We have been studying in our Wednesday Bible Studies the book of Judges. What I find troubling in the later chapters of the book is the complete absence of people seeking the Lord’s guidance or calling out to the Lord in prayer. The story of Samson covers chapters 13-16, yet on only 2 occasions do we see Samson calling out to the Lord. In the 15th chapter of Judges after killing 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey, we read “Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived”, (v. 18-19a NIV). This is the first time we read of Samson calling on the Lord. We read in the next verse that Samson judged Israel for 20 years but we don’t see him seeking God’s wisdom and direction at any point.
The 2nd time Samson prayed to God is after his immortal and sinful lifestyle has resulted in him being blinded by the Philistines. He’s now been enslaved and is constantly being mocked. In fact in the 16th chapter at one of the great feast to Dagon they gather to celebrate their great victory over Samson. They’ve brought him out to mock and ridicule him. Then we read “Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived”, (v. 28, 30 NIV). Amazingly these are the only two times in recorded Scripture that Samson called out to the Lord.
Maybe Samson would have never found himself in that position if he had taken more time to sit at the feet of his God and worship Him. God’s hand was obviously on Samson throughout his life, even when Samson seemed so far from God. But I wonder how different the story might have been if Samson followed God with a whole heart.
The book of Judges gets even darker after the death of Samson. In fact the last verse of the book in chapter 21 can also be considered a summary verse of our culture as well. We read, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit”, (v.25 NIV). One of the keys to understanding these dark chapters is the absence of prayer and the fact that “everyone did whatever he saw fit”. How about in our own lives? Are we seeking God’s will and God’s touch every day? Are we delighting ourselves in the Lord or are we only calling out to Him when we are in the midst of some crisis? Let’s not be like Samson, just calling out to God in the midst of his crisis. Let us make sure we are taking time daily to seek the face of the Lord and His guidance and strength in our daily walks. All praise to the Lord Jesus Christ who invites us to cast all our cares on Him.
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo