A fully updated edition of Spurgeon’s morning and evening devotional The Interpreter using the ESV.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Year One, July 17

But I Will Not Remove From Him My Steadfast Love1
Judges 16:21-31
21And the Philistines seized [Sampson] and gouged out his eyes (according to the eighth century Bible translation into the Arabic language, they used fire to blind Samson), and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. (The strongest they could find, and the most painful to the wearer). And he ground at the mill in the prison. (The great champion became a slave and was forced to do a job even slaves thought was beneath them. Milton2 describes the fallen hero as saying:
“Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this Heaven-gifted strength. O glorious strength,
Put to the labor of a beast, debased
Lower than bond slave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistine yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves.”)
22But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. (Our gracious God does not throw away his servants. His grace is like the receding tide of the ocean. Just like Samson’s hair, it returns as strong as ever. It is one of the wonders of God that he will not stop loving someone even when that person proves he does not deserve to be loved.)
23Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.” (They blasphemed Jehovah by magnifying Baal. They do, however, teach us a lesson we often forget. That is, to give all the credit for our victories to God.)
25And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” (The poor blind prisoner was now just someone for the lords of the Philistines to laugh at and mock. Eventually, they let him rest a bit, while they refilled their cups and thought about fresh insults to throw at him.) 27Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.
28Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” (How touching is that sweetest of prayers, “Remember me.” Whether it be Samson or the dying thief who uses it, the Lord did remember him.) 29And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.
Milton will again comment for us:
“Those two massive pillars
With horrible convulsion to and fro
He tugged, he shook, till down they came and drew
The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder,
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
Lord, ladies, captains, counselors, or priests,
Their choice nobility and flower, not only
Of this but each Philistine city round.
O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious!
Living or dying you have fulfilled
The work for which you were foretold
To Israel, and now you lie victorious
Among the slain, self-killed
Not willingly, but tangled in the fold
Of dire necessity, whose law in death now joined
You with your slaughtered foes.”
So the Lord God of Israel silenced the boastings of his enemies, as he will do in the last great day.
31Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.
1 Psalm 89:33
2 John Milton (1608 - 1674). Probably best know for his poem Paradise Lost.

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