Troubled Hearts: Physical Strength and Spiritual Weakness (Judges 13:3-5; 24-25)
Physical Strength and Spiritual Weakness (Judges 13:3-5; 24-25)
We read how Samson’s parents experienced the struggle of many, unable to have a child yet desperately longing for a young family. Amid their heartache, an angel appears and announces the birth of a unique child.
Take-Home: For many, the journey of infertility is your story. Yahweh sees you, and He knows your heart. Cry out to him. For some, you carry the heavy weight of not having children. God has special care for the childless. God may not give children, but by his grace, he has made us his children. Rest in His care.
Samson did not have the typical gender reveal party. Instead, an angel of the Lord announced his birth and prescribed that this boy would live with as a Nazirite for all the days of his life. Examples of Nazirites in the Bible are Samson, Samuel, and likely John the Baptist.
In the OT, only men from the tribe of Levi could serve the Lord in the Tabernacle. The Nazirite vow enabled ordinary people to serve the Lord in extraordinary ways. Through this vow, any man or woman, the ordinary Israelite, was given a special status resembling the priest, “holy to the Lord.”
Take-Home: The Nazirite vow was a visible sign that Adonai can do holy things through ordinary people. 2 Cor 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” Jesus makes ordinary people holy people.
For all Yahweh followers, including Samson, the vow included three specific areas of restriction: (1) abstain from wine, beer, or any grape products + Grapico (2) avoid anything unclean, especially death and carcasses (3) no razor can touch your head for as long as the days of the vow.
So the boy grew, and the Lord blessed him, and the spirit of the Lord began to stir him.
Samson’s first superhuman act was the slaying of a young lion. In fact, not only did Samson destroy the lion, he tore the lion apart with his bare hands! Keep in mind that they are in Timnah because of Samson’s self-pleasing heart. Surprisingly Samson tells no one. Later, walking near the exact location, a swarm of bees inhabited the carcass, and Samson got a taste of fresh wild honey.
What would have been an occasion for wonderment and celebration now becomes a test. Samson’s vow to the Lord called restrictions on death. To eat honey would be to spit on his promise to God. Failed test #1
Take-Home: Samson chose pleasure over purity, feeling over faith, comfort over conviction and refused to take his faithfulness seriously. Is your faith worth it?
Read 14:10-11 Now we find Samson back in Timnah at his wedding feast. While this party might seem benign at first, there is so much more under the surface. This was not a Chucky cheese celebration. Samson had bad company as the Philistines were known for their wine and beer - ancient pottery with built-in filters. One translator called the party a ”drinkfest.” Bad company leads to bad choices and breaks the second portion of his Nazirite vow to the Lord by participating in the feast.
Take-Home: Samson chose pleasure over holiness and refused to take his faithfulness seriously. Samson cared more about what others thought than Yahweh.
Read 16:15-17 Now we meet another one of Samson’s lady friends. This is the only female in the narrative who receives a name, Delilah. We are told that this is not one of Samson’s usual relationships because he falls in love with her. Samson doesn’t know that the Philistines are fed up and have paid Delilah 1,100 pieces of silver to help destroy the judge. Three times Samson lies with the wrong answer to his strength. Finally, he reveals the truth: my hair has never been cut because I am a Nazirite to God from birth.
This confession is remarkable because it declares that Samson is acutely aware of his spiritual calling. Yet, Samson does not reveal his covenant with Yahweh. As far as Delilah knew, Samson had a promise with the Philistine gods. Yet, at this moment, Samson’s commitment to the Lord meant so little that he lumped it in with every other deity.
Who is Worthy?: In some respect, it’s quite possible that Samson was embarrassed to use the name, Yahweh. Was it possible that Samson knew the damage he was bringing to the reputation of the God of Israel within the Philistine community? Phil 1:27 Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Every citizen of heaven is an ambassador on this earth. Live boldly and live worthy.
Flippant Faith: The Samson story is a sad story of broken vows to God. But the more painful narrative is that Samson never takes his commitment to the Lord seriously. Is your faith genuine or simply a cultural token?
The Cost of Following Jesus: Why did Samson confess after waiting so long? Some have suggested that Samson’s vow had become a burden, and he wanted release (like any other man). Was Samson tired of the cost?
If following Jesus Christ doesn't cost you anything, it's because you've bought into 'American Christianity.' –Paul Washer
Read 16:19-20 Samson sleeps and receives the first haircut of his life. Waking, the judge did not realize that the Spirit of the Lord departed. Was the strength in his hair? Not entirely. The power of Samson flowed from his commitment to Yahweh, bound by his Nazirite vow. With his head shaved, Samson lost the final portion of his oath to Yahweh.
Samson is the reminder of how much faith matters. Unfortunately, many of us have Samson syndrome; on the outside, we look strong, but inside we lack commitment.
In Christ, are called to be anti-Samsons. 2 Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” The Gospel has room for only one hero—His name is Jesus
Like Samson’s call from above, will you embrace our holy calling? Will you find your absolute joy and reason for living in being what Jesus has called you to be?
Would you come to Jesus today and be made holy? Father, today I recognize I can’t do it in my own strength; I want to hear you, love you, and live for you! I know I fall short. I believe Christ came to live, die, and was raised from the death—to rescue me from my sin. Forgive me. I turn from me and put my trust in You. Today by faith, I recognize Jesus as my King.