“. . .And he knew not that the Lord was departed from him.”

Judges 16:20c

It’s never sudden or overnight, but always the result of a gradual slide.


That’s what Samson experienced that day when the Philistines pounced upon him in Delilah’s house.  Just a few minutes before he’d been snoozing like a baby on Delilah’s lap; the next minute he was having his eyes put out and led away to Gaza where he’d be bound and forced to grind grain at the gristmill like a lowly oxen (vv.19-21).

Oh how sad the “Downward Road of Degradation.”

Blinded by sin.  Bound by its wages.  Reduced to the rank of a slave when created to be “more than a conqueror.”

Yet, the Lord God didn’t intend for this to happen.

No, He created this one, whose name meant “distinguished” or “awe-inspiring,” to “deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (13:5c).  After having “done evil again in His sight” (v.1a), He “delivered Israel into the hand of the Philistines for 40 years” (v.1b).  And, dear Pilgrim, He still does the same thing today if we do not hear and heed His call to repentance.

In many ways, His wrath is not expressed in thunder and lightning. . .earthquakes and famines  . . .bankruptcy and bare cupboards, etc.; it’s His “turning us over to a reprobate (perverse) mind and giving us up to our own sinful ways” (Rom. 1:18-32).

And, that’s certainly what happened to Samson, who’d forgotten the God of Abraham was his true Source of strength.

Again, the Lord had created him to be “a Nazarite from the womb” (13:5b), which meant his “separated” lifestyle was a visible reminder of his inward dedication to the Lord.  His power wasn’t in his seven, braided locks of hair; it was in his dependency upon the One Who created, called and commissioned him.

But, he forgot.

And, slowly. . .every so slowly. . .he began to dabble in sin. . .marrying a woman from the enemy’s camp against his parents’ advice (14:1-3). . . getting angry when his wife betrayed him by telling his riddle’s secret to his 30 Philistine companions and he ended up killing 30 men of a neighboring city to pay his debt (14:8-19). . .burning down the Philistines’ cornfields, vineyards and olive gardens after his father-in-law gave his wife to a trusted friend (15:1-5), which caused them to burn her and her father alive (15:6). . .having sexual relations with a harlot in Gaza (16:1). . .falling in love with a lovely Philistine lady, who loved money more than him (16:4-5, 18) . . .and somehow thinking he could toy with temptation and not succumb to it (16:6-20).

Never forget a foothold soon becomes a stronghold.  Giving an inch will soon give way to a mile.  Departing from a life of holiness will ultimately end up in a life of heartache.  The Lord’s departing (His Power and felt sense of His Presence) is gradual, as is spiritual blindness.  And, the best prevention is staying close to the Lord and walking in His Spirit.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 6, 2010

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