Blinded by Randy Rowley 5/17/19 ©


On an overcast and drizzly day on the second Saturday in September, three friends and I headed to Joel Kirby’s A-OK Ranch near Lometa for a blast and cast (blasting at dove and casting for bass).

The dove were sporadic, as they often are in that area.  Kevin Wall led the way bagging nine, I bagged seven, Mark Dillow bagged two, and Ken Miller bagged one.After cleaning our dove and icing them, we headed to Joel’s spring-fed stock tank (pond).  Mark caught eight bass (at least two with his and Kevin’s fly rods), I caught three, Kevin caught two (with his fly rod), and Ken caught one.  The bass hit topwater lures aggressively.

I had one bass hit my Heddon Zara Spook Junior in baby bass color several times as I walked the dog (zigzagged it) back to the shore.  He hit it from behind, in front, below, and he jumped out of the water a couple of times and hit it from above.  I concluded he was the most inept bass I’d ever seen.

He landed on his back on top of my lure on his second jump but still managed to not get hooked.  Then I finally saw why he wasn’t succeeding – one of his eyes was cloudy and white.  He was blind in that eye.  After he hit the lure the twelfth time without getting hooked, I concluded his blind eye would continue to prevent him from finding the lure.  I gave up trying to catch him and cast elsewhere.

The Old Testament tells the story of Samson, the seventh judge of Israel, who, after he was blinded, couldn’t get the results he’d achieved many times before when he was whole.

After Moses and Joshua died, several leaders known as ‘judges’ followed them for approximately 350 years.  Rather than sit on a bench and make rulings on legal issues, as we expect a judge to do today, Samson fought the Philistines, who had occupied the west side of Israel for 20 years.  The Philistines routinely harassed and pillaged the Jews, who suffered horribly for 40 years until Samson finally took a stand.  Rather than lead the Jewish army, Samson took on the Philistines by himself.  He tried to intimidate and frighten the Philistines to prevent them from further harassing the Jews.

Judges chapters 13 – 16 focus on Samson’s great strength, clashes with the Philistines, love affair with Delilah, her betrayal, his capture by the Philistines, and his redemption.

Samson was a Nazirite from birth, which meant he was set apart to serve God and was under a vow not to drink alcohol, cut his hair, and touch corpses.  God endowed Samson with tremendous strength.  Some of his feats included:

  • killing a lion with his bare hands;
  • tearing the city gates of Gaza loose from their posts and carrying them to the top of a hill; and
  • tearing his bonds and killing 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.

But Samson had a sin problem – he lusted after foreign women.  He married an unnamed woman who he met in Timnah.  During their seven-day-long wedding feast, she betrayed him by giving the Philistines the answer to Samson’s riddle, which caused him to lose a substantial bet.

Afterward, he spent a night with a prostitute in Gaza.  The Philistines learned Samson was there and surrounded the house.  But in the middle of the night, Samson escaped, taking the city’s gates with him.

Later he fell in love with a woman named Delilah.  The rest of the story is well known, unfortunately.  As with his first wife, Delilah proved herself to be Samson’s enemy.  The Philistines offered Delilah considerable wealth if she would discover the secret of Samson’s great strength and reveal it to them.  Delilah agreed to their offer.

She asked him, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.” (Judges 16:6.)  He made up three answers, including:

  • “‘If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.’” (Judges 16:7.)
  • “‘If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.’” (Judges 16:11.)
  • “‘If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.’” (Judges 16:13b.)

Delilah put Samson’s answers to the test every time while he slept, yelling, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”  And Samson rose in his full might, unchanged.

Then she said, “‘How can you tell me, ‘I love you,’ when you don’t share your secrets with me?  You’ve made fun of me three times now, and you still haven’t told me what makes you so strong!”  She tormented him with her nagging day after day until he was sick to death of it.” (Judges 16:15b-16.)

Finally, he told her, “‘No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb.  If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.’” (Judges 16:17.)

Delilah sensed he was telling the truth this time.  She summoned the Philistines who, while Samson was sleeping, gave him his first haircut.  Delilah again yelled, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”  Samson rose to defend himself, but God’s gift of strength had left him.  The Philistines easily overcame him, gouged out his eyes, and led him in chains to Gaza, where they put him to work grinding grain in prison.

But his hair began to grow.

Later, about 3000 Philistines gathered in their temple to offer a great sacrifice to their god.  They sent for Samson, and he came and performed for them.  They then put him among the pillars.  Turning to his guide, he said, “‘Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.’” (Judges 16:26b.)  The servant obeyed.

Then Samson asked God to allow him to get revenge on the Philistines for taking his eyes.  He pushed on the pillars with all his strength, and the temple came down on everyone in it.

Samson’s story is a sad one.  It’s more heartbreaking because he could’ve prevented it if he hadn’t been blinded by pride and lust for pagan women, then acted on his lust, and didn’t learn from his mistakes.  Even at the end of his life, he blamed the Philistines for his downfall instead of confessing his sins to God.

As he lived before the New Testament, Samson didn’t have the opportunity to hear or read Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:27-28, “‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’”  Samson also didn’t have the opportunity to learn from Jesus’ example to answer temptation with scripture (see Matthew 4:1–10).  Nor did he have the opportunity to hear or read Paul’s words to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6:18a, “Flee from sexual immorality,” and learn about the full armor of God (see Ephesians 6:13-17).

It’s also a shame Samson didn’t have the opportunity to read John’s words in 1 John 2:16 – “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”  Samson lost the organs he used to lust with – his eyes.

But Samson could have chosen to benefit from the example of Joseph, who ran away when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him (see Genesis 39:6–20).  He also could have chosen to follow God’s command in Deuteronomy 7:3-4, “‘Do not intermarry with them.  Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.’”  Deuteronomy explains “them” were seven Canaanite nations.  Although the Philistines came on the scene after those nations, they would have undoubtedly been included with them if they had existed then.

Samson knew Delilah was trying to discover the secret to his strength, and she would test what he told her, as she had already done three times.  His disinterest in self-preservation was probably not because he was a simpleton.  Instead, it was more likely because, like many young men, he thought he was bulletproof, and the gift of his strength would never leave him.  The sin of lust corrupted him, but the sin of pride is what destroyed him.

Acts 3:19 (NLT) says, “Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sins” and 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Don’t be like that bass and Samson, so blinded you don’t recognize your demise is nigh.  If the sins of lust and pride have blinded you, remember you can be redeemed through repentance (turn from the direction we were heading and turn to God), confession, fleeing sexual immorality, and putting on the full armor of God.

Categories : Devotionals

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