“He did not know that the LORD had left him”

The list in Hebrews of those who are named as examples of faith has some surprising inclusions and Samson is one of them. None of those in the list lived ‘perfect’ or blameless lives, but all had times in which they displayed great faith in God. We have just read the accounts of Samson’s remarkable strength because his hair had never been cut. When Delilah finally succeeded in getting him to tell her the source of his strength she shaved off all his hair and then awoke him and said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had left him. And the Philistines seized him …” (Judges 16:20,21).

The Lord was the real source of his strength – and at his death he killed a great number of Philistines who had “praised their god. For they said, ‘our god has given our enemy into our hand’” (verse 24). We read that “Samson called to the LORD and said, O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once” (verse 28) and the Philistine house to their God, built around two main pillars, collapsed as Samson was given the strength by the Lord to push them apart, “so the dead that he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life” (verse 30).

Now in the chapter we read yesterday there is a significant verse. When his father objected to him seeking a wife from among the Philistines and Samson insisted and “said to his father, Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes” (14:3), the next verse is very significant, “His father and mother did not know that it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines”.

This illustrates that God, who sees all and knows all; in giving us a free will, often weaves the weaknesses of our human nature into the way he achieves his divine purpose – especially among his people. Paul was aware of this, he wrote, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). It is according to the Divine purpose that “things work together” – God frequently making use of human “weakness” to weave together his plans and bring them to pass. The more we read the Bible the more we will see examples of this.