January 13 - Samson

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 13 - Samson 

“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years” (Judges 13:1).

Sound familiar?  We can judge the Israelites all we want, but the reality of the situation is that we are just as guilty of doing our own thing and rebelling against God as they ever were.  Fortunately for us, the records of our wrongdoings aren’t captured for posterity.  And as well, fortunately for us as it was for them, God places people into our lives to get us over the bumps and draw us closer to Him again.

A man named Manoah and his wife were childless.  The Lord told her that she would bear a child, but they needed to raise the boy as a Nazirite, set apart for God from the day he was born.  His hair could never be cut, he could drink no alcoholic beverage or eat anything unclean. 

Samson was born, raised for the Lord and then fell in love with a Philistine woman. She was no good for him, but they got married anyway and before long was given to a friend of Samson’s who had attended him at their wedding. Samson was furious and went after the Philistines of her village with a vengeance.  When leaders asked what had happened and found out, they burned her (this was not a good place to live).  That made things worse and Samson slaughtered many Philistines.

After several encounters with the Philistines, Samson became the leader of the Israelites for twenty years.

Judges 16 opens with: “One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her.”

This can’t be a good way to begin a story.  The Philistines attempted to capture and kill him, but his strength allowed him to escape.  When he met Delilah, he fell in love again.  Obviously, for this man of God, women were his downfall.  The Philistine leaders figured out that Samson had no control when it came to women he loved and asked Delilah to discover the secret of his strength. He tricked her, but she nagged him until he finally told her that his hair had never been cut.

He had seven braids (Judges 16:19) and falling asleep with his head in her lap, she called a man to shave his head.  The Lord left him … his Nazirite vow had been broken.

The Philistines shackled him and gouged out his eyes, setting him in prison.  When he was brought out for entertainment, he prayed one last time for God’s power and with all his might, he pulled down the temple on the rulers, the people and himself.

His life was over as was his rule.

Samson was a man with a mighty mission. He had been committed to the Lord since before he was born … before he was even conceived. But, his life was filled with struggle and torment.  It was never easy. He loved the wrong women and made terrible mistakes in trusting those who never deserved his trust.  When his eyes were set on the Lord, He was a mighty warrior.  When his eyes were set on his own needs, he was destroyed.