God Redeeming the Error of His Servant
Judges 16:1-3
Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in to her.…

The visit to the "harlot" is not to be explained away. The character of Samson explains its nature. This was the side where he was weak, the love of women. His sensuality betrays him into a great danger. God shows his affection for his servant, and for Israel whom he had delivered: by granting strength for a signal and unexpected escape which was marked by trophies covering his enemies with shame.

I. WE OUGHT TO BEWARE OF A ONE-SIDED MORALITY. External morality, like Samson the Nazarite's, is almost certain to be of this kind. The saint should leave no unguarded place. Only the indwelling of the Holy Ghost can deliver from besetting sins. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth from all sin.


III. WHEN SAINTS FALL INTO SIN THE WICKED TRIUMPH AND ARE CONFIDENT OF THEIR RUIN. The conception which the world has of sainthood is one of perfect external blamelessness, the least infraction of which is hailed as utter failure. When one failing like this is discovered, many more are imagined. How sure are these cowards of the capture of their foe! Or do they only seem to be so, using words of confidence and procrastination to conceal their inward fear? Is there not an unsounded mystery, etc., that cannot be calculated upon, in the defections of God's people? What and if Peter be restored again? The awaking of him whom God rouses from fleshly slumbers will ever take the wicked by surprise. The evil is that the Church too often shares the world's view about the irrecoverableness of backsliders. How often have God's saints been able to shout, "Rejoice not over me, O mine enemy!"

IV. THE GRACE OF GOD SOMETIMES DELIVERS HIS SERVANTS FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR OWN FOLLY AND SIN. Sometimes, but not always. Frequently enough for hope, but not for presumption. But the victory will be wholly his own. The trophy of deliverance will reflect no credit upon the delivered one. He would rather deliver us from our sin itself. He has promised that he will heal our backslidings.

V. THE TEMPORARY TRIUMPHS OF SIN ARE SWALLOWED UP IN THE ETERNAL REDEMPTIONS OF GOD. The gates of Gaza, the chief city of Philistia, are lifted off and carried to the top of the hill beside Hebron, the chief city of Judah. Every Israelite could see them in their exalted place of exhibition. So shall it be with the victories of the Lamb. He in whom was no sin, but who was made sin for us, shall deliver from all sin, and make us "more than conquerors." The seed of Abraham was to "possess the gate of its enemies" (Genesis 22:17; cf. 24:60). The gates of hell shall not prevail against the kingdom of Christ. - M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.

WEB: Samson went to Gaza, and saw there a prostitute, and went in to her.

Blessed and Tragic Unconsciousness
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