Samson lived during the time of the judges. God raised up Samson and gave him great power in order to deliver his people from the Philistines. On one occasion he killed 30 Philistines to settle a bet. On another occasion he caught 300 foxes, attached torches to their tails and used them to set the Philistine fields on fire. And then there was the time when he killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.
Samson was given some specific instructions from the Lord. Don’t touch anything dead. Don’t drink alcohol. Don’t cut your hair. But in the midst of his success, he forgot these things. One by one Samson abandoned these instructions and looked to himself. Finally his hair is cut – and his strength is gone.
Spurgeon suggested that the church’s prayer is like Samson’s hair. Prayer is the symbol of our dependence upon God. God empowers his people as they look to him. But when the church ceases to pray, her power is gone. Spurgeon told his congregation,
“The prayer meeting is an institution which ought to be very precious to us, and to be cherished very much by us as a Church, for to it we owe everything…It is in the spirit of prayer that our strength lies; and if we lose this, the locks will be shorn from Samson, and the Church of God will become weak as water….”
We have just experienced a remarkable year in which God has blessed us in a number of ways. And when we experience success and prosperity, there is a tendency to think that we have arrived there by our own effort. And we see little need for prayer. Samson provides a cautionary tale. And as a church we must prioritize prayer and humbly rehearse our dependence upon God.
Photo credit: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:064.The_Death_of_Samson.jpg