As we concluded the book of Judges this week, I kept thinking, “Bad decisions make interesting stories.” 😉
Samson’s life was a prime example of this. Consecrated from the womb by God as a Nazirite, “ for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” The Spirit of God would come upon him mightily and he would have supernatural strength, but he broke about every Nazirite law (Numbers 6:1-8). He was living in Israel at a time when “There was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Samson definitely had an eye problem. Let me review a few verses that reiterate this:
“I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” (14:2)
“Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.” (14:3)
“Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson’s eyes.” (14:7)
So Samson married this Philistine woman (that the Israelites were not to marry). She deceived him and the marriage ended. But he learned his lesson, right? Wrong.
“Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her.” (16:1) This led to the men of the city plotting to kill him. The men of Gaza were not able to kill him because God was still going to use him to conquer the Philistines.
He moved on to another Philistine city where he Delilah caught his eye (16:4-17). He was repeatedly deceived by her beauty which ultimately led to his hair being cut and the power of the Holy Spirit leaving him. The Philistines took him and gouged his eyes out (16:21) and he spend most of the rest of his life as a slave grinding grain. This was God’s hand taking care of Samson’s eye problem once and for all. It was Jesus speaking about lust in the Sermon on the Mount who said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matt. 5:29)
The Spirit of God did later return to Samson and with it, his mighty strength. His last act was one of destroying the pagan temple of Dagon and with it, thousands and thousands of Philistines. So God’s purpose was accomplished through Samson fulfilling the prophecy that the Angel of the LORD had given his parents. God took away the problem in his life (his eyes) and was then able to use Samson for His purpose. It could have been accomplished in a more swift and less painful manner though if Samson had been obedient to God.
Samson was a man of great strengths, but his weaknesses were just as great. He was a Nazirite from birth, yet he broke all of the Nazirite laws. He was dedicated to God, but not devoted to God. He had authority but not accountability. He had power but not purity. Sin can bind us; Sin can blind us; Sin can grind us.
Do you have an eye problem? Remember, it was the eyes of Eve that started this whole mess of sin. She saw the forbidden fruit and desired it. Next thing you know, she was eating the fruit and giving some to her husband.
We are also living in a time where people are doing what is right in their own eyes. Our eyes are often the portal to sinful acts. “O be careful little eyes what you see,” is more than just a kids’ tune!
There is only one way I know to avoid these problems. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:2).
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