I noticed something interesting in the story of Samson. After the gory massacre of a thousand Philistines with the discarded jawbone of a donkey, Samson was dehydrated and very possibly on the verge of a heat stroke. After all, this amazing event took place during the time of harvest, so it was late summer with the accompanying heat that marks that season.
The way the story unfolded is racked with both brutality and humor. Bound by new ropes, Samson was handed over to the rage filled Philistines. They were fully determined to kill him in a slow and painful way, thus ridding themselves of the pesky Israelite who dared to test their dominance over God’s people.
Suddenly, the ropes binding Samson fell apart. We like to depict Samson in a Herculean pose, snapping the ropes like a carnival strongman. In reality, the scripture reveals to us the fact that the ropes became something akin to ash and fell from his arms. Whatever the method, God set free His bound servant and things went downhill quickly for the enemies of the Lord of Heaven. Grabbing a discarded jawbone of a donkey, Samson began what had to be an afternoon of slaughter. Regardless of the coupling of anointing with your prowess, it takes a long time to slaughter a thousand men with a discarded jawbone. The gory trial was long and exhausting for the Judge with clay feet, and when all was done, he lay alongside his fallen enemies, struggling for life. I have no doubt Samson was suffering from heat exhaustion and possibly on the verge of a heat stroke. Anointing aside, he was flesh and bone, and human bodies will sustain only so much exertion and will then tell us we have gone too far. Unfortunately, those reminders, at times, will leave us with permanent marks reminding us for the rest of our lives that we went one step too far.
I cannot pass this by without pointing to one of my favorite observations in the entirety of scripture. Don’t you think it possible if you had watched nine hundred plus of your buddies fall in battle to an obviously enraged and supernatural foe, you would have caught on and not become casualty number nine hundred eighty-six? I assure you, I would not have been number one thousand, standing there and observing nine hundred ninety-nine of my comrades fling themselves into the meatgrinder named Samson and thought, “maybe he is worn out by now, I think I can take him!” Ah, the absurdity of man when attacking the God who made him and before whom he will one day stand. We never seem to learn!
Still, when all was said and done, Samson was near death. Life, the battle, his own passions, had created a perfect storm and he was exhausted. We get that way. We struggle with our hidden battles, those things we never reveal to others. We grapple with the attack of the enemy in our lives. Some war with physical ailments. Others fight an ongoing battle with family issues. Still others wage constant conflict with finances. The list of arenas of conflict is massive and it seems, at times, we are engaged simultaneously in a large number of conflicts. This constant struggle can, at times, leave us like Samson, engaged in the fight, even witnessing victory, but worn out. I love the way the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, spoke of this moment in his sermon, The Fainting Hero. “You can look upon heaps of defeated enemies, heaps of your sins, heaps of your doubts and fears, temptations, sorrows. Yet despite all these victories, fresh challenges will come, even as deadly thirst came to Samson.”
It was at that moment of dire need that Samson cried out to God (Judges 15:18). Amazingly, this is the first time we see Samson talk to God. Perhaps he had, in days gone by, cried out. All we know is that this is the first time the Holy Spirit had someone record his prayer. It is also in this instance that we witness the greatness of our God toward His people. Samson, far from perfect, covered with blood and brain matter, cried out to God, and was heard. Suddenly, from nowhere, water erupted from a hollow spot in a rock and the man was refreshed. Is that not like our God? We come to Him, covered with the residue of the battle, desperate for His strength, and He brings from the most unusual place the means of strength we need! Never forget your God can use a less-than-perfect man like Samson, a discarded jawbone of a donkey, and a bone-dry, pun intended, slab of rock to accomplish His purposes. If you are weary today, even if you have brought some of the weariness upon yourself, cry out to the One who hears us (Psalm 65:2).
Samson did just that and water came from a rock. In fact, he named the spring “En Hakkore” (Judges 15:19). That name means “Spring of the Caller.” Samson called and God answered with a spring from a rock. He’s listening to you today and has exactly what you need hidden away. Your call to Him will open His blessing from places you cannot understand. Do not struggle alone. Call on the One who knows how to deposit in your life the power to not only overcome what you confront today; He is prepared to give you what you need for future battles.