Last time we learned how God worked in the life of Samson, a young man with some problems that God used to be a warrior leader of Israel. Samson is arrogant, strong, has a temper, and a fighter which certainly would not be the qualities we would look for in a leader today, but when God chooses leaders they meet His criteria and not our own. Let’s see what happened after he killed all those men with the jawbone of a donkey.
Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi. Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines. Judges 15:18-20, (New International Version or NIV).
Samson leads the nation of Israel for twenty years, and because the Philistines were so difficult to get alone with God used this strong man to lead Israel. But Samson has some flaws that his enemies wanted to use to their advantage. Samson loved beautiful women.
One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.” But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.
Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.” Judges 16:1-6, (NIV).
Samson is the leader of the nation of Israel and yet he can’t keep his pants zipped. Oh how this love of beautiful women is going to get him into trouble. There are many men today that have fallen into the trap of a woman who can probably identify with Samson. It seems the more powerful a man becomes the more he thinks he can have whatever he wants. This is a sad fact that hasn’t changed much. It is also a warning to all of us to guard our hearts and not follow Samson’s lead because Proverbs tells us plainly what happens to men who go down this path (Proverbs 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9).
My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. Proverbs 5:1-5, (NIV).
I don’t know about you but I find it rather confusing that God uses such a flawed man to lead His people. I want a good honest character that is married and loves his wife and would never look at another woman let alone sleep with her. I want to rewrite this story, but my kind of guy isn’t the one God used, God used Samson, the man who had many problems. I guess I should feel good about this because it reminds me that God can also use me, a woman with many problems, and God can use you with all of your problems as well. Wow! What an eye-opener. So what happens to Samson?
Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. Judges 16:15-22, (NIV).
Samson, you remind me of so many men who were trapped in their own desires and it came back to bite them. Now you are without your hair and your strength. Worse yet, the Lord had left him. That is what happens to so many people who think that they can live life the way that they want to, that tell God they are in charge rather than Him after years of enjoying the blessings of God in their life. This is what happens to narcissistic people who begin to believe that they did everything themselves and don’t give God credit for His blessings on their life. Samson is doomed, or is he? The joy of this story about Samson’s life is that once he realized what mistakes he had made and how his way of living was wrong he repents, sort of, and God allows him one last request.
Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.” When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.” While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. Judges 16:23-30, (NIV).
Blind and in chains Samson is no longer the handsome man he once was, but he is most definitely wiser. He finally acknowledges God and asks for one more chance, just one. God gives Samson that chance and this should bring hope to all of us. We have people in our past that have made major mistakes and as long as they breathe we need to keep praying that God give them one more chance to repent and acknowledge all God has done in their life. Oh we all know that God has to strip away all that narcissism and pride and arrogance, and only God can do this, and so we wait patiently for the Lord to act and we continue to pray for that one last chance of repentance. Or perhaps we are the person who someone else is praying for that needs to repent, you have a chance today to do so. Samson had one last chance and God allowed him to die taking out all of his enemies. This is a story of hope for our lost ones and I hope you will be encouraged by the life and death of Samson.