And she said, The Philistines be on you, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before…
He wist not that the Lord was departed from him.
I. THE FACT.
1. There are men whom God has forsaken. No man is utterly forsaken by God; our continued existence is an evidence of the continued presence of him in whom we live and move and have our being. But the fuller presence of God, that which secures strength and blessing, may depart.
2. His departure is the greatest curse which can fall upon a man. The consequences of it are weakness, shame, ruin. The conscious realisation of it is hell.
3. The cause of this departure of God is in the conduct of men, not in the will of God. Samson forsook God before God forsook him. God does not visit his people casually, and only for seasons; he abides, and will never leave them (Isaiah 41:17) till they wilfully depart from him.
4. A past enjoyment of God's presence is no guarantee against his future departure. God is not only absent from those who never knew him, he departs from some in whose hearts he has once dwelt. If the Christian has left his first love, he will find that all his previous experience of God's blessings will not secure him against the dreary night of a godless life.
II. THE IGNORANCE OF THE FACT. Samson was unconscious of the fearful loss he had sustained. So there are men who retain their honoured position in Christian society and in the Church while, even unknown to themselves, the source of the life which gave it them is ebbing away. The causes of this ignorance should be traced.
1. The presence of God is spiritual, inward, silent, secret, and his departure makes no outward sign.
2. Old habits continue for a season after the impetus behind them has ceased, as the train runs for a while after the steam has been shut off.
3. God may leave us gradually as we forsake him by degrees. The fall is not sudden and violent, rather it is a quiet gliding back; and the loss of Divine grace is not often (as in the case of Samson) sudden, but little by little it leaves us.
4. One of the worst effects of God''s departure is that it leaves us in a state of spiritual indifference. As with the death which follows extreme cold, the very fatality lies in the fact that the more dangerous our condition is, the more numbed are our faculties to any feeling of distress. The man from whom God has departed has neither the keenness of con- science to discern the fact, nor the feeling of concern to take any notice of it.
5. The tests of God's absence are not always immediately applied. The rotten tree stands till the storm strikes it; the corpse mocks sleep till corruption ensues; Samson does not know of God's departure till the Philistines are on him. But though postponed for a season, the revelation must come in the end. How much better to discover the evil first by self-examination! (2 Corinthians 13:5). - A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
WEB: She said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" He awoke out of his sleep, and said, "I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free." But he didn't know that Yahweh had departed from him.