“Lord, Eternal One, remember me” (Judges 16:28, The Voice).
I was reading a very familiar passage about Samson and Delilah when I saw something I had never seen before. It almost literally jumped out of the page.
The story may or may not be familiar. Samson was a Nazirite and a Judge over the people of Israel. Basically, a Nazirite was someone dedicated to God from birth who had certain restrictions, like no alcohol, no haircuts, no touching dead bodies. As a judge, he essentially ruled over the Israelites. He had extraordinary strength and could not be bound by any ropes or chains.
Most of the time, he was ruled by his appetites. He saw what he liked and went after it, no matter what the consequences. Even though God said for His people to have nothing to do with the Philistines, Samson continually wooed their women and spent time in their cities.
Then Delilah showed up. She agreed to betray Samson into the hands of the Philistine rulers for a hefty sum, or a king’s ransom, you might say. Of course, Samson fell in love with her.
She asked three times how he could be bound. Three times he fibbed. You would have thought he’d catch on to her motives but apparently his love blinded him to her wiles.
Finally, she nagged him to the point where he gave in. You can probably figure out that she got her reward and Samson got captured. He ended up with his eyes gouged out, working at the grindstone as a slave, reduced to a joke.
Samson’s very last actions were his best ones. The Philistines brought him out to taunt and mock him in a celebration to their god, Dagon. He ended up between the two main pillars of the temple. He prayed one last prayer for strength and pushed out the pillars, toppling the temple and killing everyone inside, himself included.
I’d never paid much attention to his last prayer. “Remember me.” Suddenly, it dawned on me. I remembered someone else in the Bible whose last words were the same. It was the thief on the cross next to Jesus who said, “Remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”
Such a beautiful prayer that says so much in so few words. It’s not so much that God has forgotten who we are but that we’ve forgotten who He is.
It’s a declaration of dependence, an acknowledgement of great need. It says to God, “I’m unworthy to ask but still I know you are a gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love. Come to my aid and save me.”
The Bible is still living and active. God still speaks through His word to those with ears to hear. Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.