Samson’s hair grew again. He enjoyed communion with the Lord again. He could pray to God again—and his prayer was heard and answered. Samson was used by the Lord again. This obviously doesn’t mean that every man who falls into sexual sin would be restored to the same area of usefulness in which they previously served the Lord. But Samson’s story should remind the broken, repentant sinner that his broken vow can be renewed.
Not too long ago, I sat with three brothers to read through Proverbs 5-7, three chapters that are full of warnings against adultery. And it didn’t take long before our attention was fixed on the very hard statements and warnings found throughout the text. Here are some them:
‘He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.’ (Proverbs 5:23)
‘He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.’ (Proverbs 6:32-33)
‘All at once he follows her. . . he does not know that it will cost him his life.’ (Proverbs 7:22-23)
In light of these very hard words, we wondered if there was any kind of restoration for such a man. Is there any hope for the Christian man who finds himself entangled in a web of sexual sin? Can he enjoy the former communion he once cherished with the Lord? Is this kind of sin the unpardonable sin?
As we thought deeper about the matter, we were brought (or led, if you like) to consider Samson, a man who was able to furnish us with the answers we sought.
In Samson, we found a man whose life was filled with inconsistencies. Samson was devoted to God, but he was also driven by his lust. On the one hand, he hated the Philistines and had no reservations about killing them. On the other, he couldn’t keep his hands off Philistine women. The book of Judges tells us about three of these women. The first was a woman from Timnah, whom he married. The second was a harlot from Gaza. And the third was Delilah.
In his dealings with each of these women, Samson acted against the commands of the Lord. God forbade intermarriage with pagans (Exodus 33:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:2-3). Samson’s Nazirite vow also required sexual purity (Numbers 6:1-21). But Samson’s lust overpowered his desire to serve and please the Lord. Rather than obey God’s commands, Samson’s lust led him to sin again and again.