Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him. (Judges 16:20)
Relate: It was not about the hair. I have to say that right up front because time and time again I hear the story of Samson being told and it is always said, “God left him because he cut his hair.” No. The hair was simply a piece of straw. God’s patience in the face Samson’s repeated disobedience was the camel’s back. Judgment was the breaking. For twenty years Samson had lived in a state of repeated sin and disregard for the laws of God. Over and over again he had opportunity to turn from this sin. What is far more sad than the fact the Spirit of God finally did leave him was the fact that Samson did not even notice.
Samson was supposed to be a Nazirite from birth. There are three commitments that makes one a Nazirite: 1) Do not drink any alcohol. 2) Do not touch anything dead. 3) Do not shave your head. If a Nazarite intentionally or not broke either of the first two vows, they were then required to shave their head, bring an offering to the priest, and then start over.
It is implied that Samson broke that first commitment at his wedding feast if he had not already done so sooner. It is very explicitly stated that he broke the second the moment he ate honey from out of the mouth of the lion he had killed. At that moment, Samson should have shaved his head and made a visit to the priest. The fact that he did not do so meant that from that moment on he was no longer a Nazirite. Even worse, he bragged about his sin. He turned it into a game. The fact that Samson continued with his long hair even after the breaking of his vows for the next twenty years is a demonstration of an unrepentant heart that would rather pretend that everything is OK than to actually make it so. Because God continued to move in spite of him (rather than through him) Samson probably rationalized that everything was fine. God either did not see or did not care about his sin.
It was this attitude in which he told Delilah the secret of his hair. He had already broken one (or two) other Nazarite vows, what is the big deal with breaking the third? He had to have realized that his hair had been cut off while he slept. After all, Delilah had already played this game a couple times. beyond that, how can someone not notice when thirty some odd years of hair growth is suddenly missing. Samson did not think it would matter. He was right. Where he was dead wrong was the fact that now, finally, the Spirit of God was also missing. God’s patience would not last forever.
React: Am I just like Samson? Am I more concerned with maintaining appearances than I am in true repentance? If I am to make things right with God and with others, that might mean I have some very uncomfortable, humbling apologies to make. It might mean I have to step down or away from some things for a time. It might mean I have to accept some accountability or even some judgment.
But if that happens, then everyone will know that I have failed. Everyone will see how wrong I have been. Isn’t it easier to maintain my masquerade? Isn’t it better to go through the forms of being a Christian and not let everyone see how far I have wandered? My sin isn’t hurting anyone else and God hasn’t exposed me for the fraud I am so perhaps I am not as bad as I might thin. Right? I think perhaps I will ignore the conviction and keep on going just like before. I think I will focus on the hair and ignore the truth of Samson’s story. I’ll stick to the safe road. It isn’t really leading me straight to hell.
Burn away anything in me that is not of You. God, I am tired of hiding. I am tired of pretending everything is OK. I’m tired of walking the wrong way down this road all dressed up nice. I’m tired of going on just like before. Help me to repent. Help me to swallow my pride and return to You. Help me to stop rationalizing, hiding, or ignoring my sin. I am not OK. Without You, I never will be. Help me to return.