"Then she cried, 'Samson, the Philistines are here!' When he awoke from his sleep, he said, 'I will escape as I did before and shake myself free.' But he did not know that the Lord had left him. The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles, and he was forced to grind grain in the prison." (Judges 16:20, 21 HCSB)
Erosion--the slow, steady wearing away of a hillside, as rain runs down, cutting a channel, washing the soil away, loosening the rock, until one day the stones begin to slide down, destroying everything in the mudslide. We look at the immediate catastrophe and see it is a sudden thing, when actually it had been a long process, which one day reached critical mass.
That is the way sin works. Samson found that out. This is the erosion of evil.
It didn't happen overnight. In fact, when we are first introduced to Samson, we anticipate great things from such a young man. He was born a special child, with a sacred consecration. He was a "miracle baby" a gift from God to aged parents who had been barren all their marriage. God told them to set Samson apart as a Nazarite. They were told by the Lord that he would deliver the nation from their perennial persecutors--the Philistines. So, a new arrival comes--a bundle of joy with such great potential.
Samson had the Spirit of God resting on him--the power that shaped the mountains, scooped out the oceans and set the sun to shining, pulsed though his rippling muscles. He was the "Terminator," long before Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Samson piled up the victories, even as he piled up Philistine corpses. But, evil was working like erosion--slowly wearing away the moral fiber that was meant to bind his heart to God--the source of his strength. We see the warning signs. He takes honey from an animal's carcass, when a Nazarite was forbidden to touch a dead body. His lust for women is evident. I first heard Bible teacher, Chuck Swindoll, years ago, say of Samson, that he was "a he-man with a she-weakness!" It would be his downfall.
Samson could stare down and stand against an army and conquer, but he wilted as he gazed on the sensuous lips and shapely legs of a pagan beauty, vanquished by lust. He was fearless in responding to a lion's roar, killing the beast with his bare hands, yet was putty in the slender fingers of Delilah, whose melodic voice sang him a lullaby. Rocked to sleep in her lap, he divulges the source of his supernatural strength--and loses it. He is not the first; he would not be the last. Don't let it happen to you!
Perhaps, the saddest part of all, is that Samson doesn't realize that the Lord is no longer with him. Before the Philistines gouge out his eyes, he has already lost his spiritual vision. The pagans shackle him with bronze fetters, but he had already been chained by lust. Samson is put to grinding grain like a beast of burden, but he had already become an animal, unthinking, driven on by the whip of immorality wielded by the soft hands of a harlot--the yoke of sin resting on his thick neck.
His end is bittersweet. Samson cries out to God. That is good. His strength is restored one last time. That is good. He destroys his foes--more in this final chapter than ever in the rest of his story--and that is good. But, he dies in the process. That is sad. It was a pathetic end to such potential residing with a powerful man. For twenty years, Samson judged Israel. What might have been accomplished had he guarded against the erosion of sin?
But, his conscience became callused. The still, small voice of God was drowned out by the noise of the party. His hunger for God was dulled by his delight in the honey of the world. He gave his heart to a harlot and lost his passion for God. It didn't happen all at once. There was the erosion of evil. Suddenly, the roof caved in, the building fell--and what might have been, would never be.
Meanwhile, we may ignore the sound of the gentle rain of compromise falling upon us; take no heed to the washing away around the foundation of integrity--for it is only a trickle. So, it goes. If you don't stop it, and shore up the moral footings of your soul, one day the catastrophic consequences will sweep you away. This is the erosion of evil.