Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in to her.…
I. THE SOURCE OF SAMSON'S STRENGTH. Evidently then there was a supernatural element in it. But, on the other hand, Samson's vow as a Nazarite bound him to a mode of life calculated to secure a healthy, vigorous physical development; and the rationalist will contend that that of itself is a sufficient explanation of the matter. There was both the natural and the supernatural. And is not Samson's strength in these respects typical of a higher strength, that which is moral and spiritual? Here also we may discern two elements, the Divine and human. The highest form of strength, the strength of goodness, by which a man triumphs over evil, and which finds its highest joy in holy and righteous action, is not to be gained by a life of dreamy contemplation, or by sitting still and affecting that God will some day transform us into giants. It is to be attained by self-denial, self-sacrifice, and true work.
II. THE LOSS OF SAMSON'S STRENGTH. Now, what is the key to this sad affair? In one word, it is weakness; and that is the key to half the wickedness committed in the world. When temptation presents itself, instead of saying with a soul in utter revolt, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" men stop to think and dally, and once that is done there is fearful danger. They never intend doing any harm; they have good feelings and desires, and yet through moral weakness commit all kinds of wickedness, and involve themselves and others in misery. If we would be safe from breakdown, we must have a well-fortified moral character. Guard scrupulously the outworks; beware of everything that is morally enervating. If we fail to do this, ere we are aware we may find ourselves shorn of our strength.
III. THE RESTORATION OF SAMSON'S STRENGTH. Have we not here the conditions of moral restoration, with its limitations? The first condition is a painful consciousness of weakness. Without this a man will never desire any change in his condition, and therefore he will never seek any. There must further be a realisation of the folly and wickedness of his conduct, producing sincere regret for it and earnest desires and resolution of amendment. Hence, in true penitence there is an element that will deter a man from committing the sin again. And then there must also be the prayer of faith. Samson prayed and looked for an immediate answer. But there is something lost never to be regained. Samson's strength was restored, but not his eyesight; and he lost his life into the bargain. And that typifies a solemn truth. The man who, like Samson or David, is guilty of glaring sin, may, by the mercy and grace of God, be restored; but he can never regain the feeling of comparative innocence he once enjoyed. To the backslider these thoughts should bring sadness indeed, but not despair.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.