July 19, 2011

Wendesday after the Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 125, 138, Judges 16:15-22, Lk. 8:40
Evening - Ps.132, 134, Acts 16:16-24

Commentary

Samson seems to have trouble identifying the enemy. He married an enemy; a Philistine woman (14:15) at a time when the Philistines had dominion over Israel (14:4). And the Philistines threatened to burn her and her family if she did not help them against Samson.

Delilah was no better. Some think she may also have been a Philistine, though that is not known for sure. It is known that she cooperated with them against Samson, and, each time Samson told her something takes his strength away, she tries it on him. Did he think she would not try cutting his hair? How could he not know she was an enemy, not a friend?

Samson had another problem, he did not realise the true source of his strength. It came from God, not hair. His hair was but a symbol that he belonged to God. He may not have been very faithful, but he belonged to God and wore the symbol of his calling. To allow someone to cut his hair was to allow someone to remove the symbol of his calling, which is the same as rejecting that calling. So, in this passage, Samson takes the final step in a long journey away from God, and when that happens, he looses his strength.

Let us learn from Samson. Let us learn from his habit of disobedience and his attraction to the ways of sin. Samson identified with the enemies of God and His people, and he moved toward them and away from God. Finally, he took the decisive step. But, as those who follow worldliness learn too late, he found not friendship among the Philistines, but cruel slavery.

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