Distress After Triumph
Judges 15:18, 19
And he was sore thirsty, and called on the LORD, and said, You have given this great deliverance into the hand of your servant…

I. ONE GREAT DELIVERANCE IS NO SECURITY AGAINST ALL FUTURE TROUBLE. Samson is surprised and vexed that a new trouble should fall upon him after his great victory. There is a danger lest we should rest contented with past triumphs. The Christian warfare can only end with the final victory over death. Till then we are in the enemy's land, and must expect that one battle will only be succeeded by another. Though we may have a season of calm, an oasis in the desert, a quiet resting-place, "this is not our rest." Let us beware of the confident self-elation which often follows the conquest of a temptation; it may be an introduction to a new and more dangerous one.

II. SLIGHT EVILS MAY PROVE MORE DANGEROUS THAN GREAT ONES. Samson feels it humiliating to be in danger of dying of thirst after his victory over a much more imposing enemy; but he had means to meet the greater foe, and none with which to face the smaller one. Evils are injurious not so much in proportion to their simple magnitude as in proportion to our susceptibility to them. The force of a particular temptation depends on a man's special disposition and peculiarity of character, not simply on its inherent alarming or alluring qualities. It should humble us to learn that after escaping the greatest dangers by the help of God we may succumb to very small dangers if left to ourselves.

III. SEASONS OF TRIUMPH ARE OFTEN FOLLOWED BY SEASONS OF DEPRESSION. Samson is despondent and querulous after his victory. So was Elijah (1 Kings 19:4). No doubt this common experience is partly the result of nervous reaction. Excitable people oscillate between the extremes of ecstasy and despair. It has also moral grounds. We grow over-confident, we expect too much, we forget that life cannot always be pitched in the heroic mood. The career of the loftiest souls is not one unbroken epic; even this has its seamy side, its stale and unprofitable moments. There is a Divine purpose of discipline in this painful experience to keep us humble and in trustful submission.

IV. GOD HELPS US IN OUR DEPRESSION AS WELL AS IN OUR ELATION. God came to the rescue of Samson. Though he murmured, God had compassion on him. God understands our weakness, and, understanding, pities it. He does not treat his servants as heroes, but as children (Psalm 103:13). The depression of feeling which destroys our consciousness of assurance does not destroy God's grace. It is important to observe that the faith which is the condition of God's help is not our confidence in our own salvation, but the simple trusting of ourselves to God's care, so that when we least expect his help this may come upon us and surprise us, if only we thus cast ourselves upon his mercy. - A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?

WEB: He was very thirsty, and called on Yahweh, and said, "You have given this great deliverance by the hand of your servant; and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?"

The Self-Refreshment of Divine Service
Top of Page
Top of Page