With the exception of chapter 12 this is the story of the life of Samson.
Can I give a word of encouragement to parents? This story demonstrates that parents can seek the will of the Lord on behalf of their children. raise them as God directs and those children can still wander. Maybe that is not encouragement to new parents like myself just getting started, but I know many parents live under a banner of guilt and regret, maybe some the regret is truth, but for many there was nothing more they could have done, they asked like Samson’s parents, “What shall we do unto the child that shall be born unto us?”
If only Samson had obeyed God’s divine direction with the same discipline as his parents, but he did not and his great flaw of life was, yes women, but more importantly the types of people he chose to associate with. Maybe the greatest lesson we can teach our kids is who they choose to hang-out with. We should associate with everyone for the sake of witness, but our true “bosom buddies” should be those that help us to grow closer to Jesus.
In the story of Samson and his wife, the young philistine girl, we see the tragic trajectory of sin. First he was hanging out with a crowd that had no desire for God’s will. Next he allowed himself to be drawn to a girl that was not “equally yoked” with him, then he ignored the counsel of his parents.
We also see how pride can lead to great sin. He kills a lion, the Bible tells us that God gave him the strength and power to kill that lion. But later on Samson’s pride leads him back to admire his kill. When he sees it he sees the honey, and he eats the honey out of dead animal which is unclean, and thus he has there broken his Nazarite vow. He then gives some of that unclean honey to his parents, but he doesn’t tell them where it came from thus leading them into a sinful act, though an unknowing one. He then again with his pride decides to show-off by telling a riddle about his triumph. And when his pride leads to a fall rather than just manning up he kills people and eventually gets his own wife and her father burned alive.
Then with Delilah, again the trajectory of sin. He is with a woman he should not be with. She keeps trying to trap him, he thinks he is strong enough to resist her traps and so thought she is bad news, he had to know that he keeps going back to her…she is like a drug. She finally wears him down, how he just gets annoyed and decides to fold thinking he can handle whatever comes.
Probably the saddest line in the entire book…well at least one of the saddest lines,
“But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.” -Judges 16:20
For so long he had been walking with one foot in the world and one foot with God that when he finally put both feet in the world he didn’t even realize that he’d made that transition.
The story ends tragically with Samson killing himself…and yet also with grace…because the Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Hebrews years later to include Samson in the hall of faith. What does this mean? To me it means that though Samson got a lot in life, even his suicide…at the end to the best of his ability as a fallen and broken individual he reached his hand out to God and God said that is enough and through Jesus on the cross, like for so many of us the gap was bridged! The faith of a mustard seed…
Samson’s life is a absolute reminder of this statement from Ellen White in regards to Samson,
“if men (or women) willfully place themselves under the power of temptation, they will fall, sooner or later.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 568
I’ve fallen to willful sin, maybe so have you, if we put ourselves in the seat of temptation we will all eventually fall, but that doesn’t have to be our end, that doesn’t have to be the end of our story or our hope!
If it has already happened in your life don’t be like Samson and repeat that willful mistake over and over again for 20 years.
Ask Jesus for forgiveness and renewed strength and walk forward in the newness of life…maybe with a limp…but still assured of life in Jesus!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalms 21-23