy presence had departed…

Yet, he hadn’t noticed.

The man was completely unaware of the loss.

Samson.

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Judge of the Israelites, champion of his people, chosen of God to begin the deliverance from the enemies of Philistia.

Most physically strong, yet most spiritually weak (Judges 14-16), of all the men and women who led God’s people during the time period following Joshua’s demise.

Samson.

Set apart specifically by God, blessed with divine purpose and incredible strength… he acted mightily, courageously, unwaveringly in delivering the Israelites from oppression by their enemies from across the border.

He began well… twenty years of service, providing fearless leadership;

but signs of willful arrogance appeared on occasion…

Granting mercy, God detained immediate consequences for his sinful choices.

Many times Samson acted in accordance with God’s leading:

choosing a wife from the Philistines was based on the Spirit’s impression, which was allowed by the Law…

shielding, defending his relatives and neighbors from enemy attacks…

and calling on God in fatigue after a huge battle—

slaying a thousand men with the bone of an animal skull—

The Lord carved out a spot for a spring of water to emerge, satisfying His warrior’s thirst.

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Grateful, Samson named the spring supplication well (En-hakkore).

At times his attitude hinted toward self-interest, yet a fear of God is evident in the passionate pleas.

The writer of Hebrews recorded God’s mention of him among the faithful ones.

In time, though, yielding to temptation… feeding and nourishing and lending strength to the carnal beast within… chipped away at his character, eroding his once solid relationship with the Eternal One…

Samson’s physical stamina had displayed a deeper, more substantial spiritual strength, emanating from his walk of faith.

Toward the end of the story, while succumbing to the flesh, Samson traded strength for weakness, wisdom for folly (Proverbs 1-4), victory for defeat, and a long life of constant service for a death of reckoning in his one final act of bravery.

But within the narrative, we find the saddest part of all…

Having fallen fast asleep, he did not know his hair had been cut, breaking the Nazirite vow, nor that his strength had disappeared.

With Delilah’s shouts, he awoke to the warning of enemies coming out of hiding… he assumed all was well and rose to meet them boldly, as in the past.

Samson.

Blinded by proud lust and giving in to carnality, he had drifted… lulled by soothing pleasures… he was entirely unaware that God’s presence was no longer with him…

Failing to notice the loss, he didn’t recognize the void, couldn’t see the jeopardizing situation he had placed himself (and others) in.

…But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.  –  Judges 16:20

Ignorant of the wretchedness of his fallen condition, he rose up, believing he was still able to do God’s work, even after his sinful lifestyle had removed him from the place of God’s will and away from the position of consecrated leadership.

Samson.

His enemies put out his eyes and condemned him to menial labor, in a mill grinding grain. Enslaved by his fleshly desires, he became a blind, helpless captive of the enemy.

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But as months, years went by, Samson’s hair grew long… his heart once again turned to His God… in repentance and submission…

And with the concluding prayer of his life, perhaps breathed silently, perhaps murmured quietly from penitent lips, Samson called on the Lord.

Not in bitterness or vengeance, but in offering himself one last time to accomplish God’s purpose in delivering His people from severe oppression.

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In appreciating his courage, we might still wonder:

How much more could God have used him, had he not allowed himself to become dominated by his passions?

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