Everyone seems to love a comeback kind of story. Remember the movie Karate Kid? Who doesn’t, right! He has this powerful moment in the end where his opponent cheats, he’s been beat down only to comeback with this crazy, outrageous move that wins the fight.
Well today, we are ending the story of Samson and although he’s made a lot of bad choices that have led him only to make more bad choices, and ultimately ending up in a place he thought he would never be, the story does have a comeback kind of ending. A redeeming. But probably not in the way you may hope.
So far, we’ve learned that Samson was born as a Nazirite, chosen by God to do great divine works. He was born with a purpose and with special gifts, yet he uses them way more often for his own selfish benefits rather than for God.
And we’ve seen how that never really works out for him. His unguarded gifts quickly become his very weakness. Pride sat in, his power went to his head, and before long, he believed he was strong in his own strength.
His enemy didn’t play fair, manipulated his first wife to get the answer to Samson’ riddle. Samson then killed 30 men to pay his debt for the answered riddle. He’s mad, moves back home, and his wife is given to the best man of his wedding.
In revenge, he tied torches to the tails of 150 pairs of foxes, and left them free in the Philistines fields to burn down their grain, vineyards and olive groves.
They retaliated by killing Samson’s wife and her father.
Samson then attached the Philistines with great fury and killed many of them. He hides in a cave, only to find out that the Philistines set up camp ready to attack the Israelites looking for Samson. 3,000 Israelites turn Samson over, and Samson in return kills 1,000 more Philistines with just a jawbone of a donkey.
All this retaliation, all this vengeance, anger, betrayal, and bitterness has led only to hurt, devastation, death, sin and more sin.
Never underestimate the slippery slope of sin. We always reap what we sow. Falling into sin always comes with a hefty cost. The agony of sin can be so overwhelming that it leads some into deep dungeons of darkness and despair.
And this is where we find Samson in the last part of his story. But thankfully, that darkness and despair is not the end of Samson’s story, because look, God’s will was never to leave Samson nor is ever to leave any of us behind. It is instead to raise us up and orchestrate a comeback with His unmatched sovereignty, His unmatched power, and irrevocable gifts.
Many of you may find yourselves like Samson in this part of the story. Perhaps it’s you or even someone you know. You’ve felt the glory of God on you and the power of God flowing through you, but you’ve fallen and feel like you can’t get back up.
If that’s you today, allow the following words to sink in your mind and heart.
When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
That’s a lot of power. And that power isn’t limited by anyone. It’s after we are…
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
You can and will get back up when you rely on the power of Christ to break the power of sin. No matter where you’ve been, how far away or how low you have gone, I declare with absolute assurance that God didn’t bring you this far if there wasn’t a kingdom purpose for your life! Christ did not come to destroy. Rather He came to restore and SAVE!
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18 “The Spirit of the Lord…has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, 19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
But look, Satan doesn’t want you to know this. The best weapon he has is blindness. Oh, if he can just shut your eyes to the promises of the Word of God, just get you to lose your vision, he’s in the lead. That’s what happened to Samson.
First, sometime after all the vengeance, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah. Yes, Delilah too was a Philistine. Samson once again went against God’s desires. The rulers of the Philistines, there were actually 5 of them – each ruled from a different city – came to Delilah and wanted her to entrap Samson, coax him into revealing what the secret of his strength was.
Enticed by the rulers giving her 1,100 pieces of silver each, 5,500 pieces of silver in total, she has no problem taking advantage of his confidence in her to betray him to his enemies.
Samson and Delilah go back and forth playing this game of lies. She lies and acts like she loves him, asks for the secret to his strength, he tells her a lie, she tries it (like tying him up or weaving the braids of his hair into the fabric on a loom), he brakes free every time and although this is not in scripture, I hear him laughing and taunting her. So she tormented him with nagging.
Now this is the second time that Samson allowed himself to be worn down by constant nagging to the point he gives in. You’d think he’d learn. But rather he seems so blinded by his burning lust for her that he can’t see who Delilah really is. Delilah was a deceitful woman with honey on her lips and poison in her heart. She toyed with Samson pretending to love him while looking for personal gain.
Yet once again, with his weakness, he gives in and tells her his hair has never been cut for he was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth, and if his head were shaved, his strength would leave him.
What a pitiful excuse for disobedience. Please don’t allow anyone – no matter how attractive, persuasive, or persistent they are to ever talk you into doing wrong.
She then soothed Samson to sleep with his head on her lap, and then called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair (remember 7 is a perfect number representing God). And his strength left him. She calls in the Philistines and they take Samson captive, gouged out his eyes, and forced him to grind grain in prison.
All of this was the consequence of his self-indulgence, unrestrained anger, and intentional drifting from the divine calling and purpose of God that he had done. But God wasn’t done. While Samson was working the mill in the darkness of that dungeon, Samson wasn’t aware of that God was going to work it all out for God’s good.
Take a look at the next verse. Thanks to God’s amazing grace, there’s more to the story.
But before long, his hair began to grow back.
When I imagine Samson being dragged off to prison, I see people mocking him, talking about who he used to be, what he used to be able to do. I can see him grinding in the mill in prison. I see him broken down, murmuring, “This is all that is left of my life.” Nevertheless, with every step he took, with every turn he took around the mill, another strand of hair grew back longer than before.
All of this was happening, and Samson didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. Why? Because he was blind! Literally and figuratively. He couldn’t see his hair—the witness of his anointing—growing again.
Maybe the worst thing that happened to Samson was not that his hair was cut, but that his eyes were gouged out. The devil has some of you so blinded that you can’t see that the “comeback” that you’ve been praying for has already begun to take place!
Sin slowly blinds us with insecurity, causing us to question who we are and what we’ve been called to do. The enemy tries to blind us with condemnation, convincing us we are of no use to the kingdom of God anymore.
Revelation 12:10 declares Satan is “the accuser of our brothers and sisters…..the one who accuses them before our God day and night.”
Yes, the devil would like you to become spiritually blind. The devil would rather have you pursue self-indulgence with uncontrolled passion than engage with the Word of God and take in this sermon. Because he knows this is a life-changing prophetic word that is going to mess up his plans.
Jesus proclaimed the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to give sight to the blind!
Hold up your spiritual mirror. Take a good look. Your hair is growing back.
I know it hasn’t been easy. I know you’ve been talked about, criticized, and some even worse than others. Nevertheless, the Word of God reminds us that, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” (Proverbs 24:16)
You are not who you used to be.
You are not worthless because you messed up last week.
You did not lose your relationship with God over your latest crisis.
Your hair is growing back again. Your strength is being restored again!
With every “Hallelujah” and with every “Thank you, Jesus” that you say, God is restoring you and lifting you up.
Let people gossip about you; let them talk bad about you. And don’t even take a glance into their mirrors. Keep your eyes fixed on the Author and Perfecter of your faith—Jesus Christ. Open your eyes nice and wide and take in the vision God is giving you.
Experience revival in your heart. (See Acts 3:19-20.)
Experience restoration of your soul. (See Psalm 23:3.)
Experience the renewing of your mind. (See Romans 12:2.)
Experience the rebuilding of your strength. (See Isaiah 40:29-31.)
As Samson’s hair grew, God also empowered him to accomplish God’s will again. God restored Samson. God gave him His strength.
23 The Philistine rulers held a great festival, offering sacrifices and praising their god, Dagon. They said, “Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!”
24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us is now in our power!”
25 Half drunk by now, the people demanded, “Bring out Samson so he can amuse us!” So he was brought from the prison to amuse them, and they had him stand between the pillars supporting the roof.
26 Samson said to the young servant who was leading him by the hand, “Place my hands against the pillars that hold up the temple. I want to rest against them.” 27 Now the temple was completely filled with people. All the Philistine rulers were there, and there were about 3,000 men and women on the roof who were watching as Samson amused them.
28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, 30 he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.
We need to give God room to:
“Equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ….that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”
Being consumed with self-indulgence is blinding many. Uncontrolled bitterness, anger, rage, slander, and all other evil behavior are binding many.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Yet “the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Today you can experience the freedom that comes from the Spirit of the Lord. Here’s how:
- Seize this divine moment now and “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that [you] may receive mercy and find grace to help [you] in [your] time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
- Allow the Holy Spirit to restore the joy of your salvation and grant you a willing spirit to sustain you (see Psalm 51:12).
- Allow the Holy Spirit to empower you to break the power of resentment, bitterness, and anger you are holding toward someone else (see Ephesians 4:31).
- Allow the Holy Spirit to empower you to forgive because Christ has forgiven you (see Ephesians 4:32).
Samson’s fall into the pit of self-indulgence, unrestrained anger, and intentional drifting from the divine calling and purpose of God are warnings to us all. It’s a slow burn. But God’s response of grace, mercy, and love toward him is also a reminder to us that His “gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29, NIV). Nothing can brake them.
God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. Move beyond merely surviving and into thriving in God’s mission for your life. He has given you gifts, talents, and abilities to influence every realm of your life and to be the answer to other people’s prayers.
Come boldly to God. Admit you need His forgiveness and accept it through Jesus Christ. Ask in the authority of Jesus’ name. Christ gives you and me the power to ask in His name and according to His revealed Word. As you do, He will answer by empowering you to resist the devil’s schemes and let go of the sin that so easily entangles you (see Hebrews 12:1-2).
It’s all part of our heavenly Father’s great grace. He’ll never leave you or forsake you in a dungeon of despair. Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. Respond to God’s sovereignty and grace today. His gifts are irrevocable, and He’s getting you ready for your comeback.
God can use a person in spite of his or her mistakes.
Yes, Samson could have done so much more with his life. He could have strengthened his nation. He could have returned his people to the worship of God. He could have wiped out the Philistines. But even though he did none of those things, Samson still accomplished the purpose announced by the angel who visited his parents before his birth. In his final act, Samson began to rescue Israel from the Philistines.