Judges 16: The Consequences of Disobedience

This entry is part 144 of 150 in the series 365 Key Chapters of the Bible

Samson’s story reveals a sad but common pattern: instead of celebrating the One who gave him his gifts, he preened his ego and applauded himself. He trusted in his own abilities, foolishly believing that the gifts of the Lord would remain with him even though he was not walking with God.

Again and again Delilah sought to learn the source of Samson’s strength so that she could betray him to the Philistines. Again and again Samson stayed with her, and each time he foolishly gave her an answer, he got one step closer to telling the truth. Finally, he succumbed and told her that the source of his power came from his uncut hair, part of the Nazirite vow. Delilah hurried to tell the Philistines, and they captured him and gouged out his eyes. The Spirit of the Lord had departed from him.

As we consider the story of Samson, we need to ask an important question: do we care more about our image, or about truly communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ, even at the loss of our reputation? A common snare for Christian leaders is to be like Samson, creating a reputation without relying on the Spirit of God. Such a path will not lead to satisfaction—we must submit ourselves to the Lord.

A Tragic Summary

Unfortunately, the book of Judges continues on a negative trajectory, ending with a tragic summary. Even though Samson was avenged on the gouging out of his eyes and delivered the Israelites from the oppression of three thousand Philistines, the people did not turn back to God. Instead, they continued to worship idols, ignoring the commands of the Lord and doing what was right in their own eyes. The book ends with this summary verse:

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

The consequences of this disobedience were death, degradation, and destruction. The Israelites refused to acknowledge the one true God who delivered them, treasuring what was visible rather than what was unseen. They looked to the now rather than to the hope of the fulfillment of God’s promises.

If we are wise, we will learn from their disobedience and recognize that life is fleeting. The things of this world are a vapor, so we ought to treasure the eternal, the things that will endure despite the fact that they are not yet visible to us. In doing so, we will avoid the consequences of disobedience and will find hope in the life of Christ.

This teaching is based on Ken’s Handbook to Scripture

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