By Faith We Triumph Over Mistakes

           1 Timothy 6:10-11 reads, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”  Children of God can easily focus on the fact that verse 10 mentions the love of money. The apostle Paul is correct here, coveting money will lead to other undesirable pains. While the example used in this verse is money, we can be led down an undesirable rabbit hole–especially of other sins–anytime we shift our focus from God.

            A story from the Old Testament that exemplifies wandering away from God is the life of Samson. Samson at first has his whole heart set on the Lord. This could be why his first wife surprised his parents, she wasn’t an Israelite. Judges 14:4 says, “His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.” Due to his first wife, Samson was able to seek revenge on the Philistines 4 times (Judges 14:10-20, 15:1-6, 15:7-8, and 15:9-17). By the end of Judges 15, Samson no longer had a wife and he had killed over a thousand Philistines. Judges 15:20 then says, “And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.”

            Judges 16 of the Bible begins with Samson going to Gaza. We aren’t told why, but we do know he spent a night with a prostitute and–in a miraculous way–left the city before the Gazanites could capture and kill him. He then met Delilah, a woman he loved (Judges 16:4). All three of the women Samson knew intimately were Philistines, but only his first wife is mentioned to have been for a righteous reason. We also know that Samson could be swayed by women to disobey God’s rules and his own. With his first wife, he relented the answer to his riddle with the Philistines because she pleaded strongly. Then with Delilah, he relented the secret of his God-given strength and was even vexed to the point of death by her pestering.  Delilah when they pressed him hard. Samson’s weakness for women–especially ungodly women–led to his demise. After Delilah was tempted with money from the Philistines to find the source of Samson’s strength, Judges 16:16 says, “And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death.” He then told her that cutting his hair would drain him of his strength.

Samson faced humiliation and cruelty after being captured by the Philistines. His lust for foreign women sent him down a path he probably never thought could or would be possible. How does someone move on from the self-pity, doubts, and other strong emotions they are facing after mistakes? Even if a person might have moments where they forget the Lord, He always has us in mind. While Samson was in prison, his hair grew back and the Lord graced him with one final act of revenge against the Philistines (Judges 16:23-31). Hebrews 11:32 also regards Samson as a man who had faith. Did Samson make mistakes? Yes. But, he accepted the responsibility of them and turned to the Lord. Psalm 103:10-11 reads, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”