Have you ever thought why Samson was included in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter? It seems like the life of Samson is just an episode of disobedience and stubbornness, one from another. Surely, we can justify other people mentioned in Hebrews 11, but Samson? It seems like a difficult task to do.
Samson’s life reveals how God can use human imperfections to fulfill His purpose.
However, if we look deeper into the word of God, we will see why the Apostle Peter counted Samson as a hero of faith. Though his life was a series of breaking God’s commandment, we will soon see that God still works in his life.
In this blog, let us explore the story of Samson. Take some time to read this post and learn the vital lessons from Samson’s life.
Lesson no. 1: We are called to live a holy life
Samson’s name means “like the sun”. He was miraculously conceived after an Angel of the LORD appeared to his barren mother. The Messenger gave an instruction to Samson’s mother about how they should raise the child.
“Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:4-5).
The instruction is clear: Samson would be consecrated and become a Nazirite from birth. It is very clear that Samson should not let a razor come upon his head, drink wine, and eat anything unclean.
The full description of the Nazirite vow is found in Numbers 6. Both men and women can do the Nazirite vow. Nazirites are commanded not just to drink wine but they also must stay away from grapes or vineyards altogether. This is done to lessen the temptation to sin.
As Christians, we have a higher calling than the pursuit of happiness. It is the pursuit of holiness.
Even though the Nazirite vow can be done within a limited period of time, Samson is made a Nazirite for his whole lifetime (Judges 13:5).
The meaning of Nazirite means “to be separated”. Nazirite has almost identical meaning with the word “holy” which means sanctified. Like Samson, we are all called to be separated from this world’s way of life.
In a spiritual sense, we must be all Nazirites, consecrated and separated for God’s purpose. The Nazirite vow is compared to our baptism, signifying our commitment to God.
The Apostle Paul clearly states:
“Come out from among them
and be SEPARATE, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty” (I Corinthians 6:17-18).
God expects Christians to live a holy life. This means a life that is wholly dedicated to God’s way of life. We must offer our life as a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is [our] reason reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of [our] mind, that [we] may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
So let me ask you these questions:
“When are we going to decide and give 100% of all our being, mind, heart, and strength to God?”
“What are the things that easily ensnare us and prevent us from surrendering our lives to Him?”
“What are the things that are holding us back?”
We are CHRISTIANS. We are not just Christians during church services. We are not just Christians when we are surrounded by our church mates. We are not just Christians when things are going according to plan and are very convenient for us.
No, that is not Christianity, that’s HUMANITY! If we are to say that we believe in Christ and our actions show the exact opposite, then we are not fooling anyone, but ourselves. Christianity is not merely a feel-good and part-time duty. It demands all our being. It demands HOLINESS.
The life of a Christian is a life of overcoming. It is NOT a life of conforming. Any dead fish can swim down a river, but it takes a live and strong fish to go against the current. In the same way that it takes an active, zealous, and faithful Christian to go against the influence of this world and eventually be part of God’s Kingdom.
So decide to be a holy Christian today and do your best to make it to the family of God.
Lesson no. 2: God can use bad situations to fulfill His purpose
Though Samson is known to be one of the strongest men recorded in the Bible, he is not short of weaknesses. His greatest weakness is women and because of this, Samson is always caught in bad situations.
When Samson became an adult, he decided to marry a woman in Timnah (Judges 14:1-2). It is very obvious that Samson is acting carnally. Soon after, his decision to marry outside of his people is proven to be fatal. After a series of events, Samson was betrayed by his wife-to-be and this had led Samson to initially kill 30 men and then set on fire the standing grain of the Philistines. With this kind of situation, the Philistines sought to exact revenge from Samson, but they failed. Instead, Samson killed 1,000 Philistines and delivered the Israelites from their hands.
We have read the phrase “the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him” multiple times (Judges 14:6, 9; 15:14). This is a phrase that signifies that even though Samson was going against his Nazirite vow, God is still using him to fulfill His purpose.
Judges 14:4 tells us this:
“But his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord—that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.”
God knows the tendency of Samson and He used this to create a situation where the Philistines can be destroyed. He can simply change the event, but God chose to interweave His plans to the tendencies of human beings.
It is worth noting that Samson could have chosen a different path to take. He can fulfill the mission set for him in a way that would still be pleasing to God. But we can see that his rash and irrational decision got the best of him.
In this point in time, we must realize that no matter what we are facing in this life right now, we should always remember that God is in COMPLETE control. Though Satan is ruling this world (II Corinthians 4:4), God is ultimately in charge.
We can gain comfort from the fact that God can use negative situations for our betterment. Though we might suffer, we are suffering with a PURPOSE. Every trial we face in this life is used by God to improve our character and develop the character needed to rule in His Kingdom.
The Apostle Paul said:
“And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
There is no doubt that we undergo serious trials that leave us asking, “WHY?” There will be a time when our faith will be shaken and we start doubting and wondering if the Christian walk we are treading is still worth it.
God’s purpose for our lives is way greater than our biggest mistakes.
We have gone through this kind of situation. But we must all realize that each problem and trial we face bring lessons that we should learn. Even if we don’t fully understand, it is very SURE that we will come to a point in our lives that all things will make sense, be it during this lifetime or in the life to come. We would soon come to realize the reasons why things are that way or why we have to go through that problem.
Because in the final analysis, my friend, we must not ask, “Why?” But instead, “WHAT – what should we learn from this trial?” God is faithful and we can have the full assurance that whatever trial we are facing now, we can say, “This too shall pass.”
God has promised that “No temptation has overtaken [us] except such as common to man; but God is faithful, who will not let [us] to be tempted beyond what [we] are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that [we] may be able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13).
So just be faithful and patient. In due time, you will see how God will work all things out for good to those who love Him and called according to His purpose.
Lesson no. 3: You are free to choose but you are not free from the consequence of your choice
Here is something that we must all realize. God has given us free moral agency. This means that we have the freedom to do whatever we like, whether we obey Him or not. However, we will never be able to choose the outcome of our choices.
God has set in motion the immutable spiritual law in the universe. If you choose to break the law of God, bad consequences will follow. Though God can forgive you, the consequences of your actions will continue to haunt you.
This is certainly what happened to Samson. Indeed, God has used the weakness of Samson to create an occasion to defeat the Philistines, but we have seen the almost tragic end of Samson. As a Nazirite, he was forbidden to drink wine, eat unclean meat, and trim his hair. But all these, Samson violated.
Every action you make will either bring you farther or closer to God.
Thankfully, Samson has seen the flaw in his character and repented of it. As part of his remorse and regret, he asked God to strengthen him once more. God heard his request and surely, Samson died with the Philistines (Judges 16:30).
God is merciful and loving, but at the same time, He is the God of justice. As merciful as He is, God wants us to learn from our mistakes. Like a father who chastises his child, God also disciplines us through the negative consequences of our actions.
Hebrews 12:5-6 states:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
The Apostle Paul further states that we will be illegitimate sons and daughters if we don’t experience chastening. God does not discipline us because He hates us. On the contrary, God disciplines us because he LOVES us and He doesn’t want us to continue sinning and hurting ourselves in the process.
Make no mistake about it. The negative consequences of sin are REAL. No matter how small the sin might be, there will always be a penalty for that. The sad thing is that when we sin, we just don’t hurt ourselves, but also other people. Sin has its negative effect on a personal and global level.
Before you sin, think about the consequences of your actions. Is it really worth it? Will the short-lived pleasure of sin more worthy than the eternal life that God has promised?
So think again. Remember that you have the freedom to choose but you do not have the freedom to choose the consequences.
Lesson no. 4: Choose a mate within your faith
We have seen in the life of Samson the tragic consequences of his decisions. He decided to choose a mate from the land of Timnah, a woman from daughters of Philistines (Judges 14:2). The parents of Samson saw the foolishness of his choice and told him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all of my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines” (verse 3)?
However, Samson is stubborn and has made up his mind. The marriage of Samson and the Philistine woman did not happen. Instead, Samson found himself hated by the Philistines.
After 20 years, Samson did not learn the lesson from the past and committed the same mistake. One day, Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there. This time, Samson did not wait to get married but immediately “went in to her”.
Choosing a mate is so life-changing that it should not be based on your will, but God’s will.
Not satisfied with the Gazite harlot, Samson again loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek. This is where the famous story of Samson and Delilah took place. After constant nagging, Samson finally gave in and told her the secret of his superhuman strength. Of course, the cutting of Samson’s hair is not the real reason of his strength. His strength lies in the Lord and his hair, along with the other condition of his Nazirite vow, signifies his faithfulness to the commitment made to God.
We can see here that marrying a man or woman who is outside your faith, will bring so much trouble. If only Samson listened to his parents, he could have been saved from a lot of pain and suffering.
In the same way, Christians are commanded to learn from the life of Samson. We must not let our unstable emotions get the best of us. Marrying outside our faith is tantamount to going against the direct instruction of the Bible.
The Apostle Paul tells us in II Corinthians 6:14-16:
“Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, for it cannot be done. How can right and wrong be partners? How can light and darkness live together? How can Christ and the Devil agree? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? How can God’s temple come to terms with pagan idols? For we are the temple of the living God” (GNB).
The Apostle Paul is telling us that we must not be equally yoked with unbelievers. This advice is truly valuable when it comes choosing a potential mate. If you are going to choose a mate outside of your faith, do you really want to have a wife or husband who does not to know God’s plan of salvation? Do you want to have a constant disagreement when it comes to religion? Or do you want your children to be confused which religion or belief to follow?
Unlike Samson, take heed the advice of the Apostle Paul. Choosing a mate not according to your faith is like picking up a stone and hammering it on your head. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be like Samson. Don’t trust your unstable emotion but rather choose to follow the will of God for you. You will be happier when you do!
Lesson no. 5: Use our strength for God’s work
There is no doubt, people would automatically think of Samson when asked, “Who is the strongest man in the Bible?” Obviously, this is partly true. He has superhuman strength that can tear lions in half, single-handedly kill a thousand people with the use of an ass’ jawbone, carry two gateposts on his shoulders, and bring down a huge pagan temple.
As strong as Samson was, we must remember that his strength comes from God. Without God, he is as strong as any ordinary man.
You and I are also given by God immense strength. Though we might not be like Samson, we have unique strengths that we can use for the glory of God.
No matter who you are, what age group you belong, or what the status of your life may be, you have a gift from God that you can use. Never ever commit the mistake of thinking that you are nothing and you cannot contribute something. That’s exactly the same lie that Satan wants you to believe.
We have different strengths. It could be writing, playing the piano, singing, encouraging one another, helping in setting up the hall, or simply greeting people as they come in the church hall. Don’t underestimate the small things that you can do for other people and God because that same small thing can potentially occupy the biggest space in the heart of the people whom you have helped.
It is our Christian duty to use our strength for the glory of God.
Our small effort, when gathered together, will eventually become big. The small strengths that you have will amount to nothing if you just keep it to yourself. However, if you give that to God, He is able to magnify and make it big to fulfill His purpose — just like the little boy who offered his food to Jesus Christ to feed thousands of people (Matthew 14:13-21).
Therefore, offer your life and strength to God right now. Offer it while you are still young. There is no better way to spend the prime of your strength than to do the work of God. Don’t wait until you are old and can’t even carry yourself to attend church service. The time is now that you use your strength for the glory of God.
In the surface, it might be difficult to see why Samson was counted to be one of the heroes of faith. As this might be the case, we have seen in his life the faith that made him strong and overcomes the consequences of his sins.
As Christians, we must learn these lessons from the life of Samson. Let us all remember that our faith will only grow when we truly believe and obey God.