But in the story of Samson, we have something very different and something chilling when compared to historic events of the past week.
God’s never-ending love will save Israel from itself for his own glory in the long run, just as he sent Jesus to save you and me individually.
God’s purposes shall not be derailed in any way, in any time.
In Chapter 13, Israel has once again done evil in God’s sight, and he “sentences” them to forty years of harsh rule by the Philistines. For the first time in Judges, we do not read that Israel cries out in repentance. Instead, forty years of punishment is enough, and God visits a barren woman, telling her she will have a son who will save Israel.
Samson is born and the Lord blesses him as he matures. One day, the Spirit of the Lord begins to move in him. Whether he knows it or not, his actions from now on will result in God’s will for his people.
But unlike previous judges of Israel, Samson is far from holy. In fact, he disobeys God’s commandments several times. He marries a Philistine woman against the commands of Moses not to intermarry with the uncircumcised. But there is an interesting twist – he tells his father, “She is fit for my purposes” (14:3, literal translation – how does your Bible read?), not “She looks good to me” (14:3, NASB). Samson knows his job is to destroy the rule of the Philistines over Israel, and he chooses this woman to be the just cause of opposition.
After losing this woman to her loyalty to her own people, Samson has a prostitute and then loves another Philistine woman named Delilah. Surely God is not happy, and Delilah seduces the truth about his strength from him and turns the Philistines loose on him. Because he has suddenly lost his God-given strength by allowing his hair to be cut, they gouge out his eyes and take him captive.
The writer of Judges says that Samson lost his strength because “the Lord had departed from him” (16:20, NASB).
Note that God’s purposes were not thwarted – the Philistines were ultimately defeated when Samson brought down a great house on top of 3,000 of their leaders – and on himself. The author of Judges says, “So the ones he killed in death were than those in life” (16:30).
Samson fulfilled his commission before God, but he sinned terribly before God, whose judgment in the absence of repentance was death.
The message is: God’s will is done by those he chooses, sometimes saints and sometimes sinners. But the Lord departs from those who sin blatantly in positions of leadership. He leaves, not necessarily because of the sin (his never-ending love prevails), but because of the lack of repentance.
With the American government in near chaos this past week, with major failures by both the President and Congress, we must ask:
Has God departed from us? Will our leaders repent before it is too late?