July 25, 2019


Judges 16:1-22

. . . The Lord had left him.

—  Judges 16:20

Samson kept following his own desires, doing what looked right in his own eyes. In this way he mirrored the people of Israel. They rarely saw their own faults and their pride, which always led to destructive consequences. No matter how often God rescued them and gave them victory, they kept turning away to other gods, doing only as they desired.

In today’s reading we find Samson following his eyes again. He goes to see a prostitute. Then, “some time later,” he falls “in love with a woman” named Delilah. But Delilah doesn’t love him; she only seeks to lure him and destroy him.

Following our own desires can be destructive to us too. Have you ever found, like Samson and Israel, that if you keep going your own way, God will let you face some of the consequences of your actions? In his mercy, God will often give us a wake-up call so we can turn around and seek what’s right in his eyes, rather than our own.

Samson’s uncut, Nazirite hair was a symbol of his dedication to God. When he gave that up and his enemies jumped him, Samson discovered that “the Lord had left him.” Humiliated and blinded, the savior of Israel was led away in shackles.

Defying God is not fitting for any of us whom God calls to live by the power of his Spirit. Thankfully for our sake, Jesus never defied God but humbled himself, even to death on a cross, saving us from the power of sin and its consequences.

Lord, help us to live by the power of your Spirit filling our lives. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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