Samson Made Good Choices and God Used Him Mightily
Other Judges had led armies to victory, but God chose to use Samson as a single-handed champion. Samson was similar to the Apostle Peter in that he had so much success and failure. Many of us can identify with both of them—they both had so much potential, yet showed their sinful nature. Samson’s story is told in Judges 13-16.
Samson was dedicated to the Lord’s service at his birth. God used him to destroy many Philistines. When we consider Samson’s entire life, we find he was weak spiritually though strong physically. Ultimately he lost his strength when his Nazarite vow was broken. But God restored his strength when he turned back to God in faith. Here is a recap of his major successes:
(1) Slaying the lion (14:5-6) ~ “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him.”
(2) Slaying the 30 Philistines at Askelon (14:19) ~ We read a second time, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him.”
(3) Sending the 300 foxes among the corn (15:4) to destroy the crops with fire ~ It was harvest time (15:1) and the fields were dry.
(4) The slaughter near Etam (15:7-8) ~ After this he rested, the Philistines invaded his homeland, and 3,000 of his own people captured him (15:11-12).
(5) Bursting the two new cords of the men of Judah (15:13-14) ~ He had been bound by his own people, but “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him.”
(6) Slaying of 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey (15:15) ~ God continued to use Samson in spite of his many failures.
(7) Quenching his thirst at Lehi (15:18-19) ~ After a great battle Samson was thirsty and God performed a miracle on Samson’s behalf.
(8) Carrying the gates of Gaza (16:2-3) ~ Gaza was one of the largest and most fortified cities in Philistia. The heavy iron gates—the only way in or out—were always locked at night. Imagine the excitement when the locals learned Samson was in their city—now they would capture him. They strengthened the doors to assure Samson could not escape. But God had other plans and Samson tore the doors, posts, and bars off. He carried them to the top of a hill near Hebron, about 30 miles away.
(9) Breaking the seven bowstrings (16:7) ~ These cords were made of twisted strong green twigs.
(10) Bursting the new ropes (16:11) ~ New ropes without any wear and tear or frays of any kind.
(11) Tearing away the loom and the web (16:13) ~ Once again Delilah had used deception in order to bind him.
(12) Pulling down the pillars (16:29-30) ~ Samson had finally told Delilah that his hair was his source of strength (16:17). As a result Samson lost his strength, was blinded, bound, mocked, and put in prison. Samson’s hair began to grow back, symbolizing his renewed faith and commitment to serving God.
Delilah was directly involved in 9, 10, and 11. Despite Samson’s wayward ways, God continued to use him and give him success throughout his life. But, like Peter, there is another side of Samson’s story, which we will consider next time.
CONTEMPLATE: Samson’s life and its successes (Judges 13-16).