If Samson was alive today, he would be telling people who love to live on the fast lane, “been there, done that”. Samson lived his life breaking every rule in the book. He was chosen by God to rule Israel, yet lived carelessly and did things that were clearly in contrast to God’s laws. He relied on his superhuman strength which was given to him by the same God that he took for granted.
Chapter 16 of the book of judges starts with Samson going to Gaza which is clearly an enemy territory. While he was there, he saw a prostitute and spent the night with her. News soon went round that Samson was there and an ambush was laid for him with the anticipation of taking him out in the morning. Unfortunately for them, Samson got up in the middle of the night, tore the city gate out of its hinges and carried it away. A city without a gate is defenceless and at that point, the people were concerned more about replacing the gate than follow him.
After losing out on what I would call his first love, one would have thought Samson would have learnt from his past mistakes and take care before venturing into a new romantic relationship. His first choice clearly revealed that he was a very poor judge of character.
Not long afterwards, he fell in love with another woman named Delilah. While Samson was head over heels in love with this woman, her loyalty was to the Philistines who had offered her a bribe to figure out the source of Samson’s strength.
Delilah dug into her seductive skills to get this secret out of Samson and eventually succeeded. Samson was subsequently overpowered and taken captive by the Philistines. What a celebration it was! This was a man who had been a thorn in their flesh for 20 years, now they had him!
While they celebrated, I wondered what must have been going through Samson’s mind. I am sure he must have gone over how he had lived his life. A Champion had become a slave, a judge was now a prisoner; for Samson, the life that he knew was now over.
Like Samson, we as Christians take our liberty for license in varying degrees. We take the forgiveness of sins for granted. We willfully and carelessly live our lives, relying on the forgiveness and mercy of God. It is common to hear the saying, ‘God understands’. I agree God understands our weaknesses but I believe He has provided all that we need to stand against temptation. This belief is drawn from scripture, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” ( 1Cor 10:13)
I have heard Christians in dispute angrily retort, ‘Leave God out of this!’ What they do not realise is that when we leave God out of anything, we are making ourselves vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. This was the same problem Samson had. He took his strength for granted. He assumed that every time the enemy attacked, He would always overcome them.
In his disgraced and humble state, Samson began to find his way back to God. Without the Philistines realising it, His hair began to grow and with it, his strength. Samson could have waited for his hair to grow longer and then break free of his bonds but he didn’t. He realised the purpose for which God had chosen him. He was no longer willing to continue the life he had lived. He was willing and ready to die. he however prayed to God for one more burst of power to take down the Philistines. The opportunity presented itself when the Philistines decided to hold a celebration to their god Dagon for delivering Samson into their hands.
Did Dagon orchestrate Samson’s capture by the Philistines? No, Samson handed himself over through his actions. As Christians, sometimes we make choices that result in negative consequences. In many cases, instead of repenting of our sins, we instead fast and pray for those problems to go away without giving a thought as to how we may have contributed to that problem.
The first time a prayer was recorded from Samson was in Verse 28 of Chapter 16. “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.’”.
This was not the same Samson who told his parents, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” (Judges 14:3b) or the one who boasted, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.’ ( Judges 15:16)
Samson for the first time acknowledged that his strength came from the Lord. It was therefore no wonder that as a he pushed the pillars of the temple and the building came crashing down on everyone, Samson killed more persons at his death than when he lived.
I don’t know how far gone you think you have gone, God is not finished with you yet. He never left, you were the one who did. God does not necessarily save us from the consequences of our choices but even when we are down, He is always there to pick us up.
The story of Samson teaches us about the dangers of taking God’s grace and gift for granted. Let us learn from it and appreciate all that God has given us and use it to bring glory to His name and blessings to His people.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader as well as Home Group Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org