It is sad to lose something we value … Our health. Our relationships. Our financial employment. Our possessions. Our house. Our ability to be with others.
But there is one loss that is greater than all the rest: The loss of God’s presence. If you have Him, you have all that matters and lasts, for everything flows from the presence of the Lord.
But if you do that which aborts the presence of God, you will lose the Source of everything valuable and secure in this life and the next.
Samson’s Unnoticed Loss
Samson was chosen and gifted by God to deliver the nation of Israel from her oppressors. He was endowed by God with supernatural strength to do his task.
But the fault lines in his life were unbroken pride and unbridled passion. He thought he could play with sin and it wouldn’t affect him. And his sin of choice was moral impurity.
It got him into trouble repeatedly, but his last failure was the worst. He compromised with a Philistine named Delilah, telling her the truth of where his great strength originated as she repeatedly pressed him.
This strength was a gift from God, made possible by God’s presence in his life. It was given to Samson so that he might fulfill his calling to lead the nation and bring deliverance to God’s people.
But Samson never quite understood this. He was consumed with his own selfish desires. And it finally brought God’s greatest judgment.
[Delilah] said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him (Judges 16:20 NASB).
He expected God’s power and blessing as at other times, but it had evaporated in light of his repeated sin.
Our Most Tragic Loss
While we are in a different age today, and the Lord (once received) never leaves us, we can still suffer a similar loss, even as followers of Christ. We can choose to push Christ off the throne of our lives and do as our flesh desires. But if we do, we will lose the immediacy of His presence and power.
Pride makes us think we can sin and it doesn’t matter. But this is a fatal assumption. Sin always matters to God. Rebellion always has consequences.
We can turn from Him as individuals, a family, a church, a nation. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). God will not tarry where He is not wanted; and His greatest judgment on rebellious people is to depart, leaving them to their own devices.
There is but one remedy to our pride, written in James 4 as an admonition to the church:
“God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God.… Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:6-8).
Samson’s great mistake was believing he was an exception to the rule. But he was not, and neither are we.
God graciously longs to draw near, but we must humbly, repentantly draw near to Him. And we must do it now.
Holy God, forgive me for thinking I can live without You. Restore desperation to my soul, and brokenness over my sin and the loss of Your presence. Make me long for You and You alone as my greatest treasure. Help me do whatever is necessary to gain the return of Your recognizable presence and power in my life. And do this same work in my family, my church, and our nation, so that our lives may once again glorify the One who made us and bought us back at the cost of His own Son.