“O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God…”
– Judges 16:28
The times of the Judges were unlike any other; they required unique men to accomplish God’s plans. “The age of the Judges was a rude age,” wrote Alexander Whyte, “and God condescended to its rudeness, and raised up rude instruments to shape it.” With that uniqueness, we continue to find deep in any man a desperately wicked heart and self-will. Left to devices and no personal exertion towards holiness, selfish desires flourish unopposed. Such was the case with Samson.
The son of Manoah began his Nazarite journey even before he was born. Although Samson kept watching with all diligence in obvious places of his oath, he neglected to make a gallant defense at other gates of his heart. It was at these inconspicuous and unfortified gates that we find his enemy hammering at daily. In his strength, Samson attempted to stand against the lusts of his heart only to end up playing with sin and compromise. His enemies eventually bound him, and we find a great judge fallen and in a dark cell, performing the works of a donkey.
Without a doubt, Samson brought shame to God’s name. The Philistines even mocked him for it, pointing out Samson’s flaws and failures. We can only imagine the deep despair of the heart of Manoah’s overtaken and overwhelmed son. Even after all this, we see God’s grace prevail. The “hair of his head began to grow again.” A wise man wrote, “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” It would seem to be the case here. A shameful prison had become the house of God, a place of prayer and repentance for Samson. The oath of the Nazarite was restored, causing Samson to plead with his Maker to be used one last time! God heard the cry of this penitent, and the enemy was destroyed.
Do you ever find yourself like Samson? Have you neglected to watch those gates in your life given to lust and compromise only to be taken over by them? It could be that you find yourself often in a dark cell and bound in the soul. It could also be that others, even Christians, dwell on all your past wrong-doings, continually pointing them out. Take heart and remember that “God’s grace,” as the Bible declares, “is sufficient for you.” Use the shameful prison to your advantage. May it become to you a place of prayer and repentance. It may be that the Lord has one last stand for you to fulfill!
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”– 1 Peter 5:5