We serve a God who gives second chances.
Maybe you know some of the pain of living with your mistakes. The truth is that we have all made painful mistakes and we live to regret them. The most painful regret is the regret of knowing that you are not living to the fullest potential of what God has called you to.
The good news is that no sin is beyond the grace of God, you may live with the consequences of your sin, but in the midst of the consequences and the pain, God can use your life for His glory and purposes.
Samson was a man who sinned willfully and frequently, living an immoral life. As we look at the final chapter of his life in Judges 16 we read the familiar of his fatal relationship with Delilah. When Samson finally gave in and told Delilah the secret of his strength, he was well aware of what he was doing. In verse 17 we read; “he told her everything”, he told her that he was a Nazarite and that he was specially called by God. Samson was tired of her nagging, but sadly he was also tired of the calling of God on his life. He was fighting against God’s will for his life and just wanted to be free to be like any other man. Sadly, in his attempt to be free from the calling of God on his life, he suffered a far worse imprisonment.
The same happens to us when we know the will of God for our lives, but decide to do our own thing, resulting in pain, suffering and imprisonment.
The Philistines began to celebrate and all their rulers gathered to offer a sacrifice to their pagan god Dagon.
All the while though, Samson’s hair began to grow. The Philistines were not concerned because they knew that Samson’s power was gone, they knew that Samson’s God had rejected him and left him.
They could not possibly fathom a God who would give a second or third or fourth chance. What kind of god forgives? Only the one true God full of grace and love.
Samson realizes how he has neglected to use the gift God had given him for the Lord’s purposes. Every turn of the grinding wheel must have been painful for Samson as he had time to think of his squandered life.
Samson prays in verse 28 and asks God for one more chance, one more time to have his strength back.
Sadly, even in this prayer, Samson’s motives are impure, he doesn’t ask God for strength to give glory to the one true God, he asks for strength for revenge. Revenge is a terrible thing and it is the one characteristic of Samson’s life that had plagued him. In spite of Samson’s motive, God hears his prayer and gives him back his strength.
In his death Samson deals a devastating blow to the Philistines, all their rulers were killed, the nation was thrown into disarray.
God heard Samson’s prayer and reinstated his power, today God still hears the prayers of the backslidden
Samson made a mess of his life and this would be a hopelessly tragic story if it just ended there – but it doesn’t. We find that over in the New Testament that Samson’s name is mentioned in Hebrews 11 verse 32 among the heroes of the faith. That’s a surprise! Samson was a man of faith and in spite of all his mistakes and the chaos of his life, he pleased God by his faith in his final hour.
This is a comforting fact, because God can take a person who made mistake after mistake and still use him or her.
If God only used people who were perfect, nothing would ever get done.
God uses ordinary people; those who have weaknesses and have failed in life. There are no perfect Christians, only broken and humble followers of Jesus.
Maybe you feel that you’ve messed up your life so badly that God will never use you again.
God never gave up on Samson and He has not given up on you. God sees your potential and He remembers why He made you, you were created for great things.
What should you do if you have made some major mistakes in life? Exactly what Samson finally did, turn your life over to the Lord. Give Him all the pieces of your brokenness and allow him to rebuild your life to be something that will be to his Glory.
Only God knows the greatness and potential in your life, but you’ll never bring it out on your own, He must do it in His strength. Allow him to have full control over your life today.
But before you think that this is a teaching on cheap grace, that you can live however you like and God will always forgive you and reinstate you to his calling on your life, Samson is a warning to us of the consequences of living a foolish life of selfishness and pride outside of God’s will. Although God gave Samson his strength back, he was still blind. The consequences of sin in our lives will remain. We suffer the effects of our past sins. Our sins are forgiven, but by God’s grace he allows the consequences to remain in order to remind us of our poor choices and our need for a Savior. (see Galatians 6:7-8)
What about God’s call on your life? Is it being fulfilled, or is it sidetracked by some sin or distraction?
Are you living with the regret of missing the mark, living in sin and avoiding the calling of God on your life?
If this is you, you need to take that first step in acknowledging that you have been trying to do things your own way, repent of your sin and commit your life completely to the perfect will of God. Ultimately this leads to a life of peace and fruitfulness.