Loving King, I praise You for hearing me and answering my prayers.
Read Judges 16:23–31
The Death of Samson
23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”
24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying,
“Our god has delivered our enemy
into our hands,
the one who laid waste our land
and multiplied our slain.”
25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.
When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
31 Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led[a] Israel twenty years.
- Judges 16:31 Traditionally judged
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectRecall with gratitude some of the answers to prayer with which God has blessed you.
Given the central concern of Judges, it is fitting that Samson’s final prayer references God’s sovereignty (28). There is therefore more than a touch of irony in the Philistines declaring that Dagon has delivered Samson into their hands (23,24). God’s sovereignty is a blessing sometimes in a surprisingly good disguise! There is also irony in Samson asking the God he forgot to remember him (28). It’s as though the cycle of idolatrous disobedience followed by crying out to God that characterizes Israel as a whole in Judges is reflected in Samson’s individual life. It is, perhaps, indicative of the depths to which Israel has now spiraled that Samson’s prayer is motivated by a desire for personal revenge rather than for his people’s deliverance (28).
Given the circumstances, it is nothing short of astonishing that God answers Samson’s prayer (30). The sovereign God of the book of Judges is a God whose grace and purposes always win out over human weakness. Samson’s execution of his calling was – to the end – far from perfect. Even so, God in His sovereignty is faithful to His promise that through Samson would come the beginning of Israel’s deliverance from Philistine oppression (30; 13:5). Mercifully, God does not discard those who disappoint Him.
Reflect on what you have learned from the book of Judges about God, about the different judges, and about its relevance to your life. Do you find yourself following the cycle of the Israelites?
God, I thank You for second chances. You are my King and I choose to follow You through the ups and downs.
Book and Author Intros
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