In Judges 16:20-21 we read a sad part of Samson’s experience. The Bible says the following: “…And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him. But the Philistines took him and put out his eyes…” Samson had played so close to the edge for so long that he eventually miscalculated and he lost his connection with God, had no strength, and he was captured and tortured, both by the loss of his eyes and by the issue of hard labor at the grinding wheel in the prison house in
One of the interesting questions that come up in this story is why did God depart from Samson when the Bible says that no one can take us out of His care and love, and He will never leave us nor forsake us (Romans 8:34-39; Hebrews 13:5). Since nothing externally can separate us from God then it would seem that something internally must take place in order for Samson to lose His strength and to be blinded and taken captive by his enemies.
In Judges 16:19 the Bible says that his strength “went from him”. This occurred after Samson had told Delilah all that was in his heart about his covenant relationship with God. He cast his pearls and he was trampled under foot (Matthew 7:6). He had clear evidence from God that Delilah was not a safe person to be around. She had demonstrated her unfaithfulness three times, and had even called out to Samson’s enemies the Philistines. Yet with all of this information in front of him he chose her over the promptings of the Holy Spirit to his conscience. He hardened his heart to God, opened the doors to Satan and was fearfully wounded – he was blinded.
There are some interesting texts in the Bible that talk about how we get blinded/hardened of heart. In Isaiah 56:10-12 we find an interesting set of thoughts that look vaguely like the thoughts of Samson for Samson was a Shepherd as well as a Judge. The Bible says:
” His watchmen are blind,
They are all ignorant;
They are all dumb dogs,
They cannot bark;
Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 Yes, they are greedy dogs
Which never have enough.
And they are shepherds
Who cannot understand;
They all look to their own way,
Every one for his own gain,
From his own territory.
12 “Come,” one says, “I will bring wine,
And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink;
Tomorrow will be as today,
And much more abundant.”
We can see that Samson had an attitude very similar to that of the watchmen who had chosen to be blind as well as ignorant. It was true that Samson sometimes fought for Christ but it almost always seemed to be around the issue of drinking wine, and wanting to do things his own way. Ephesians 4:17-20 seems to address the same issues that Isaiah 56:10-12 talked about. It says:
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Samson had indeed given himself over to the issues of lewdness, in his associations with Delilah and he had his understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God and became blind in his heart. And thus when he walked away from God he did not know he was doing it. He had gone to the point of associating with the world that the god of this world had blinded him through lust and sensuous activities (II Corinthians 4:4; See also II Peter 1:4-9).
I wanted to share one last thought on blindness before moving on. In Desire of Ages 322-323 God tells us how the process of blindness came upon Samson. God says the following:
“It is not God that blinds the eyes of men or hardens their hearts. He sends them light to correct their errors, and to lead them in safe paths; it is by the rejection of this light that the eyes are blinded and the heart hardened. Often the process is gradual, and almost imperceptible. Light comes to the soul through God's word, through His servants, or by the direct agency of His Spirit; but when one ray of light is disregarded, there is a partial benumbing of the spiritual perceptions, and the second revealing of light is less clearly discerned. So the darkness increases, until it is night in the soul…”
Samson had had this experience. He had been trained as a boy regarding his Nazarite vows. He knew of the power of God and had been delivered by God over and over again. He knew of the sins of His people in the past and the dangers of interactions with the heathen and the backslidden. Yet with all of this information Samson trusted in his own strength rather than in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Samson had not learned that when we are strong then we are weak (I Corinthians 10:12) but when we are in a relationship with God then our very weakness leads us to depend upon Him and then we are strong (II Corinthian 12:9-10).
But praise God the story of Samson did not end with blindness but as often is the case when we are blinded we sometimes actually are in a better place to learn about our weaknesses and our need of God (See the apostle Paul in Acts 9:1-20). We have the opportunity to learn from the fall of Samson and we will learn more when we read about how he responded to the calls of Christ to come home to Him. When ever we are interacting with God there is always hope. Hope fails only when we are determined not to come back to God. But although we may fall God wants to help us and to redeem us and bring us back into relationship with Him. Samson had a massive fall, and as a result of his fall he was allowed by God to reveal the power of Christ to the world. This promise is also open to