Daily Thought for: 25th March


Judges 16. 1-31

There is special sadness about the death of Samson under the ruins of the city hall of Gaza. His epitaph is both moving and sobering: ‘So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life’. In divine sovereignty God used Samson’s death to inflict a dramatic blow on Philistine power, a token of the deliverance God would bring at the battle of Mizpeh later the same year, 1 Sam. 7. Samson sinned and failed but God used his personal restoration to achieve His purpose and the Holy Spirit puts him amongst the heroes of faith of Hebrews chapter 11. 

Samson’s life was a tragedy. His birth, his training and his strength indicate that God had a place for him in divine purpose. Sadly he failed. His self-will when he insisted on marrying a Philistine girl, his self-indulgence in his association with the harlot and his self-confidence in his relationship with Delilah (most likely an Israelite traitor) all evidenced the flesh instead of the Spirit. In his early death at the age of forty, Samson reaped what he had sown. He compromised his Nazariteship—in the wedding feast, in the use of the jawbone of an ass and on the lap of Delilah. God would now use a Samuel to deliver His people. 

Samson’s death was a triumph. His binding by the Philistines, his blinding and the hours of grinding at the mill doing women’s work had taught Samson solemn lessons. Now all the mighty of Philistia had gathered to celebrate the power of Dagon over Jehovah. At the height of the orgy, Samson, the Lord’s champion, becomes the Philistine’s clown to entertain the crowd. His hair having grown again and his soul restored, Samson asks his minder to be allowed to lean on the pillars of the house. The only recorded prayer from the lips of Samson acknowledges for the first time the real secret of his strength and he cries ‘strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God’. ‘Only this once’; for this he hoped and now he dies as God answers his prayer and the building collapses. The elite and the mighty of Philistia die in the rubble. The Lord has achieved His purpose, and His glory is seen, even in the death of His now-yielded servant. How solemn the lesson for us all! 


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