Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Deadly Complacency

When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. (Ecclesiastes 8:11 NLT)

For twenty long years, Samson had experienced the thrill of victory. It was clear from the very beginning that God’s hand was upon him. The Bible tells us that God blessed him as he grew up, and the Spirit of the Lord began to take hold of him (see Judges 13:24-25).

For twenty long years, Samson had never known the agony of defeat. That should have made him thankful to God. Instead, it produced in him a deadly complacency about his spiritual life.

And no sooner did Samson’s life of promise begin than he disobeyed God by going out and marrying a Philistine woman. God had clearly prohibited this. But Samson didn’t care. He told his parents he wanted to marry this woman, and he ignored their objections.

This is where the breakdown began that would culminate in his downfall with Delilah. Sure enough, after he married the Philistine woman, everything began to fall apart. God was giving him a wake-up call to turn from his sin.

Judges 16:1 tells us, “One day Samson went to the Philistine town of Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute” (NLT). Samson deliberately made this choice, crossing the line. He was sure there was no trap from which he couldn’t free himself. And he blatantly took this radical step.

Clearly, Samson wasn’t walking with the Lord at this point. We don’t read of any spiritual struggle beforehand or of any remorse afterward. But this episode in Gaza led to Samson’s destruction. What he sowed with the prostitute, he reaped with the devious Delilah.

When Samson’s enemies in Gaza found out he was in their city, they sealed up the massive city gate and waited to kill him. There was no other way out of the city, at least not for an ordinary man.

But at midnight, the Bible says, Samson “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 from Hebron” (verse 3 NLT).

God had once again delivered Samson. And what made his life so tragic is that he had power without purity. He had strength without self-control.

Sometimes when we get away with sin, we think we’ll always get away with it. But no one ever completely gets away with sin. God sometimes will extend His grace and not discipline us right away. As a result, we might begin to misinterpret the grace of God for His permission.

The Bible says, “When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong” (Ecclesiastes 8:11 NLT). When we sin, we might not get caught right away, but we must not assume we will get away with it forever. We may not even experience the full ramifications of our actions until we stand before God. But sooner or later, it will catch up with us. There are no exceptions.

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