Summary: Comic book character? Super human? Incredibly strong. Incredibly flawed. The Strongman teaches us strong lessons.
Pt. 1- Fatal Flaws
He has captured the imagination of Hollywood and Christians alike. He comes off like a comic book hero and a superhuman. A real life Hercules whose strength is legendary. He was otherworldly strong and ironically real world weak. His story continues to intrigue and impact our society today. How many little boys do you know named Samson or little girls named Delilah? However, what is interesting to me about Samson is that for all the movie star treatment and long running attention his story in Scripture is rather short. In fact, the entire account of Samson plays out in 4 short chapters in Judges. Over the course of the next few weeks on Sundays (and our youth on Wednesdays) we are going to learn some lessons from The Strongman. We will dive into some of the very specific moments of his life. However, this morning I want to back out and take an overview of his life.
It may be of some importance for us to know the backdrop against which Samson appears on the national scene of Israel. What is obtained easily seldom has much value attached to it! The Children of Israel easily, with help of God, have escaped the grip of slavery to Egypt and have now graduated to obtaining the Promised Land. But obtaining is easier than maintaining (there is a lesson right there for you men pursuing that dream girl)! After settling into promise the Israelites forget God (word - how many of us are diligent in prayer, service, and worship until we get what we have asked for and then the thing that got us what we longed for is forgotten and replaced?)! The Israelites turn from God so, God allows the Philistines to arrive on the scene and for forty years, including the 20 years of Samson’s tenure as a Judge, they war against the Chosen Ones. The people willingly accept the domination of their enemies! No resistance. No rebellion. No uprising. They simply give in. How many of us fall into this same trap? Chained and complacent. Handcuffed and happy. Snared and silent! Twenty years into the domination Samson walks onto the national stage. There is an encouraging truth in this! God always prepares deliverance before He allows temporary devastation! He disciplines us but refuses to allow us to be destroyed! If you are being disciplined. If you are being devastated, then just hold on . . . that means deliverance is not far behind!
So Samson arrives as God’s appointed and selected Strongman.
24 Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
III. The Flaws
This passage is the first glimpse into God’s use of Samson and the impartation of the Spirit in his life. We will back up and deal with the Demands of Deliverance later. But let’s look quickly at the other 3 distinct times where we are specifically told that the Spirit of God came upon Samson. There are other instances (especially during the Delilah sequence) where we aren’t even told that the Spirit of God came up on him but his great acts of strength would attest to the fact that that is indeed what took place.
Spirit came upon him:
Judges 14:6 - When attacked by a young lion. In a place he should not have been, going somewhere he should not be going to be with someone he should not be with.
Judges 14:9 - When Philistines cheated to figure out riddle. He is about to marry one of his enemies and in a macho, I am smarter than you moment, he challenges 30 Philistine men to figure out a riddle. They cheat to get the answer by threatening his fiancé and her family. He kills 30 men for their clothes to pay the debt he owed because the men solved the riddle.
Judges 15:14 - When his fiancé is given to his best man Samson retaliates by tying foxes tail-to-tail and sets them on fire and destroys the Philistines fields. In response to this the Philistines are about to destroy an entire Israelite community and so they beg Samson to allow them to turn him over. So they tie him up with ropes and give him to the Philistines. Then, he breaks out of the ropes and with the jaw bone of a donkey he kills 1,000 Philistines.
So from this panoramic view of Samson’s life what we discover is that consistently, over a 20 year period, this Strongman is used by God. So infiltrated by the power and anointing of God that he lives up to the superhuman, comic book character!