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Sep 3, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at Our website

Samson left God and didn’t know it. His behavior took him away from the one who gave him strength. Now he was in prison, blind, and turning the stone on a gristmill like a mule. He hit rock bottom and discovered why he had any strength in the first place. We pick up Samson’s story in Judges 16.

Samson’s head had been shaved. But the hair on it began to grow again.

The rulers of the Philistines gathered together. They were going to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They were going to celebrate. They said, “Our god has handed our enemy Samson over to us.”

When the people saw Samson, they praised their god. They said, “Our god has handed our enemy over to us.

Our enemy has destroyed our land.

He has killed large numbers of our people.”

After they had drunk a lot of wine, they shouted, “Bring Samson out. Let him put on a show for us.” So they called Samson out of the prison. He put on a show for them.

They had him stand near the temple pillars. Then he spoke to the servant who was holding his hand. He said, “Put me where I can feel the pillars. I’m talking about the ones that hold the temple up. I want to lean against them.”

The temple was crowded with men and women. All of the Philistine rulers were there. About 3,000 men and women were on the roof. They were watching Samson put on a show.

Then he prayed to the Lord. He said, “Lord and King, show me that you still have concern for me. God, please make me strong just one more time. Let me pay the Philistines back for what they did to my two eyes. Let me do it with only one blow.”

Then Samson reached toward the two pillars that were in the middle of the temple.They held the temple up. He put his right hand on one of them. He put his left hand on the other. He leaned hard against them.

Samson said, “Let me die together with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might. The temple came down on the rulers. It fell on all of the people who were in it. So Samson killed many more Philistines when he died than he did while he lived.

It took defeat, blinding him, imprisonment, and humiliation before his enemies for Samson to realize how far he had strayed from the path God intended for him. He finally figured out that without God, he was just another man. He was a clay vessel, easily broken without the one who created him standing alongside him in his journey.

We often read those last verses of Samson’s life and brand him a hero because of the number of Philistines he killed. Enemies of Israel and God that he snuffed out. We too often think he was someone to emulate and think about what we might do with such strength. But take another look.

Did Samson have to go through all the suffering he did to carry out God’s plan for his life? I don’t think so. Maybe we would not have the stories about him we do now. Maybe we wouldn’t have the lessons we learned from his bad behavior. Maybe we wouldn’t use him as examples of how to live or not to live in this journey of life. But I have a feeling that’s not true. I think God gave him strength and his position as judge over Israel to carry out his plan to defeat the Philistines, but I think God’s plan would have played out much differently if Samson had listen to him.

In my imagination, I can see Samson still defeating the armies God’s enemies sent against his people, but can you imagine the impact on nations around him if he had followed God’s laws. He would be respected by Israel instead of 3,000 men showing up at his hideout in a cave ready to turn him over to the Philistines. He could have been a tremendous leader if he had displayed the moral courage to do what was right instead of what satisfied his base desires.

Samson often acted more like an animal than one of God’s chosen people. And like a wild animal, his enemies laid traps for him until they finally caught the beast. It was only in captivity that God was able to tame the beast and show him who was really in charge.

You and I can find ourselves in the same trap if we fail to listen to that still, small voice that echoes in our mind. We must stop and recognize that there will be consequences to our behavior whether we like those consequences or not. We must understand there are no freebies in life and there will come a time, sooner or later, when we will feel the effects of what we do in our life.

We can also learn from Samson that God will redeem us when we repent. He comes to us when we recognize our sinful state and ask forgiveness. He responds when we understand he is God and knows what is best for us. God reaches out to us because he wants to have an intimate relationship with us. But he is also a holy God and we must come to him willing to obey him. Samson did and God listened and did incredible things through him. When we come to God willing to follow, he will do incredible things with us.

You can find me at I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.