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 at bass).

The dove were sporadic in the mesquite trees, as they often are in that part of Texas.  Kevin Wall led the way with nine dove, I bagged seven, Mark Dillow bagged two, and Ken Miller bagged one.

After we cleaned the dove and put them on ice, 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 top-water lures aggressively.

I had one bass hit my Heddon Zara Spook Junior in baby bass color several times, as I was dog walking 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 that he was the most inept bass that I had ever seen.

On his second jump, he landed on his back on top of the plug, but still managed to not get hooked.  But 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 plug the twelfth time without getting hooked, I concluded that his blind eye would continue to prevent him from finding the plug.  I gave up on trying to catch him and started to 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 that he had gotten many times before when he was whole.

After Moses and Joshua died they were followed by several leaders known as “judges” for a period of 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 decided to take the Philistines on by himself.  He tried to intimidate and frighten the Philistines with the goal of preventing 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 and his capture by the Philistines, and his redemption.

Samson was a Nazirite from birth, which meant that he was set apart to serve God and was under a vow to not 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, placing them on his shoulders, and carrying them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron; 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.  She betrayed him during their seven-day long wedding feast by giving the answer to his riddle to the Philistines, which caused him to lose a substantial bet.

Afterward, he spent a night with a prostitute in Gaza.  The Philistines learned that 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 in the Valley of Sorek 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 betray Samson by discovering the secret of his 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.)

Every time, Delilah put Samson’s statements to the test while he slept, crying “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” and Samson rose in his full might, unchanged.

Then she said, ““How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me?  This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.””  With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.”  (Judges 16:15-16.)

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 that he was telling the truth this time.  She summoned the Philistines who, while Samson was sleeping, gave him his first haircut.  Delilah again cried, “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 prayed that God would 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 who was in it.

Samson’s story is a sad one.  It’s sadder still that he could have prevented it, if he had not been blinded by lust for pagan women, then acted on his lust, and if he had not been blinded by pride.  Samson did not learn from his mistakes.  Even at his end he blamed the Philistines for his downfall instead of confessing his sins to God.

As he lived prior to the New Testament, Samson didn’t have the opportunity to read Jesus’ words, ““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.””  (Matthew 5:27-28.)  Nor did he have the opportunity to read Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “Flee from sexual immorality.”  (1 Corinthians 6:18a.)

But Samson did have the benefit of the example of Joseph, who ran away after Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him (see Genesis 39:6–20).  He also had the 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 that “them” were seven Canaanite nations.  Although the Philistines were after them, they would have undoubtedly been included if they had existed at that time.

Samson knew that Delilah was trying to discover the secret to his strength and that 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.  Rather it was more likely because, like a lot of young men, he thought that he was bulletproof and that the gift of his strength would never leave him.  The sin of lust corrupted him, but the sin of pride is what destroyed him.

It’s also a shame that Samson did not 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 that he used to lust with – his eyes.  Samson also did not have the opportunity to learn from Jesus’ example to answer temptation with scripture (see Matthew 4:1–10), have the Holy Spirit dwell in him (see 1 John 4:4), and to learn about the full armor of God (see Ephesians 6:13-17).

Don’t be like that bass and Samson, so blinded that you don’t recognize that your demise is nigh.  If you’ve been blinded by the sins of lust and pride, remember that they can be defeated through confession (see 1 John 1:9), fleeing sexual immorality, and putting on the full armor of God.

Categories : Devotionals

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