When I went to Israel several years ago, there was one piece of instruction my tour guides gave me that I took to heart: “Do not get separated from the group!” You see, Israel was an unknown, heavily populated country, and being separated and lost from the group would be very, very bad. I did not want to be separated, so I stuck very closely with my group. Being separated is often terrifying and feels very lonely. We all have experienced this feeling of separation before, and it is very scary! Scripture teaches about a separation that is far worse from being separated from our people on earth: the separation from God that sin causes. This is not good news for us. Gratefully, when we were separated from God, He came to us when we were unable to come to Him.
Samson learned first-hand just how devastating sin’s effects are. He had broken his Nazirite vow to God multiple times and was living in a way that was completely disobedient to God. On top of these things, he had fallen in love with a woman who was not following God. She was enticed by the Philistines, enemies of Israel, to find out the source of Samson’s strength, which was his hair. After begging, Samson eventually told her, and she told the Philistines who promptly shaved his hair while he was sleeping. The Bible says that Samson lost his strength when his hair was shaved (verse 19). Even more than that, Scripture teaches that “the Lord had left him” (Verse 20). This, my friends, is separation.
When talking about sin’s effects, the prophet Isaiah put it this way in Isaiah 59, “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore” (verse 2). Isaiah’s imagery in this verse is striking. Sin literally cuts us off from God. It separates us, and we cannot do anything about this separation on our own. This is the way our sin impacts us. Without Christ, we are lost and helpless when it comes to this separation. Thankfully, we are not left alone in our sin. We know now that Jesus came to bridge the gap that separates the gap between us and God. In fact, Isaiah actually prophesied that Jesus would come to rescue us further along in this chapter.
It is not fun to talk about sin, and because of this, we can often jump very quickly from talking about sin to God’s restoration. It is important, however, to linger long enough to understand just how devastating sin is. It separates us from God. When we begin to understand this, we will respond appropriately to our sin as well as gain a greater appreciation for God’s forgiveness and grace.
Yesterday you spent some time acknowledging some sins you are currently struggling with. If you have not done this already, take some time to bring them to light now. Next, pray. Confess these to God. Tell Him you are sorry for your sin which separates you from Him. Thank Him for coming to you when you were able to come to Him.
One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”
But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.
Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.”
So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”
Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”
Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.
Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.”
He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”
So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.
Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.”
He replied, “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.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric and tightened it with the pin.
Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.
Then she said to him, “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.
So he told her everything. “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.”
When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.
Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”
He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.