In our Bible reading this week, we heard the testimony of God’s work in and through Samson. Samson is given recognition in Hebrews 11 also known as the faith hall of fame for those whom trusted in God and were used by God in mighty ways. Samson struggled with sin and a lack of obedience to God and for this he is often pegged as more of a failure than a success. But the truth of the gospel is that, in the end, we who trust in Jesus are measured by Christ in us and not our own merit or performance. Is it important we understand that true believers in Jesus will obey His commands and grow in sanctification? Yes. But what we must see in Samson is less of his own ups and downs and to try to extract a moral story from him and recognize that it is ultimately God that Samson points us to.
Samson is ordained to be defied of in God’s holy word not for our pity but for God’s everlasting glory and as a shadow of a greater Redeemer to come! A truer and better Samson.
In this I want you to see the similarities to Jesus Christ that Samson is.
-Samson and Christ are children of prophesy and promise. -Samson “will begin the deliverance of his people”. Christ completed it. -The promise was given by an angelic visit. -The Spirit of the Lord came upon both of them. -Their own people rejected them. -Israel (Judah) handed both of them over to their oppressors to be killed by them.
While Samson was practically used by God for his strength, he is spiritually used by God through his weakness. Christ as a lamb, is defeated in his flesh but with this defeat on the cross he is victorious eternally for all whom he stood in place. After Samson’s haircut, he is weak but was put into a situation that he could have only been in by being temporarily defeated: God-given strength to publicly humiliate and defeat all of the Philistine kings, leaders, armies and thousands of people.
So, what we need to do better when studying the Old Testament is to remember that much of it is looking to point us forward to Christ. See Samson’s key role in God’s larger plan in these ways:
Samson was the beginning of God’s deliverance.
Samson was prophesied by an angel delivering the news to his mother and father.
The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson not once, but multiple times – (mentioned more times than anyone other person in the Old Testament).
Samson is the only one who was given great strength by the Spirit of God (multiple times).
Samson single-handedly defeated thousands of Philistines.
Samson was alone – his own people rejected him in favor of peace with their captors. (Re: Caiaphas, in John 11:45-53)
Samson sacrificed himself in accordance with God’s plan to “‘begin the deliverance of Israel”.
Samson is an unnerving hero of faith. He did exercise faith and he was unfaithful in his obedience. But God still had a key role for him to play.
God gives each of us gifts “according to the grace given to us” (Romans 12:6). They are undeserved and they are for the “common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). They are about God’s greatness, not ours.
So, let Samson’s faith soberly remind us that our spiritual or talent gifts are not God’s endorsement of us, that faithful obedience is better than impressive giftedness, and that faith must work through love (Galatians 5:6).