The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Judges 13:24-25 (NIV)
Read: Judges 13:1-25
Consider: Samson’s life started so well. His mother (unnamed in the Bible) was barren and we are told that God was gracious to her, indicating that she would become pregnant and give birth to a son (Judges 13:2-3). The boy was to be set side as a Nazirite, dedicated to God. This meant that throughout his life he was not to have his hair cut, nor was he to drink or eat anything coming from grapevines (Numbers 6:4-5). God had a plan for Samson’s life which was: He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines (13:5). We know little about Samson’s father, Manoah, as he is only mentioned in Judges 13 and 16. Both Samson’s parents took their responsibilities seriously and sought to bring their son up correctly. It is encouraging that we are told: ‘He [Samson] grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him …’ (Judges 13:24-25a). All would seem to be well! However, we only have to turn to Judges 14 to read: Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, ‘I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife’ (Judges 14:1-2).
We know from Judges 16 that Samson valued the desires of the flesh and that this led to his downfall. His head was shaved, thereby losing his strength, and he was captured by the Philistines and blinded (Judges 16:21). We also read: But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved (16:22). This is a real cliffhanger, as we know that once his hair would grow again, his strength would return.
What does the story of Samson teach us? Firstly, that like Samson we are each created for a higher purpose. Samson was chosen by God even before he was born and so are we. Secondly, we all need God’s strength to fulfil our calling. Thirdly, when you seek to fulfil God’s calling you will face opposition from the world and even sometimes from those whom you least expect it from. But what about Samson’s weakness for worldly pleasures? While this does not seem to have discounted him from being used powerfully by God, it is something we need to guard against in our own lives. The warning is clear in Samson’s story that when we give in to weaknesses of the flesh, it leaves us open to our spiritual welfare being adversely affected.
Would I have chosen someone like Samson to do God’s work? Probably not, but I am not God. God chose him despite his weaknesses and was still able to use him powerfully in achieving his purposes. In highlighting pillars of faith in action, the writer of Hebrews wrote: And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised, who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge off the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies (Hebrews 11:32-34). Notice the words: ‘… whose weakness was turned to strength …’ (11:34). If God could use Samson with his weakness, he can you and me with our weaknesses.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25).
Pray: Father, we see clear warnings in the life of Samson not to give in to the temptations of the flesh. May we each receive strength to fulfil your God-given purpose in our lives. Amen
© 2022 nocondemnation.com