Samson’s Prayer

My Way or God’s Way?

O Sovereign Lord, remember me, O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes. Judges 16:28

If the Tribe of Dan Regional High School had published a yearbook, Samson would’ve certainly been the Athlete of the Year. Can you imagine his dominance as an outside linebacker? The newspapers would’ve been filled with projections about his prospects as a hall-of-fame professional athlete. His endorsement contracts would’ve outnumbered LeBron James and Tom Brady’s, combined.

And yet all that potential landed Samson right where it lands so many others with phenomenal talent—disfigured and despairing, shackled in chains they have forged on the anvil of their egos.

Why did God answer Samson’s prayer?

I don’t have superhuman strength, but I do have the potential for overinflated self-sufficiency. Anytime I think, “I can handle this by myself,” I’m taking the Samson-sanctioned path to trouble.

But on the day Samson died, he prayed, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me.” In humility, he acknowledged God alone was Ruler of all creation, including himself. When Samson said, “remember me,” he was asking for mercy: “God, be mindful of the promises you made at my birth and who you designed me to be. Allow me to be your instrument one last time.”

In his final prayer, however, we also detect a trace of his lifelong struggle with self. Samson asked for “revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes” rather than praying that God’s honor would be vindicated by the destruction of Israel’s enemies. Nevertheless, God apparently perceived genuine repentance in Samson’s heart because he restored the champion’s strength and answered his prayer.

As Samson was, so are we all—flawed instruments, scarred by sin and marred by weaknesses. Yet when we cry out in humble repentance, God hears us. He loves us. And he can use us for his glory, no matter how blemished we are.

Evangelist Cyrus Nusbaum wrote “His Way with Thee” over 100 years ago. If we are wise, we’ll learn from Samson’s mistakes and allow our Sovereign Lord to “have his way” with us:

His power can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
’Twas best for him to have his way with thee.

DIG DEEPER:

Read Psalm 66:18–20. What do these verses teach us about prayer? In what ways can they encourage those of us who have failed God repeatedly?

In Hebrews 11:32, Samson is associated with some stellar company. What did these men accomplish according to verses 33–34? Why do you think God included Samson in the list?

Read 1 Corinthians 4:1–2 and 1 Corinthians 9:24–27. What connections do you see between these warnings and Samson’s life? Are you more like Paul or Samson?

To read all of Nusbaum’s lyrics go to http://nethymnal.org/htm/h/i/hiswaywt.htm.

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