Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in to her.…
I. THE FALL OF A GREAT MAN.
1. The whence and the whither of the fall.
(1) From special connection with God.
(2) Into the hands of his enemies.
(a) "They put out his eyes." When a man falls from God, he sinks into darkness; he is like a planet cut off from its centre, rolling in a starless, moonless midnight. Hell is "outer darkness."(b) "They bound him in fetters of brass." Emblem of the fettering power of sin. Evil prejudices and habits — how they manacle the limbs of the soul!
(c) "He did grind in the prison house." The little liberty of limb he had was only allowed that he might feel his bondage more. Servants of sin are slaves of the devil. The corn the sinner grinds is not for himself.
2. The wherefore and the how of this man's fall.
(1) The cause was in himself. He did it, and did it freely. The devil himself cannot push a man down against his will.
(2) His fall was very gradual, and even imperceptible to himself. He had been pampering his appetite, and gratifying his animal desires; and thus gradually sliding away from the virtuous and the true, he lost his power before he was aware of it. Remember that the losing of Divine power is a gradual and an imperceptible process. No outward event will announce its loss; no great convulsion within will signify it. He will only know it when the time comes that he requires it; when, like Samson, he is reduced to an emergency, requires Divine power, makes an effort, and finds it is gone.
II. THE RISE OF A GREAT MAN.
1. The demonstrations of his recovered strength.
(1) Miraculous achievement.
(2) Self-sacrificing heroism.
2. The means of his recovered power.
(1) Practical obedience. He who does the will, gets the power of God.
(2) Earnest prayer.Lessons:
1. A solemn warning to men of signal ability. There are many intellectual giants every day being stripped of their power, and lying eyeless and crippled in the dungeon.
2. A special encouragement to great men who have fallen.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.