“And she said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ So he awoke from his sleep, and said, ‘I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!’ But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.”
The story of Samson is both fascinating and tragic. His feats of strength are paralleled only by legendary super heroes. He defeated lions, carried city walls, and fought off platoons of soldiers, with nothing more than skeleton bones. As far as Biblical characters go, he was the most gifted of all. Sadly, those gifts were never really used for the work of God. Each of his feats of strength was only used to get him out of difficult situations that his disobedience got himself into. Instead of reading of Samson leading the nation of Israel back to the Lord, we read only of his selfishness and continual compromise.
Samson had every opportunity to become a great man of God. He grew up in a family that encouraged him to commit himself to the Lord. I can only imagine that he was told over and over again about the visitation of the angel, and the great plans God had for his life. Samson was also uniquely gifted by the Lord. We never read of his physical stature, only that his great strength came from the Spirit of the Lord. Yet with all this opportunity, Samson chose to pursue the desires of his flesh and make relationship compromises that cost him his life, and Israel its deliverer.
It has always fascinated me that Samson is listed along with David, Joshua, and Moses in the record of Hebrew 11. A chapter devoted to men who accomplished great things by trusting the Lord, also includes a man who lived after the desires of his flesh. As far as I can tell, the only heroic act in Samson’s tragic life was his final one. After walking away from the Lord and losing everything, he finally surrenders all. We read that his hair began to grow again, and the strength of the Lord came upon him for one last accomplishment.
While his story is tragic, it ends with a declaration of the grace of God. We learn it is not too late to cry out to God. Perhaps your life has been marked with wandering from the ways of God. Instead of continuing down that path, take a page from Samson’s story and cry out for the mercy of God. Perhaps there remains in your future a great victory for the kingdom of Heaven.