SAMSON! That name brings different visions to different people. Books have been written about him. Movies have been made about Samson and Delilah. Samson was a long haired strong man able to kill a thousand enemies with the jawbone of an “ass” and yet he had a moral weakness that would eventually lead to his death. Samson was a special child born to special people with a special purpose in life yet he was a person who failed to follow his parents’ advice or God’s directed moral code for his life. Sunday school kids have thrilled at stories about his strength but yet often have missed the real lessons of his life. You can read all about his life in Judges chapters 13-16 and draw your own conclusions.
I think there are some real parallels to be made between Samson and the followers of Christ in our generation that can be of value to us and I will assume you have read the mentioned bible passage and know the story of Samson well. Samson was called to a holy life even before birth as his mother reported, “but he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazirite unto God from the womb to the day of his death” (Judges 13:7 ASV). God has also called us as Christians to a lifetime of holy living, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV). Samson lost sight of his true calling to be holy and seemed to think that the real measure of his manhood was in his physical appearance and strength. After all he could kill a lion with his bare hands, and slay thirty men just to get pieces of clothing to pay a debt, he could catch 300 foxes and tie their tails together and set them on fire and destroy fields of crops, and he could kill a 1000 men with the jaw bone of an “ass.” But Samson was mistaken about the values of life. Holiness is more valuable than physical strength on any given day because God will allow us to do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).
Samson, though called by God to holiness, was a man who failed in many areas. He was a sexually immoral man who also violated his Nazirite vows in multiple ways and yet God used Samson in numerous ways to accomplish God’s will such as in dealing with the Philistines,” And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years,” (Judges 15:20 ASV). When Samson’s sins finally brought an end to his life through his betrayal by Delilah God used him in one final act of judgment upon the Philistines. After being captured and forced to serve as a slave turning a millstone like an animal God revived Samson’s strength and allowed him vengeance on his enemies. When he was brought before them in the temple area to be mocked the bible records the event this way, “And Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines.’ And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead that he slew at his death were more than they that he slew in his life,” (Judges 16:30 ASV). Sin does have consequences and though God desires we live a life of holiness we are free to choose for ourselves how we will live but we also must live with the consequences of our choices. Sometimes God in His grace will use even sinful actions by people to do His will but we must not presume on how God will respond to one’s sinful actions. It is much better to follow the path of holiness that God desires for us, to be holy because He is holy.