Samson—after he slept in the lap of harlotry—and “wist not that the Lord was departed from him” (Judges 16:20 KJV), roused himself too late. The Philistines (literally meaning “those who roll in the dust,” thus representing those that wallow in their flesh) gouged out Samson’s eyes, bound him with bronze chains, and made him grind out grain in the prison-house. Being overcome by flesh ultimately BLINDS US, BINDS US, AND GRINDS US, and in such a way that it happens almost imperceptibly right beneath our noses and certainly before our eyes (are removed from their sockets).
The “deceitfulness of sin” apostatizes us in deepening layers of callousness until our tender conscience turns to stone. In this astonished state (silent and unmoved as stone) one misses not only the near imperceptible still small voice of God speaking to them inside their conscience, but they also miss the significance of God’s creation being disturbed by the mere nearness of its Creator passing by (though God is not IN the storm-winds, earthquakes, and fires, they are still indicators of His power and omnipresence).
As a chain of causation, beginning with the fact that “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23 NASB), and thereby linking unfaithfulness (harlotry) to blindness (Harlotry...take[s] away the understanding”—Hosea 4:11 NASB), we see Samson regressing in sequential order from spiritual blindness to enslavement to oppressive and hopeless labor benefitting only the flesh. SIN BLINDS, BINDS AND GRINDS us until there remains only SENSELESS, HOPELESS AND FRUITLESS existence.
Spiritual blindness makes life senseless; “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). And that which is senseless leads to hopelessness. The chains or fetters that bound Samson were made of bronze/brass, the metal that represents judgment. It is one of the metals that God calls the dross of silver (and silver symbolically represents redemption). “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross (metallic waste) to Me. All of them are (useless) BRONZE [emphasis mine], tin, iron, and lead in the furnace; they are the dross of silver” (Ezekiel 22:18 AMP). Abraham’s faith, described as “hope against hope”—Romans 4:18 AMP—came forth from the fire as the pure silver of redemption, and Job declared that after God “hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold”—Job 23:10 KJV; but the dross of silver is hope against hope failing in the furnace of affliction. Fruitless labor is not only blind and hopeless, but exceedingly monotonous and endless; in the end, the fruitless labor of operating in the flesh will grind us to powder. As T. Austin Sparks said (quoting someone else I believe),
“The mills of God grind slowly,
But they grind exceedingly small:
Though with patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all.”
“Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher. ‘Vanity of vanities! All [that is done without God’s guidance] is vanity [futile, meaningless—a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes, merely chasing the wind].’ What advantage does man have from all his work which he does under the sun (while earthbound)?”; “Whatever exists has already been named [long ago], and it is known what [a frail being] man is; for he cannot dispute with Him who is mightier than he. For there are many other words that increase futility. What then is the advantage for a man? For who [limited by human wisdom] knows what is good for man during his lifetime, during the few days of his futile life? He spends them like a shadow [staying busy, but achieving nothing of lasting value]. For who can tell a man what will happen after him [to his work, his treasure, and his plans] under the sun [after his life is over]?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3; 6:10-12 AMP).
“Is it not indeed from the Lord of hosts that peoples labor [only] for the fire [that will destroy their work], and nations grow weary for nothing [that is, things which have no lasting value]?” (Habakkuk 2:13 AMP). Indeed, SIN BLINDS, BINDS AND GRINDS us to mere chaff for the summer threshing floor! The natural life tends only to futility.
“BUT [the time is coming when] the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14 AMP).