January 23: Broken Man, Mighty God

Read Judges 16

His passion for beautiful women got Samson in trouble over and over again.

Here we see Samson’s weakness shining forth yet again. First a prostitute in Gaza. Then a woman named Delilah, a Philistine. Both times God could have let consequences take their course. But He stayed with Samson faithfully, kept giving Him unfathomable strength.

The Bible says Samson loved Delilah. But it leaves out any mention of her love for him. That fact alone reveals much about their relationship. Perhaps Samson trusted her so stupidly because he wanted to earn her love. The insecurities of unrequited love go deep, and Samson was no exception.

So when she got the chance to sell his secret, Delilah went to work to earn that cash. “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you” (vv. 6, 10, 13, 15).

Three times he put her off. How he could give in that fourth time is beyond me. But when she pressed him and pressed him for the secret of his strength, finally “his soul was vexed to death” (v. 16, ESV) so he spilled the beans.

Delilah recognized his heart when he spilled it all over her and, being privy to betrayal, she took it and ran.

When the Philistines captured the man of inconceivable strength, they gouged out his eyes before putting him in prison. So they could use him for entertainment at their get-togethers. The man who judged Israel for 20 years, in all his rash stupidity, was humbled before the enemy as he stood in their midst.

And for the first time in his story, we see a broken Samson, willing to trust God for his strength, ready to do things His way. “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen  me just once more . . .” (v28). Only after Samson was broken and blind could He look for God’s mercy and find it in all God’s strength.

Then, with the very strength of Almighty God Himself, Samson found his greatest victory as he surrendered his own life even as he took the lives of so many enemies. Samson’s greatest victory came by his own death.

It took the death of his passions and his physical death to get Samson to acknowledge his only true source of strength. It wasn’t his hair. It was what the hair meant.

Suddenly this story I’ve never understood seems to make a little more sense. That God gives strength to the broken-hearted, the humble. That He can use us in our sin. He doesn’t just give us strength us in our weakness, He shows up in it.


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