Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”
In most of Samson’s life it seemed that he was angry with the Philistines; and he killed many of them with his own hands. Here we see that Samson wanted revenge one last time. As he stood, helpless in front of the Philistine crowds, with his eyes gouged out and with depleted strength, he could do nothing but pray. He wanted so much to destroy them instantly for what they had done to him, but he felt so helpless—he couldn’t see, and his strength was gone.
Then he thought, perhaps God will strengthen me this one last time. So he prayed, “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”
“And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life (vv. 29-30).
What a story! But what should we make of his prayer? Samson prayed for strength that he would be able to kill them all—out of personal revenge! Why did God answer that prayer? For God tells us in James 4:3 that we must not ask for anything with wrong motives; and certainly it was wrong to want revenge (Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:17).
Well, all we can say is that God seems to have overlooked his sin of wanting revenge and focuses instead on his courage and faith, and his loyalty to his country and his God. And we see his faith demonstrated as he prayed for strength, and also as he counted on God to answer his prayer; for he pushed on the pillars “with all his might,” fully expecting that the house would come down.
We may also get from this passage that God works His ways through sinful people. Samson was certainly sinful, and so are we. Hence, just as God used sinful Samson and heard his prayer, He may likewise choose to answer your prayer and use you for His purposes in spite of your sin.