I love Wednesday evenings. Just after the dinner hour, teenagers meet at church for Bible study. I love teaching and I treasure the time I spend with them. For the last several weeks we’ve been taking an indepth look into the life of Samson. In the snapshot we’re viewing tonight, I realized that the strongman certainly suffered from a case of the if onlys.
In Judges chapter 16, Samson’s enemies subdued him after Delilah needled the truth to his strength out of him. After being taken into custody, the Philistines gouged out Samson’s eyes. The text reveals something very telling about Samson’s heart condition. Verse 20 shares, “Delilah called, ‘Samson. the Philistines are upon you!’ He awoke from his sleep and thought, ‘I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” Ouch!
Samson slew 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. He ripped a lion to shreds with his bare hands. Now he’s helpless…pitiful…blind. Even though the Word of God does not expressly say so, I believe Samson replayed his life choices and considered the “if onlys.” I think a list of the following scrolled through his mind.
- If only I’d followed the precepts of the Nazirite vow
-If only I’d listen to Mom and Dad
-If only I’d walked with God
“If only,” those must be the two saddest words in the world” (Mercedes Lackey). I often remind the teenagers at church that poor choices now, lead to a life of regret later. No one likes regret or the feeling perpetuated by walking in disobedience to God. Samson learned that lesson the hard way.
I think we all know the humiliation suffered when our poor choices come to the light of day or cause others to stumble in their walk with Christ. But there’s good news. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9) Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are ‘It might have been.’” Some Christians wallow in regret and remorse, instead of embracing the grace of a second chance. Judges 16:22 states, “But the hair on his head (Samson) began to grow again after it had been shaved.”
God did not forget about Samson nor abandon him. The follicles of hair sprouted once again and in the meantime, Samson mulled over his past. At the close of his life, Samson begged God for one more chance. God in His grace granted his plea.
God’s still in the business of grace and second chances.