SUNDAY, JANUARY 22, 2012
THE GOD OF RESTORATION
‘But before long, his (Samson’s) hair began to grow back’ Judges 16v22.
SAMSON, the mighty warrior, became a slave. Rather than kill him, the Philistines preferred to humiliate him by gouging his eyes and making him grind. Samson now had plenty of time to wonder if Delilah’s charms were worth a life of humiliation.
God did not completely abandon Samson: ‘Then Samson prayed to the Lord, ‘sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes’. Then Samson put his hands on the two centre pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, he prayed ‘let me die with the Philistines’. And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime’ 16v28-30).
He allowed Samson’s decision to stand and the consequences of his decision followed naturally. We may choose to be close to God or to go our own way, but there are consequences resulting from our choice. Samson didn’t choose to be captured, but he chose to be with Delilah. He could not escape the consequences of his decision.
Blinded and without strength, Samson was taken to Gaza where he would spend the rest of his short life. Gaza was one of the five capital cities of the Philistines known for its many wells; Gaza was a vital stop along a great caravan route that connected Egypt to the south with Abram to the north. The Philistines probably showed off their prized captive to dignitaries passing through.
Ironically, it was in Gaza that Samson had earlier demonstrated his great strength by uprooting the city gates: ‘One day Samson went to the Philistine town of Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute. Word soon spread that Samson was there, so the men of Gaza gathered together and waited all night at the town gates. They kept quiet during the night, saying to themselves, when the light of morning comes, we will kill him. But Samson stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up, took hold of the doors of the town gate, including the two posts, and lifted them up, bar and all. He put them on his shoulders and carried them all the way to the top of the hill across the Hebron’. Judges 16v1-3. Now he was an example of weakness.
But God did not totally abandon him. As a Nazarite, his hair began to grow. A peep into Samson’s background revealed his credentials. He had tremendous potentials. Born as a result of God’s plan in the life of Manoah and his wife, Samson was to do a great work for God— rescue Israel from the Philistines. To help him accomplish God’s plan, he was given enormous physical strength. The growth of the hair depicted strength to overcome any obstacle and accomplish God’s purpose.
However, sometimes we waste opportunities given to us by God. We wander away from His purpose for our lives. Ask yourself: what is leading me astray— wine, women or wealth? Are these things enough to bring ruin, pain and destruction on my path? No doubt, sin destroys.
Israel sinned against God and He allowed them to be carried away captivity. But God was concerned, and spoke of the restoration of Israel through prophet Jeremiah: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess, says the Lord’.
In the same vein, if we realise ourselves and turn to Him from where we have fallen, He will certainly restore to us all those things that the evil one has stolen from us. Our God is a God of restoration. As Samson’s hair began to grow, may we recover all our losses to the glory of God, Amen!VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.