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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
"A Bright Hope Dead in Darkness"
"But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house." Judges 16:21
Sampson was brought into this world by the promises of God. He was to be a deliverer to his nation, a judge of his people, and a blessing to his parents. They named him Sampson, which means “sunny”--he was to be a bright, warm light to Israel. He certainly had a sunny birth, and a bright future. However, Sampson, the sunny ray of hope, died in darkness. How could such potential be squandered? The answer lies in a word: sin.
Sampson was always self-reliant. He had the promises and power of God, but rarely was it used in surrender to God's will. Sampson never took his position or potential seriously. In the account when he killed the lion, and then found honey in the carcass, he ate the honey, and gave to his parents and then made light of the whole ordeal. He toyed with God's plan.
In the end, Sampson died in the house of the Philistines. Many say that Sampson redeemed himself with this last heroic feat. However, it would have been much greater for him to have been a "living sacrifice" than to have died with the enemy. The scripture says he "shall begin to deliver Israel." Indeed, he did begin, but he never finished. Why? He failed because of sin.
Sampson's failed life reminds us of sin’s three consequences:
1. Sin is binding. "The Philistines took him." They bound him with brass shackles and chains. Proverbs 5:22: “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” Yes, sin will bind you with shackles that you cannot break.
2. Sin is blinding. "And put out his eyes," Judges 16:21. Sampson had been spiritually blind long before the red, hot poker seared his eyes that night. Delilah had clearly been asking for his cooperation in killing him, and Sampson couldn't see it. He was blinded by sin. Ephesians 4:18, “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”
3. Sin is grinding. "And he did grind in the prison house," Judges 16:21. With his eyes gouged out, and chained to the mill, Sampson ground out the meal like an ox. He was born with the promise to deliver, and now he was the prisoner. Chained, blind and working like an animal, Sampson had fallen from all that God had for him.
May we bow our heads and sincerely say, "Search me, O God! See if there be any wicked way in me!" When God shows us the spots upon our hearts, may we cry, "Cleanse me! Purge me with hyssop and I shall be whiter than snow!" May we serve God while we live. May we live clean and pure.