Samson’s cry to God led to his spiritual restoration, but also to his death. This is a clear picture of being heard by God, but still having to bear the consequences of sin.
The just, judicial chastisement and judgment of God are seen throughout the end of Samson’s life. The Philistines held a national, religious celebration in honor of their false god Dagon. Two significant events happened at the festival.
First, the Philistines gave praise to their false god for helping them capture Samson. Picture the praise and prayers being offered up to this false god, no doubt thousands of people praying and praising Dagon for the great victory they had been given over their arch-enemy Samson. What a tragedy, and what a terrible legacy Samson was leaving behind. Instead of bringing praise to God for his life, Samson’s life had given an opportunity for the enemy to praise their false god. The Philistines remembered how Samson had burned their fields and orchards to the ground and how he had killed so many of their people. They were ever so thankful for his capture, and they were praising their false god for delivering him into their hands.
Second, at some point the worship was replaced by partying and feasting, drunkenness and loose behavior, laughter and joking. And the people began to shout for Samson to be brought out to amuse them. Just what kind of entertainment they forced Samson to do is not stated. But the purpose of the Philistines was to mock and ridicule him. Imagine the scene! The strongest man who had ever lived standing in the midst of a huge temple, blind and helpless and being used as the object of mockery and ridicule. But keep in mind: it was Samson’s own fault. He was there because of his unbridled lust and passion, his compromising, permissive, and inconsistent lifestyle.
God now demonstrated His mercy and justice in hearing the prayer of His broken servant. Samson was saved through death, an early death that was due to the consequence of his sin. Being blinded, Samson was led about by the hand of a servant. At some point, he requested this servant to place him between the two major pillars that supported the temple. All the rulers were in the temple and about 3000 men and women were on the roof watching Samson’s amusing performance. As soon as the servant had placed Samson between the two support pillars, he prayed to the Lord, asking the Lord to remember and strengthen him. He requested God to execute justice and judgment on the Philistines. In answer to the prayer, Samson knew that he would die. Nevertheless, he placed his hands on the two support pillars and actually cried out for God to let him die with the Philistines. While crying out, he pushed with all his might, and the temple came crashing down upon all the rulers and all the people who were within the temple and sitting on the roof. More Philistines were killed in his dying than while he was living.
The fact that God heard his prayer is strong evidence that God restored him spiritually, that in his death, all was made right between him and the Lord.
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