I think one of the most pathetic stories in the whole Bible is that of Samson. Many of us have grown up hearing the story about the strongest man in the world who lost it all because he shared the secret of his strength with a seductress named Delilah. In case you don’t know the story I will give you a quick and dirty recap. Samson was born to do great things. So much so, that the Angel of the Lord came to his parents and foretold of his birth before he was even conceived. The Angel told them that he would be an instrument used by God to fight the evil Philistines but Samson was to spend his entire life as a Nazirite. This meant he was dedicated to the service of God and there were certain things he was not allowed to do including never cutting his hair. Most people took the Nazirite vow for a limited period of time but Samson was different and his vow was for life. Samson was kind of like a superhero. He had great strength and prevailed over the Philistines but his kryptonite was his need for immediate gratification. The story of Samson is only a few chapters long but they are filled with mistakes resulting from his inability to put himself second. However, because this is a true story, it took awhile before his bad choices finally caught up with him. Samson had a big secret that was everything to him. He knew that he would lose his God-given strength if his hair was ever cut so he kept this truth close to his heart. That is until the day he finally let Delilah get it out of him.
When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.” So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. Judges 16:18-19
As a Nazirite, Samson was dedicated to the Lord. His whole world was supposed to be about obedience to God’s will whatever that was. Everything else was to come second – even love. However here’s where Samson finally screwed up: twice in verse 18 it says that Samson told Delilah “all his heart.” In other words, his dedication to Delilah and the pleasure she brought him outweighed his dedication to the Lord.
The next part of the story is the most tragic. The Philistines were waiting outside to see if Delilah had
finally managed to weaken Samson and the Bible tells us the following:
And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. Judges 16:20
Here was a man who had been dedicated to God since birth. The Bible records incidents of the Lord’s power filing Samson over and over again. This was a man who never lost a fight his entire life because of God. Yet the end of verse 20 says, “But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.” How could he have not known that God’s power no longer surged through his body? I think the answer is simply he had forgotten about God. Samson had been walking a thin line of disobedience for some time and finally he took it too far. He forgot that he was supposed to be used by God not the other way around and he took God’s patience as indifference.
As a believer in Christ, you too, are a Nazirite. You don’t have the same ceremonial restrictions as the Nazirites, but you are to be dedicated to God as one. In the book of Romans, Paul says,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1
Being a Christian is freedom from the judgment of sin but it is not freedom to sin. Paul says it is reasonable to sacrifice our desires and flesh to God. It is reasonable to stay away from sin. After all, Christ sacrificed much more than that for your soul.
Samson’s story ends on a high note – sort of… While in complete humiliation and physical pain, Samson repents and God gives him strength one last time and he kills more Philistines than he ever had before. God is good and He never turns His face away from a repentant child. However, his final triumph as we read it had to be filled with shame for Samson. He died that very same day and I suppose when he met the Father face to face for the first time he had deep regret for putting himself in God’s place while he was alive.
There are lots of lessons in this story but I will end with three questions. Have you placed anyone in your life in a higher position than God? Even your own spouse and children come second and third to Him. Do you use God or do you allow Him to use you? Lastly, are you still thankful today for the sacrifice Christ made for you 2,000 years ago?