I am going to back-track a little this week and look back to a few chapters we read last week as well as what we read this week. As we read Judges, chapters 13-16, most of us found the story of Samson familiar. If you were raised in church, you have heard the story of Samson from childhood and was most likely taught about the strength of Samson. Although it's a story most of us know and recognize, I think it is important to look a little deeper into Samson. Not just his story, but who he was and how God used him despite of himself.
Samson's story begins with his mama. As a mama myself, this bit of information touches me. Specifically, because of her circumstances. Scripture doesn't give us her name. We only know her as Manoah's wife and Samson's mother. We may not know her name but we do know who she was. As women, and especially wives and mothers, sometimes we feel like our identity is overlooked. We may feel nameless and as if the world overlooks who we are and devalues us. This portion of Scripture proves otherwise. I don't need to know this woman's name to know how important she is to God's divine plan. God used her, He spoke to her, and He blessed her to bring out His plan for Israel. Be encouraged, Sweet Sisters, our names may never go down in history, we may never be famous, and we may never have any kind of document declaring our great accomplishments in this world. But.... if you are alive, you were created by God Himself with a divine purpose for your life to bring Him great glory right where He has placed you, for just a time as this.
Manoah and his wife were barren. They had no children, but the angel of the Lord appeared to this woman, alone, and gave her amazing news as well as direct instructions.
"The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah's wife and said, 'Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazarite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.'" ~ Judges 13:3-5
After telling her husband of this visit and prophecy, he couldn't believe it! He asked God to send the messenger back and God answered his request. After speaking again to the angel of the Lord and asking him to wait while they prepared a meal for him, they watched the angel tap the rock where they placed their young goat and grain offering, and saw their sacrifice consumed by flames and the messenger disappear. They knew immediately that they had been in the presence of the Lord.
"The angel did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Manoah finally realized it was the angel of the Lord, and he said to his wife, 'We will certainly die, for we have seen God!' But his wife said, 'If the Lord were going to kill us, he wouldn't have accepted our burnt offering and our grain offering. He wouldn't have appeared to us and told us this wonderful thing and done these miracles.' When her son was born, she named him Samson. And the Lord blessed him as he grew up. " ~ Judges 13:21-24
When we think of Samson, we think of his amazing strength. That's the highlight of his story, but there is much more to this man. Samson was a strong willed, stubborn, hard headed, man who loved women. His mind set was pretty much- his way or the highway. He obviously knew the Lord, but he gave into his flesh many times. But God still used him. This post is not about his bad choices with the ladies, although he did indeed make some bad choices, but I want us to focus on his strength and where it came from, for there is something in this for us to take away and apply to our own lives. The first time we see Samson's strength, it seems as if it comes out of nowhere.
"As Samson and his parents were going down to Timnah, a young lion suddenly attacked Samson near the vineyards of Timnah. At that moment the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him, and he ripped the lion's jaws apart with his bare hands. He did it as easily as if it was a young goat. but he didn't tell his father and mother about it." ~Judges 14:5-6
He ripped apart a lion's jaw! What! That's unbelievable! But it is important to notice that this strength came when "the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him". His strength came from the Lord and it was needed. God knew what was coming with the young Philistine woman he wanted to marry. As we continue to read chapter 14, we see that Samson uses the lion and the honey as a riddle for the 30 young men who were chosen as his companions.Unfortunately,these men were not Samson's friends and they used Samson's new bride against him, threatening her and her father's household. Samson gave into this woman, giving her the answer to the riddle which she then gave to the young men. Again, we see an incredible act of strength.
"Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to the town of Ashkelon, killed thirty men, took their belongings, and gave their clothing to the men who had solved his riddle. But Samson was furious about what had happened, and he went back home to live with his father and mother. So his wife was given in marriage to the man who had been Samson's best man at the wedding." ~ Judges 14:19-20
Alone, Samson killed 30 men. Yes, he was angry, and adrenaline can make us do things that we couldn't possibly do otherwise, but Scripture is very clear on where this act of strength came from: "the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him." Again, God allowed this power trip, not to build up Samson, but to defeat the Philistines. After cooling off for a while, Samson returned for his wife but was furious when he found out she had been given to another man. In his own vengeance, he took the time to capture 300 foxes, tie them together in pairs, set their tails on fire, and send them through the Philistines' grain fields. He destroyed their vineyards and groves and then killed many of their men . He went to live in a cave and the Philistines began to oppress the tribe of Judah because of Samson. The men of Judah went to Samson and told him they were turning him in, but they would not kill him themselves. Samson agreed, the men tied him up, and took him to the Philistines. Here we see another amazing act of strength.
"As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph. But the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon Samson, and he snapped the ropes on his arms as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists. then he found the jawbone of a recently killed donkey. He picked it up and killed 1,000 Philistines with it." ~Judges 15:14-15
He killed 1,000 men with a donkey's jawbone. His strength seemed unattainable, but again it came from the Lord. Judges, chapter 16 gives us the most familiar story of this man: Samson and Delilah, the strongest man and his deceitful woman. It is here in this story that we find out where his strength comes from: his long hair. We are told this from childhood, but we know that is not exactly correct. At the time, Samson truly thought that his strength came from his long hair. That was apart of his calling as a Nazarite, he was to never cut his hair. So for him, he believed that's where his strength came from. But, as we see played out in this story with Delilah, this wasn't true. Yes, God allowed him to be weak once his hair was shaven, but it had nothing to do with Samson's hair. Samson was a proud man, who boasted many times of his strength. His faith was in the strength and power he contained, not in the Lord who had given it to him. Because of this pride, God allowed weakness to overtake him.
This is true for us too. We are each designed and equipped by God with certain talents, gifts and strengths. God intends for us to use these things for His glory and to fulfill His perfect will. Unfortunately, so many times, we allow those gifts and strengths to puff us up and we begin to put our faith and trust in those gifts instead of the One who has given them to us. Be careful, Sweet Sisters, for pride always comes before a fall. Yes, our strength comes from the Lord, but when we loose sight of that, God can allow weakness to over take us. Sometimes we have to be brought down in order to see God and what He is trying to accomplish through us. He did it for Samson, He will do it for you and me.
After being weakened, captured, and blinded, Samson realized his fault and he cried out to the Lord in true repentance. God redeemed Samson in that moment and once again used him to take down the Philistines. God used a blinded and bound man to defeat the Philistines.
"Then Samson prayed to the Lord, 'Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.' Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, he prayed, 'Let me die with the Philistines.' And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.." ~ Judges 16:28-30
We are born with the capability to be physically strong and many people spend their lives training and caring for their body to be just that. But true strength- unbelievable, amazing strength- comes from the Lord. Our true strength comes from God. Let's pursue it by trusting Him, knowing Him, reading His Word and applying His truth to our lives. Don't let your strengths, whatever they may be, become a road to pride. Remember, that your strengths come from God alone, and should be used for His glory, not ours.
"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:13
May God shower you with His strength and power as you strive to live for Him!
Keep reading the Word!
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. "
Hi! I'm Andrea, wife to my handsome hubby, homeschooling mama to my 5 amazing blessings (with one more on the way), and daughter of the King of kings. I am so glad you have stopped by my little piece of the web. My prayer is that the Lord will use this blog to encourage you in your personal, daily walk with Christ.