Monday, May 13, 2013

Merciful Monday: The Story of Samson

The story of Samson is one of my absolute favorite Bible stories. (If any of you watched “The Bible” Series that came on the History Channel a couple of months ago, then you know what I’m talking about!) I know that I’ve always liked the story, but as I read it today, I started wonder why exactly. What makes Samson’s story so interesting? For me, I think it’s the paradoxical nature of the story. It is SO REAL, yet it is SO UNREAL.

I find Samson’s true humanity to be so real. He was more powerful than any other man, and can kill hundreds of Philistines with his own bare hands. I would expect someone like that to be on another level than the average human being, but the story shows us that we are all human and we all fall short of the glory of God.

Samson had a real weakness—that weakness was women! He slept with prostitutes and allowed one woman in particular, Delilah, to destroy a covenant that he had made with God—to never cut his hair.

This part of the story was so real to me. I know people who are guilty, and I have definitely been guilty, of doing things in a relationship that I normally wouldn’t do under other circumstances. Honestly, the opposite sex has a way of influencing us even when they aren’t trying as hard as Delilah was. Maybe influencing you to think more about you wear when you get dressed in the morning, or brush your teeth a little longer, or buy that new cologne. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the opposite sex should never influence us to the point where they come between us and God, because God should ALWAYS be first!

Despite the fact that Samson succumbed to Delilah’s temptation, he still possess something that was unreal. When I say unreal, I mean out of this world, incredible, amazing! He possessed the unharnessed power and unmerited favor of God. From the beginning Samson had favor over his life. As you may recall, his mother was barren, so the fact that Samson was even alive was unreal! And from there, things continued to be unreal—of course, he developed super human strength based on a covenant he had with God to live life as a Nazirite.

In those days a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zorah. His wife was unable to become pregnant, and they had no children. The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food.[a] You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” (Judges 13:2-5).

The most mind-blowing, unreal thing about the story of Samson though, occurred in Judges 16, in the final stages of his life. The unmerited grace of God was revealed, when despite the fact that Samson had broke his end of the covenant by placing his trust in Delilah, God had mercy on him. He restored his strength one last time. And moreover, Samson still had the will within him to serve God.

I would imagine that like David in Psalm 42, he felt discouraged, forgotten, and sad. He was blind, womanless and captive, yet he did not call on God not to save him, or spare his life, but the Bible says, “Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, 30 he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines” (Judges 16:28-30). Despite his short comings, Samson made an unreal commitment to God. Like David he may have thought “I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!” (Paslm 42: 5-6). And he did put his hope in God, sacrificing himself for the glory of the Lord.

Let’s remember that like Samson in the Bible, we are REAL, we are human, we are ordinary and we will make mistakes. But when we honor God by giving him our lives, thorough him we become UNREAL, extraordinary, and capable of overcoming our shortcomings.

Watch this clip about Samson from "The Bible" Series. The series was a good one and it is out on DVD now in case you missed it! 

Merciful Mondays: Jael
For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31


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