Hebrews 11:32, Judges 16:22-31
If you grew up in church, the story of Samson and Delilah is probably a very familiar story. When we read stories that are popular and memorable, it is important that we pray to God for fresh eyes and fresh insight so we don’t get caught up in the familiarity. For the sake of what I want to focus on today, I am not going to ask you to read the entire story of Samson, but I will paraphrase it a bit.
Samson was to be raised as a Nazarite, which meant that there were strict rules for how he should live (Numbers 6:1-21). These rules included not eating or drinking anything that came from a grape, and not making himself unclean by being near a dead body. One of the most interesting aspects to me was how in Numbers the hair was important; it was dedicated to the Lord. Samson had already made himself ceremonially unclean when he exposed himself to a carcass and took honey out of it and ate it. But he still had his hair dedicated to the Lord. When he finally told Delilah the secret about his hair and she shaved it we are told that the Lord left him (Judges 16:20). He had already shown his faith in God by acknowledging that his strength came from Him because of his vow to live as a Nazarite. I now want to focus on Samson’s death.
Samson had been captured by the Philistines because they shaved his hair and then they gouged out his eyes. Judges 16:22 tells us that the hair on his head began to grow again. The Philistines had a great assembly to offer sacrifices to their god for giving Samson into their hands. Samson was made to perform for the assembly and when he was done he asked to be placed at a supporting pillar so he could rest. Samson knew that the only way he could defeat the Philistines was if God gave him the strength. He prayed to God and was able to destroy the temple by pushing over the pillars, killing the Philistines and himself. Samson believed that his strength to do God’s work came from God.
I want to go to Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” I feel that this is a verse that gets pulled out of context often and would like to think about the strength that God gives us. The verse prior says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry.” Paul is talking of what he faced by following God’s will. We can be in difficult situations when we are doing God’s work, whether it is because the work is hard or we are facing attacks from the enemy. The wonderful thing about doing God’s work is that He gives us the strength we need to complete the task. Even when we have failures, when we turn to God and ask for the strength we can believe He will give it to us. Samson lost his strength due to his poor judgment, but he had faith that God could let him finish his job and give him the strength to do it.
I want to be careful; we don’t need to be purposefully reckless because we believe that God will give us the strength to fix it. Our recklessness will lead to consequences. Samson’s story is not completely happy; he died when he had his final attack against the Philistines. His initial recklessness led him to that point. I am just saying that when we do God’s work, no matter what we are up against, we can have faith to know that God will give us the strength to persevere.
Are you in a spot that requires God’s strength? Do you believe that God will give you the strength you need?