Christianity 201

July 27, 2021

The Mess of Samson’s Life

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
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Over the years we have frequently featured devotionals from Charles Price, Minister at Large for The Peoples Church in Toronto and this is approximately the 20th time we are doing so over eleven years. (Some additional posts here were simply shorter quotations.) You’re encouraged to click this link if you wish to follow these teachings. Or click the header which directly follows to read today’s devotional at source.

Samson’s Beginning

“Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”   

—Galatians 5:16-17

Before Israel was a monarchy, Israel was a theocracy, meaning, “God ruled.” How did God do that? He placed His Spirit on an individual, anointing them as “judge” over Israel. Samson was one of the judges, but this did not mean he sat with a long wig in a courtroom listening to the errors of people’s ways and sentencing them accordingly. Judges were civic and military leaders of the nation of Israel.

Before his birth, Samson’s mother was told,You will become pregnant and have a son…the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). Samson was set apart by God to be a Nazirite, which was an outwards sign of the inward dependence upon the Spirit of God.

From conception, Samson was equipped by God with the resources of the Spirit of God to deliver Israel from the Philistines. We are told, “He grew and the LORD blessed him, and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him” (Judges 13:24). As we study Samson’s life, we see a recurring phrase, “The Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him” (Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14). In the 20 years that Samson was a judge, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, empowering him with supernatural strength. Yet, a recurring problem Samson had was getting involved with the wrong women.

Samson’s life began to unravel when he succumbed to the desires of his flesh instead of God’s will. As Samson went to check out his enemies, he found that the Philistines were not as bad as he thought. In fact, one of them was very attractive and he told his parents, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife” (Judges 14:2). Samson was going against what the Lord commanded in Deuteronomy 7:3, “Do not intermarry with them.” His parents tried to persuade him otherwise, but Samson was adamant. Even while he was filled with the power of the Spirit, we are confronted with the awful mess of Samson’s life, shaking us to ask, “How did this happen?”

      Paul taught in the New Testament,Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). As Christians, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit when we believe, but that does not mean we will no longer sin or be tempted to sin. May we heed to the words of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”

Prayer: Dear Lord God, thank You for placing Your Spirit in me when I professed faith in You. Continually guide me to walk faithfully in Your ways and Your truth.

Samson’s Downfall

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

—Genesis 4:7

If we had to choose the strongest man in the Bible, we would all say “Samson.” With his bare hands, he tore apart a young lion. How was Samson so strong? Because God chose him and empowered him by His Spirit as a judge of Israel. The symbol of Samson’s strength was his hair, which he was told to never cut, not because there is strength in hair, but because that was a symbol of the Nazirite vow he had taken. But Samson had one major problem—getting involved with the wrong women. Judges 16:4-20 tells us the tragic downfall of Samson.

The Philistine leaders said to Samson’s wife, Delilah, “…lure [Samson] into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him….Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” She agreed and asked Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength…” Samson answered, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bow-strings that have not been dried.” Delilah did that, but Samson easily snapped the strings. She went to Samson saying, “…you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.” Samson replied, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used.” Delilah did that, but Samson broke loose. Again, Delilah said, “Tell me how you can be tied.” Samson said, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin…” But once more, when the Philistines came, Samson pulled free. 

Delilah confronted Samson,How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me?” Then we are told, “With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything….‘If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.’” Delilah let Samson fall asleep on her lap, and while he was sleeping, she shaved his hair. This time, when Delilah yelled, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” Samson thought he could easily break free, but could not. Afterwards, we read the most sobering words in Scripture, “he did not know that the LORD had left him.”

Under the new covenant, the Lord does not leave us in terms of our salvation. But in terms of His power, His presence, His working and the bearing witness of His Spirit with ours, God can become distant. Through Samson’s story, we can learn that the true source of our strength and abilities comes not from ourselves, but from God alone.

Prayer: Dear Lord, what a sobering story about Samson, and how a man who was full of Your Spirit did not realize Your Spirit had departed from him. Humble my mind, remembering that my strength and abilities come from You alone. Thank You, Lord.

Samson’s Undoing

“Then the Philistines seized [Samson], gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding corn in the prison.”

—Judges 16:21

You’re halfway through the series! Click here to continue reading. There is a poignant illustration from a African preacher you won’t forget.

Samson’s Redemption

“Then Samson prayed to the Lord, ‘Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more…’”  

—Judges 16:28

In part four of the series, Charles Price notes that Samson makes into the “gallery of faith” in Hebrews, but that tragically, “You can have saved soul, but a wasted life.”

Click here to read the ending of this four-part devotional.

 

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