Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” Judges 16:28 (NLT)

The story of Samson could be the story of all of us. He was born at a time when the nation ofIsraelwas living apart from God. They followed gods of other lands. They lived in open rebellion to the commandments and laws that God had established in order to receive his blessing.

Samson was born in a time whenIsraelhad no king. God brought various men and women onto the scene to bringIsraelback to God and, at times, deliver them from the enemies around them. The judges God chose to deliver his people were rarely the type of people you would think of as heroes. They were just normal people trying to make their way in life. Samson was no exception to that rule.

He was born a Nazirite. That meant that at the time of his birth God had set him aside for some special tasks. God’s power would rest on Samson in mighty ways but he had to follow certain life-style choices for God. He was to stay away from dead bodies. He was to stay away from wine. He was never to cut his hair.

God’s purpose in Samson’s life was to be used to show that Philistines that God was God and there was no one greater than him. Samson, however, had other goals in life. If you read the story of Samson (Judges 13-16) you’ll see that his purpose in life was to enjoy life to the fullest. In his eyes life was all about him.

Through a series of events Samson’s strength is taken from him because of his disobedience. He’s led away captive, his eyes are gouged out, and he’s mocked by his enemies. In one last desperate attempt at revenge, Sampson pulls down the pillars of a stadium and kills the Philistines. But what’s interesting is his final prayer to God. He asks God to give him strength ‘one more time’ to get revenge. But he doesn’t want revenge for his people. He doesn’t want revenge to show the Philistines that God is greater (which was God’s purpose in his life). Sampson wants revenge for his eyes.

Even though he was called to serve God, Sampson served his own interests until the day he died. He never got it right. Many of us can identify with Sampson. Try as we might to live the Christian life, we constantly put our own interests, our own feelings, and our own desires first. Sometimes we do this intentionally. Sometimes we have momentary lapses in judgment. Sometimes we simply want our own way and neglect to ask God what he wants.

The story of Sampson should be a warning and an encouragement to us. Even though Sampson served his own interests, God still used him mightily. In the same way, God can use you no matter how badly you’ve messed up your life. But there is a warning as well, even though Sampson was used to defeat God’s enemies he suffered the consequences of his own refusal to follow God. We can’t live our lives solely for our own pleasure and not live in relationship with God and expect him to bless our every step. Sampson left a trail of disappointment and broken relationships in his wake as a result of following his passions.

PRAYER: Father God, I see myself in the life of Sampson. There are so many times I’ve followed my own desires and rejected what I know is right. I’m impulsive and selfish in my motives. Forgive me for not following you. Help me to ‘one more time’ have the strength you have given me in your Spirit to follow you for your glory and not mine. In Jesus name, Amen.

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