By Sam Otti
For 40 years, the people of Israel groaned in torment. They were locked in a fight with an overpowering Philistine army. In their distress, God raised a warrior from the womb of a sterile woman. His name was Samson.
Samson took the fight to the Philistines, and at one occasion struck a thousand men dead with the jawbone of a donkey. He multiplied sorrow among Philistines and they cringed in fear at the mere mention of his name. True to his might, wherever Samson went, blood of Philistines followed his trail.
Insidious plots to tame him fell like a pack of cards. Those that laid ambush for him paid with their lives. When the Philistines discovered that no weapon of war would prevail against this mighty man of valour, they employed the arm of the flesh- Delilah.
Succulent and delectable, Delilah burrowed herself in Samson’s unguarded heart. His insatiate craving for sensual love was the flaw that nailed him. He lowered his guards to please a woman.
It is a small hole that sinks a big ship. Great men stumble and fall on the laps of luscious women. Adam set the precedence. So, did David and Solomon. Samson was no exception. And many of us!
Delilah’s seductive persuasion at the fourth attempt yielded result, dispossessing Samson of his most treasured secret. Three hundred shekels of silver went into Delilah’s hands. As most women do, Delilah monetized Samson’s heart and cast true love to the dogs.
While Samson slept on her lap, a detractor shaved his hair with a razor. His covenant with God as a Nazirite was broken on the altar of false love. He woke up like a discarded rag.
So, Samson wrote his name on the ignoble list of frail men dragged to dust by the charm of a beautiful woman.
This brings us to the main intent of this reflection. The Philistines gouged Samson’s eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and hounded him into prison. What a humiliation! The sight of a wounded lion is an amusement to a limping sheep.
Have you ever gotten to a point of humiliation in life? Has Delilah pulled you down and you feel ashamed to seek the face of God? Or have you lost your anointing on the laps of ephemeral pleasure? Perhaps, life has thrown you down the cliff and cast you at the lowest depth. Has your partner in love betrayed you like Delilah? It could be your business that plunged you into a penniless debtor. Whatever disappointment you have experienced, God has a message of hope for you. The hairs of Samson will grow again!
Whenever I remember the story of Izu, I believe that nothing in this world is truly ours. He was ahead of his mates, a successful business man gathering fortunes. Millions flowed into his accounts and everything turned around good for him. He had everything money can buy. But the days of adversity set in.
He lost all he had laboured for. Today, Izu is struggling to feed his family in the village where he relocated. Family and friends who milled around him have turned their back. Where sugar is, there teems the ants. In his lonely world of poverty, he has asked a thousand times why he had been delivered to such misfortune.
Like Izu, many people that once swam in affluence now float in penury. I have seen rich men return to poverty. That was the story of my father when he retired as a schoolteacher in Enugu State. His monthly pension of N22,000 was withheld for more than a year, and his family was left in desperate want. His death in 2015 brought afresh the pains of watching a man’s labour eaten by termites in his old age.
The scripture admonishes us to cast our bread on water and we will find it after many days. But in Nigeria, the rulers of our land divert the flow of waters to their home. Bread for the poor often decays in their tent. Perhaps, that was the same reason why my father’s gratuity and his colleagues have not been paid till date in a state that claims to be in the hands of God.
The good news is that Samson didn’t die in prison. Although he was dehumanised behind prison walls, he didn’t allow regret or self pity drag him to his grave. The Bible said that while he was in the prison, the hair on his head began to grow again.
What is your own prison experience? What has brought so much distress, suffering and pain on you that you feel like a prisoner in chains? Have you been sentenced to a lifetime of agony by ill health or other inexplicable circumstances of life. The good news is that the prison yard is not your graveyard. God will make your hairs grow. He will deliver you and give you lasting victory.
Samson accomplished more in death than in life. The day the Philistines brought him out for a mock party became a moment of victory for him. “Let me die with the Philistines” was his last wish. His strength returned and many more fell with him.
At critical points in my life, I have seen God’s invisible hands at work, as he delivered me from shame. He will do the same for you. Trust in God and be patient. Don’t fight God’s battle.
When death threatens you, speak life. When you are weighed down by the adversities of life, rise to your feet and never let your courage fail. And when you are pressed down by disappointment, shake off your shame. Refuse to surrender to defeat. Tell your troubles that the hairs of Samson will grow again.
When you lose your job or finances, be assured that the hairs of Samson will grow again. When your investment become insolvent, don’t bury yourself in deep water or climb the rope as a quick escape from the troubles of life. In fact, never think “Sniper” as a sweet poison. The dictionary says it better (Sniper: contemptible person, not worthy of respect).
When you suffer cash squeeze and have no hope of the next meal, Christ offers you a thread of hope to hang on. Don’t eat your heart out. Keep looking up the sky. It is the darkest night that reveals the brightest star.
No matter the times you get drenched in the rain, be assured that the sun will still shine. Don’t let your heart be troubled. Certainly, the hairs of Samson will grow again.
(This reflection was first published in August 2021)