July 26, 2019

Eyes on Revenge?

Judges 16:23-30; Matthew 5:27-30

“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out. . . .”

—  Matthew 5:29

Samson’s eyes got him into trouble, and without them Samson triumphed over the enemy. Forced to entertain his captors, blind Samson asked the Lord for strength one more time. His reason? To “get revenge on the Philistines for [his] two eyes.”

In his human weakness and pride, Samson could not forget his eyes. Even so, God used him as an instrument to rescue his people. Without the eyes that provoked passionate desire in his heart and led him away from God, Samson, now blind, “killed many more when he died than while he lived.” And Samson died with them.

Unlike the stories of other judges, the Samson story does not end by telling us that Israel had peace from their enemies. Rather, it shows us a Samson who saved Israel without his offending eyes. Would God’s people too have to endure a time of blindness before they could see what is right in God’s eyes? (See Matthew 13:13.)

Samson was blind not so much because the Philistines took his eyes but because his eyes caused him to sin. He didn’t need his eyes to save Israel. But he couldn’t let go of them without seeking revenge.

Unlike Samson, Jesus Christ died for our offending eyes, our wayward hands and feet, our deceitful hearts, and our loose tongues. And instead of seeking revenge, he died so that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” with God (John 3:16).

Father, forgive me, for Jesus’ sake, for I know the offensiveness of my eyes, hands, and tongue. 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.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!