We misunderstand the reason for difficulties in our life at times, don’t we? We wish that life would be easier so we could get what we want, but getting what we want leads to a life of fleshliness and ultimately to the sort of spiritual weakness that characterized Samson. We don’t ever learn to want what’s right, to seek the things of God, if we get what we want all the time. Samson’s out-of-control life stands as a testimony to our need to be restricted so that we’ll learn.
Another observation we can make in review is that sin accumulates, especially sexual sin. As it accumulates, it weakens us and makes us less capable of giving and more insistent on getting, to the point that we’re not able to understand that in our desire to use another, we’re very likely to get used in return. It takes away all the possibility of sensitivity to the other person that a relationship ought to have.
Finally, God is gracious even in the hardest circumstances. When Samson lost everything, his hair grew back and he learned to pray and focus on the things of God as he hadn’t before.
The very last sentence out of Samson’s mouth was perhaps the most important of all. Having asked for strength and feeling the pillars crumble, as the roof began to fall on him, he said, “Lord, let me die with the Philistines!” Samson’s life had become a burden to him. There are many people whose sicknesses and sufferings have become so great that they don’t want to live anymore. Samson, with his eyes gouged out and the humiliations he had suffered, had come to that point. He had no family to live for and nothing else to do. He was a man who would presumably be blind for the rest of his life. He didn’t want to live anymore. So we can understand his saying, “Let me die!” But what he said was, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And the point of that prayer was to say to God, “I’m no different than the Philistines. I’ve been as far from you as any worshipper of Dagon is, and my heart is as dark as any other heart. I don’t deserve gracious treatment. I don’t deserve to live. So let me die with the Philistines.” Samson had finally come to the end of loving and defending himself, and he was willing to die, not just because he was sick of life, but because he accounted himself the same as those who had offended God all their lives.
We need to have exactly the same attitude: I’m just like everybody else. My life is offensive enough that I deserve to die with the Philistines. I have acted in ways perhaps not as debauched as Samson’s, but I’m just as rebellious, self-seeking, hardhearted, and likely to use people. I have taken the things of God and used them to my advantage; I’ve promoted myself. I don’t deserve mercy or advantage in life. Only instead of saying, “Let me die with the Philistines!” the privilege of Christians is to say, “Let me die with Christ!” We have a Savior who died in our place. Remembering his life given up for us, we apply its advantages to ourselves. May we acclaim with the apostle Paul, “I’ve been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”