“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” – Ephesians 4:26-31.
The life of Samson has always made good Hollywood copy, and colorful stories for Sunday School classes. Some see Samson making poor choices in women. Others see a wild man slaying a thousand men with the jawbone of an donkey. Still others imagine a blinded, bitter Samson ending his life in a last fit of vengeance. But when you get by the mystique and fascination of the legend of Samson, you find a man of great physical strength, but also great weakness when it came to controlling his emotions.
Samson’s life includes one stumble after another. He became too friendly and too familiar with the Philistines. He consorted with a prostitute in Gaza, barely escaping a threat to kill him. No sooner had he escaped that threat when he takes up with Delilah. To the human eye, it may have looked as if Samson was veering out of control here, thwarting the work and the will of the Lord. Samson’s actions were certainly in conflict with the revealed will of God. But God had not lost control.
Samson was utterly undisciplined. He could not control his eyes. He could not control his appetite. He could not control his emotions. He could not control his anger. An example starts out as a lark. Samson tells a group of Philistines for fun that he thinks there is no way they will figure out the answer to his riddle, but they outsmarted him. And what began as a contest of wits among friends turned quickly into a serious conflict, partly because Samson’s pride was wounded. He responded in anger as Judges 14:19 tells us what happened.”Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to the town of Ashkelon, killed thirty men, took their belongings, and gave their clothing to the men who had solved his riddle. But Samson was furious about what had happened, and he went back home to live with his father and mother.”
Samson’s wrong choices when he was young led to repeated problems with the same sins throughout his life. Anger and lack of self-control haunted him throughout his life. And Samson’s sinful pride, as well as his violent anger, continued to plague him, though God used Samson in a marvelous way to deliver Israel from the Philistines.
- Would you say that we live in an angry culture? Why or why not?
- According to James 1:19-20, why should we be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath? What does this mean?
- What does Galatians 5:19-25 teach us about the positive side of this issue?
- What can we learn from the anger of Samson to apply to our life?