Summary: How Samson misused his privilege and failed his mission is a stern warning to every follower of Christ. It is also a reminder of the gift and gravity of the Spirit of God.
The Life Of A Tragic Hero
INTRO: The story of Samson is one of the saddest in all the Bible. He was gifted and nurtured to be God’s man in Israel’s critical hour. The Philistines threatened to invade. Israel needed a leader who could unite the people. God gave Samson special care to accomplish a special mission. As an indication of his approval, God blessed him and sent his spirit upon him while he was still a youth.
How Samson misused his privilege and failed his mission is a stern warning to every follower of Christ. It is also a reminder of the gift and gravity of the Spirit of God.
I. THE SPIRIT OF GOD STIRRED SAMSON (13:25).
When the Spirit of God moves, events of life can defy scientific, logical, and physical rules. In creation the Spirit of God moved over a formless void of darkness, and from nothing He created all things (Gen. 1: 1-2). When God stirs the nothingness of a man, miracles happen. His creative powers are loosed in us.
The Spirit of God stirred workmen to build the Temple. His Spirit is available today to God’s kingdom builders. His stirring is sorely needed to equip us for His mission.
ILLUS: I recall a story about a man who had to cross a wide river on the ice. He was afraid it might be too thin, so he began to crawl on his hand and knees in great terror. He thought he might fall through at any moment. Just as he neared the opposite shore, all exhausted, another man glided past him nonchalantly sitting on a sled loaded with pig iron.
How like some Christians! Headed for Heaven, they tremble at every step lest the divine promises break under their feet. By resting completely upon Him and taking His promises at face value, we can drive out the paralyzing fear that hinders our effectiveness in serving Christ.
II. THE SPIRIT OF GOD EMPOWERED SAMSON (14:5-9).
As Samson traveled toward Timnath, he was attacked by a young, roaring lion. Samson was not expecting danger. He had his mind on marriage. He was planning for the future. Danger lurks at every turn. Without God, we are defenseless. But “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him” (v. 6). God had not only given Samson a special task, but He also had made available the strength to accomplish it. Jesus told His followers “I will not leave you comfortless” (John 14:18). The strength of God continued with Samson through many following trials (see 14:19). God will give us added strength to meet life’s tests when we walk with him.
ILLUS: When Corrie Ten Boom of The Hiding Place fame was a little girl in Holland, her first realization of death came after a visit to the home of a neighbor who had died. It impressed her that some day her parents would also die. Corrie’s father comforted her with words of wisdom. “Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?” “Why, just before we get on the train,” she replied.
“Exactly,” her father said, “and our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things too. Don’t run out ahead of Him Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need — just in time.”
III. THE SPIRIT OF GOD DEPARTED FROM SAMSON (16:20).
Samson traded God for Delilah! He was noted for weakness when dealing with women and for strength when fighting men. The Philistine leaders bribed Delilah to uncover the secret of Samson’s extraordinary strength. After three successive failures, she discovered the secret--his hair. Samson’s hair represented his last remaining contact with Nazarite vows (see Num. 6:2-12). His other vows had long been broken. When the last fragment of his commitment to God was stripped from him, his divinely appointed strength was gone.
His weakness brought about his downfall. The tragic events have been reenacted in many lives since the days of Samson.
As blinded Samson served at the mill, his hair grew; and his strength returned. All hope was not gone. He cried unto the Lord; and in one last effort of strength, he demolished the temple of Dagon and all who were within it. Thus ended the life of one of the great, tragic heroes of the Bible. While God used Samson’s life to serve his people, in the main Samson misused his gifts and missed his mission.