He Wist Not

He Wist Not

Leslie S. Rainey

For years the phrase linked with the tragic defeat of Samson the strong man has been brought again and again to my mind by the Spirit of God. It is one of the most pathetic verses in all of the Old Testament: “I will go out as at other times before … and he wist not that the Lord was departed from him” (Judges 16:20). What had taken place in the life of this servant of God so that he came crashing down? It was his gradual decline from God that centred about two subtle temptations (of our generation as well as in the past day), separation from sin and sexual laxity.

Samson ought to be ever remembered as a perpetual warning to the Christian that one cannot continually follow a bypath of lust and self-will and not make spiritual shipwreck. Many times he had experienced the grace of God and His delivering power yet he plunged on in self-indulgence and carnal pleasures until the presence and power of the Lord he so sorely needed were removed. How awful for any servant of Christ to experience the same judgment! The enticements of Delilah are with us today and to find our satisfaction in the lap of the world is to tell all and lose all even as Samson. At the moment he thought himself safe his Nazarite sign was cut off and in a flash all his dignity and office were gone at a stroke. Too late Samson awakened to the terrible cost of the power of sin and the pleasure and policy of the ungodly. What remorse of conscience and inner yearnings must have swept over him in his pain and in the cruel hands of the Philistines! No doubt in the hour of extreme humiliation and utter weakness his prayer came up to God and the vow of rededication was heard. The last picture of this man of contrasts is that in his death he was in touch with God but a defeated deliverer of his people.

Could it be that some who serve follow a similar path like unto Samson? How often we should seek the face of God and actually shake ourselves to learn whether or not God is with us in our service. To engage in Christian service without a sense of His divine presence and power is dangerous and soul-destroying. May God deliver us from mere outward form and create within us a deep desire for truth in the hidden parts and service marked by reverence and godly piety.