“How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.” – Hebrews 11: 32-34.
Ask someone who was the strongest man in the Bible and the likely answer will be “Samson.” And why not. After all, I can’t see a 98 pound weakling killing 1,000 men in hand-to-hand combat armed with only the jawbone of a donkey, A weak person could not rip a lion’s jaws apart with his bare hands. Samson was strong and weak at the same time.
Samson was to be “dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth” (Judges 13:5), yet he continually broke his vow. The Spirit of God came upon him many times, giving him great strength to fight the Philistines. But at the same time Samson had the flaws and folly of a womanizer, a man who sought vengeance, a man with little self-control and a man that constantly took steps away from God. Samson’s life illustrates that giving into temptation leads to sin, and that God will not let us escape the consequences of our sin.
We can also see how God will use even a sinful man to enact His will. Samson willingly went into situations that led to sin, but each time, God used him for His glory. God created Samson “to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” (Judges 13:5). Despite Samson’s sin, God’s will would not be thwarted.
Even though God’s will is unstoppable, Samson still experienced the consequences for his sin. When he met Delilah and she begged to know the secret of his strength, and he finally told her. “When she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him.” (Judges 16:20). He had gained confidence from previous violations which appeared to have gone unpunished, but his continual willful disobedience had reached an end and he had to face the consequences of his actions.
The lessons we can learn from Samson’s life are that if we willingly and repeatedly walk into temptations which lead to sin, we will suffer the consequences of our disobedience even though God still uses us to accomplish His will. In the end, Samson understood the true source of his strength, but he never understood his true purpose. God’s will was done, but the many blessings Samson might have seen were never realized.
Samson made mistakes. However, he did eventually yield to God’s great purpose for his life and finished his life praying for God’s help to accomplish it. We can learn from both his mistakes and from what he did right.
- What is the one thing that sticks out to you from the Samson series?
- What thing in your life would you change after hearing this series?
- What does this series teach you about God’s providence?
- What can you do this week to push down the pillars in your life that are inhibiting the work of God? “