Lessons from Samson
The children’s version of the life of Samson that we teach is quite sanitized, and rightfully so. But the focus tends to be on the man, on Samson, and his strength. Yes, God provided it, but we tend to present that Samson was a good faithful man until he gets tricked by Delilah. Those of us who follow the Moravian text reading plan have just finished reading through the book of Judges. The life of Samson, found in Judges 13-16, is presented in a much more negative light than the one we teach to our kids!
When I look at the life of Samson the one word that i’d use to summarize his life is IDENTITY. We see Samson has been given an identity from before birth: “You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines”(13:5). (You can read about the full identity of a Nazirite by looking at Numbers 6) You and I, we have been given an identity from before birth as well! Paul writes in Ephesians 1:4-5 that, “he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”. The troublesome life that Samson led was due to the fact that he didn’t live out of his God-given identity. The same will be true for you and me; the degree to which we live as children of God will determine the environment, stability, and consequences we experience.
Now let’s jump to the end of Samson’s life. Samson in his arrogance, pride, and unclear thinking blinded by lust, reveals his secret to Delilah who betrays Samson for money. Samson is captured, blinded, and humiliated. Samson’s last words tell us that he remembers his identity: “Then Samson prayed to the Lord,“Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more…”” (Judges 16:28). God answers Samson’s prayer and gives him strength once again to lay a final blow to the Philistines. Samson’s final words and encounter with God can be of great encouragement to us. Sometimes we fail. Perhaps we know people who have forgotten their identity and no longer follow the Lord. The good news is that neither our repentance, nor any sustained faithfulness we have, earn us merit in the eyes of God. Our covenant with him is based solely on the grace of God found in the cross of Christ. And so the Father welcomes the prodigal son home. Samson’s prayer is not theologically sound in the fact that God doesn’t forget us. It is rather that Samson remembers his identity in God and comes back to God. In the same way, we can find comfort in the amazing grace of our Heavenly Father who always receives back our contrite hearts. God will not forget you. And so the task for us disciples of Christ is to build into our lives rhythms that remind is of our identity. If we can do that, we will avoid the unnecessary pain and heartbreak that a Samson life leads to. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love for you endures forever!