Even pious sounding prayers can be self-centered or man-centered.Samson’s prayer was no earnest plea to God. Rather, it was a blatant attempt to control God. He uses the right words simply to manipulate God. And when God delivers, he takes credit himself for successfully “calling” God.How like Israel. Early in the book, she would cry to God with feigned religious zeal. But her actions proved that her cry was not heartfelt. God did provide for Israel at first, as He does here for Samson. Such provision neither legitimized the earnestness of the pleanor testified to the merit of the recipient. It was simply the kind grace of God, and so it is here.The final verse tells us that Samson’s time as judge lasted twenty years. But we are not told about any deliverance or any rest for the land. Samson’s victories were many, but there was no true deliverance.Bringing It All TogetherSamson wins many battles, but he is unable to secure complete victory for Israel. God was willing and able to deliver, but Israel was content in her slavery and Samson was self-consumed. So, tragically but fittingly, Israel remained enslaved.
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JudgesThis is Why We Need Jesus16:1-21 – Samson’s EyesGetting StartedEyes. They sure seem to get a lot of attention. You don’t hear many love songs about someone’s ears or nose, but there are plenty about eyes. The old poet tells us, “The eyesare the window to the soul.” Perhaps it’s true. At the very least, the saying is true in the life of Samson. If you want to know Samson, you must learn about his eyes.Big IdeaWhat do we learn about Samson’s eyes at the beginning of the story?What happens to Samson’s eyes at the end of the story?Samson is a man who follows the lust of his eyes and thinks he’s invincible. But God causes him to lose his eyes and to be defeated.A Closer Look16:1-3At the end of chapter 15, why did Samson ask God to provide water for him?The man who just finsihed pleading with God for a miraculous drink of water so that he would not fall into the hands of the Philistines now risks his life and the fate of his nation to sleep with a Philistine woman in a Philistine town. God’s specially appointed judge is now spending the night in the bed of a Gentile prostitute. Not good.The Philistines see their chance. They lower the city gates and the men go to sleep, expecting to capture and kill Samson in the morning. Perhaps anticipating their plot, Samson wakes up at midnight and goes to the gates. He lifts the massive, two-story gates and carries them some forty miles to Hebron, where he deposits them as another trophy of his great power over the Philistines. He can go into their town, have his way with their women, and still emerge unscathed.
This short story is included just prior to the Delilah story to indicate that such diversions were not uncommon for Samson. What does this tell us about Samson’s character?
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