(Judges 16:20 KJV) And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
You could argue that this verse shares the saddest commentary that could ever be made about a human being. “And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.”
The word “wist” in this verse comes from a Hebrew verb that is very similar to the English infinitive “to know.” It means to be aware or quite literally to ascertain by seeing. A very literal 21st century rendering of this verse would tell us that Samson did not see that the Lord was departed from him.
The only thing sadder, or scarier, than being out of the will of God and out from under His protective care, would be not being aware that you are out of His will and protective care! This was the case with Samson.
Samson was a champion, even a hero, to God’s people. God had blessed Samson with great strength. God used Samson as an instrument of judgment against the Philistines during a time that the Philistines were oppressing God’s people. According to Judges 15:20, Samson “judged” (or lead and protected) God’s people for 20 years.
God chose to bless Samson. God gave Samson a very important work to do among His people. According to Judges 16:20 God also withdrew His hand and blessings from Samson. Why? While we may never know all the reasons, I believe one very important reason was because Samson fell away from the standards and life of Holiness to which God had called him. God had called Samson to live under the vows of a Nazirite (Judges 13:5). Samson’s inappropriate relationship with a woman outside of the community of faith leads to a violation of those vows.
So it is with us. We are often blinded to the consequences of our actions when we choose to live outside the standard and limits that our Creator has set for us. Often we fail to understand the eventual consequences of what we see as “small violations” of “less important” standards. We should always bear in mind that our loving God knows the end result of any choice we could ever make. His standards not only reveal His character and priorities, they also reveal His protective love for us.
How could a man so blessed by God lose those blessings without being aware of it? Perhaps it happens in the same manner that we “less-blessed” children do the same thing. We often lose sight of the fact that the things we enjoy are not things of our own creation or accomplishment. They are gifts and blessing from our loving Heavenly Father. When we allow ourselves to become estranged from God it often takes time before the blessings become scarce.
(Matthew 5:45 KJV) … for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Unfortunately for Samson, he was physically blind before he realized how spiritually blind his lifestyle had become (Judges 16:21). Let us all take inventory of our hearts, minds, and lifestyles while we still have the spiritual (and physical!) sight to comprehend what we see before us! Take heart and be encouraged by the fact that God still can, and still will, use us to further his kingdom even after we have strayed, if we will simply and sincerely turn back to Him. He did with Samson! (Judges 16:28-30)