There are SO many good verses to learn from in the chapters we are reading today. I would love to quote them all here but instead I will just summarize. Let me put it to you in a bold way: Samson was a slave to his own desires. He strangled wild animals but could not get a grip on his own lust. He burst ropes but was still bound by his entitlement and his sin. He burned the enemy’s crops yet was enflamed with a desire for the wrong kind of company. He was strong, but never fully in control. Samson was his own worst enemy. The suffering of Israel was their own fault due to the fact they ignored God and their hearts continued to be hardened. Did that mean that God didn’t care for them any longer? No. He loved them the same and sent another person with total character deficiency to save Israel once again from THEMSELVES. Think about it…had there been no sin…there would have been no SAVIOR.
Samson had tremendous potential but he used his gifts and abilities unwisely. Every page in these few chapters has me sitting on the edge of my seat! What a powerful message: What should we expect if we keep fraternizing with the enemy??
With God nothing is impossible, and it was by the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Samson that he was both directed to and strengthened for those unusual ways of making war. From the disloyalty of his wife and her father, he took occasion to burn their corn. From the Philistines’ cruelty to his wife and her father, he took occasion to slaughter them. From the treachery of his countrymen, who delivered him bound to the Philistines, he took occasion to kill 1000 of them with the jaw-bone of a donkey. From the distress he was then desperate for water, God showed him favor and gave him water. Do you see the pattern? It’s always someone else’s fault, Right?? Samson was destined for greatness from the time of his creation. HE got in the way of his own destiny. But God still used him. God would keep him from being proud of his great strength and great achievements, and let him know that he was but a man, and liable to the calamities that are common to men even through he was taking all the praise unto himself. Afflictions are often sent to bring unthankful people to God. That’s a thought to ponder.
It seems like Samson could resist anything but temptation. We all have weaknesses but we must flee temptation. We may be drawn to ambition, vanity, revenge, comfort, or greed. Whatever it may be, these substitutes for God can take over and ruin our lives if we let them. We need to recognize that when we choose sin, we are choosing to rebel, to live contrary to the will of God. Either sin controls us, or God controls us. Samson did not finish the job of delivering Israel from Philistine oppression; that was accomplished under the prophet Samuel and King David. We can only speculate on what Samson might have done had he more carefully followed his calling. Will our lives amount to anything? Will we make a difference in the lives of others? Is there hope for us when we go astray? God can bring us back and use us, in spite of our weakness. This is the heart of the Gospel message, a promise of grace, reconciliation and restoration.
To further your reading, and to dive a bit deeper, consider this from Romans 8:3-4 – For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The way of Jesus brings life and peace. I don’t want to be dominated by my flesh which in turn will make other people around me miserable. I want to be dominated by the Spirit of Jesus and allow kind words to ooze from my lips every time I open my mouth. Jesus wants us to rejoice in the middle of our discomfort. He wants us to demonstrate grace, not irritability. He alone can soothe my frustrations and fill me with joy! He was the perfect sacrifice for my flesh and sin!