Judges 16 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional

“The temple was full of men and women; all the leaders of the Philistines were there, and about 3000 men and women were on the roof watching Samson entertain them. He called out to the L_rd: ‘L_rd G_d, please remember me. Strengthen me, G_d, just once more. With one act of vengeance, let me pay back the Philistines for my two eyes.’ Samson took hold of the two middle pillars supporting the temple and leaned against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines.’ He pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the leaders and all the people in it. And the dead he killed at his death were more than those he had killed in his life.” Judges 16:27-30

The L_rd is the G_d who hears the cry of his servant in desperate circumstances. In today’s passage, the L_rd’s answer comes not only in the midst of desperate need, but in the wake of miserable failure. This is the Samson who would rather play around with Delilah than protect the L_rd’s gift. This is the Samson who faithlessly bartered-away the L_rd’s strength in order to court a treacherous lover. It is this Samson – this faithless, foolish, fallen Samson – whom the L_rd hears.

You see, Samson is sort of an “Israel in concentrated form”. The Israelite who heard Samson’s story were supposed to see the pattern of their own unfaithfulness. That being so, how was Israel to hear this latter part of the Samson story? Were they not meant to hope? Were they not to understand that though the L_rd’s hand may justly cast down His unfaithful servants, His ears are nevertheless open to their cries and His arm still ready to act on their behalf? Should Israel not see that even in her sinfulness, G_d was still encouraging her to call upon Him in their day of trouble?

Of course, there will be objections. Someone will argue that Israel – like Samson – does not deserve the L_rd’s help. So what else is new? Those who champion such objections are frequently those who have little sense of their own sinful depravity!

And what of the followers of Yeshua who have stupidly and miserably failed the L_rd? Should we not find hope in seeing that being cast-down does not mean being cast-off? Should we not rejoice, that we also may call on the L_rd, even from “Dagon’s temple”?

Finally, as we look back over the whole tragic story, we must mention the strangeness of the L_rd’s choice. Why would He use a character like Samson as His servant? Here is a guy who shatters all our molds, conventions and expectations about what a servant of G_d is to be. Worse yet, Samson is not only unconventional but also unfaithful. He seems to think his G_d-given strength was his plaything; he didn’t seem to realize that spiritual gifts are not given so we can toy with them as we please, but to serve and care for the good of G_d’s people. But here is this Samson…a sort of wild ass of a man, entertaining yet unpredictable, so promising and so tragic. He seems so unlike our image of an “evangelical believer”! G_d will not be confined by our respectabilities. He chose Samson, and He chooses us as well.

~Steve Wiggins
Daily Devotional, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014