Summary: This message looks at the type of Faith displayed by Samson.
If we were really honest, all of us could admit that at some time or another in our life we have been tripped up by sin. Some of us may have fallen harder than others but the pain and the guilt remains the same. In the midst of our failure we often are tempted to give up and quit. Because Satan is there whispering in our ear that God could never use us again. This is where faith comes into play. God is a big God and He can use us despite our past failures. If you are having trouble believing that consider some of the great heroes of the faith we have looked at or will be looking at in this message series. Abraham lied by telling Abimelech that his wife was his sister in order to get out of what could have proven to be a sticky situation. Moses killed a man, Rahab was a prostitute and David committed adultery. And then there is Samson. Chuck Swindoll refers to him as a “He man with a She Weakness.” He is listed as one of the great heroes of the faith even though most of his life is characterized by underachievement and unrealized potential. Despite all of this, in the end, when he had been tripped up by sin, he did not quit. In faith, he returned to God and God restored his strength.
I. Samson was born under the Lord’s blessing.
A. Samson was born as a light of hope during some very dark times.
1. The Israelites messed up again and the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. The Philistines had lived in Palestine since Abraham’s time. The Philistines were warlike and powerful, and by 1100 B.C. they were exerting considerable pressure from their five cities in the west. The forty-year oppression of Israel is the longest recorded in the book of Judges.
2. Something is missing in the account of Samson. The narrator begins by announcing another apostasy on the part of Israel and the judgment which followed it. He then tells the story of the birth of the man who would be Israel’s deliverer. He does not, however, mention any cry to Yahweh, either out of repentance or sheer misery.
3. Sin is like that. Sin crushes and beats down until a people have no will to change their circumstances however miserable. Yet here the glorious truth stands out that God begins his great work of deliverance even though his people do not have the good sense to cry out to him.
4. Samson’s barren mother was like Israel as a whole, and as the Lord brought life to her dead womb, so would he bring life to Israel through Samson.
B. Samson enjoyed the blessing of being raised by Godly parents.
1. The Angel appeared again to the wife of a Danite named Manoah. This woman was barren, a shameful condition in those days.
2. She is nameless in the text. Nonetheless, Manoah’s wife is portrayed as a woman of great faith and calm assurance.
3. The stranger began by revealing his knowledge of the circumstances in the life of this godly wife. She was barren. That, however, was about to change. She would conceive and give birth to a son.
4. The woman reported the incident to her husband. She described her visitor as “a man of God.” This was terminology commonly applied to prophets. Nonetheless, she gave a description of the visitor which made clear to her husband that this man was no ordinary prophet. His appearance was “like the angel of God, very awesome”.
5. The faith of Manoah’s wife was rewarded when the Lord blessed the couple with a baby boy.
6. The son promised to Manoah’s wife would be a Nazirite, a word meaning "dedicated" or "consecrated." According to Numbers 6:1-12, the Nazirite vow was voluntarily taken for a limited time, but Samson’s was lifelong. A Nazirite had three special restrictions:
a. He was to abstain totally from wine and beer ("fermented drink") and could not eat any grapes or raisins.
b. He could not have his hair cut during the time of the vow.
c. He could not come near a corpse.
7. Violation of all these requirements plays an important part in Samson’s life, though the second restriction is particularly emphasized.
8. To be able to raise a child under these conditions would take great diligence and faith.
II. Samson displayed glimpses of hope but never reached his potential.
A. Samson refused to obey the prohibition against marrying unbelievers.
1. Samson “went down” to nearby Timnah. The reason for his trip is not stated. There Samson saw a Philistine woman who attracted him. He returned to his home and requested that his parents arrange a marriage with this woman.