I love to study the lives of the women of the Bible. In fact, when I teach or write, I usually include several examples from godly women because I tend to look to them for guidance.
But this past week I have been studying about Samson, the Biblical Strong Man, and have been amazed at how relevant his life is to women today.
If you don’t know anything about him, you need to know that :
- He was the much prayed for son of a barren couple
- his birth was foretold by an angel
- he would be a nazarite (a nazarite vow meant that he was set apart to God for a purpose. They could not cut their hair, or drink wine or even eat grapes, or touch an unclean thing.)
- he known for his tremendous strength
- he was a judge of Israel
- had a specific job to do for God.
Samson was a child born with a purpose. An “instrument” in God’s hand, if you will. Scripture tells us that God blessed him. (Judges 13:24) He was to deliver Israel from the oppressive Philistines.
Samson was the leader that “never was.” Although he had all the tools he needed to succeed, he lacked an undivided heart toward God. He never really fulfilled his role to his potential. We read the story in Judges 14, and get the idea that he was head strong, self centered, and impulsive.
1. Samson saw himself as a Big Shot instead of under assignment from God.
In fact, Samson was the only judge that evidently did not “rally” Israel to do the right thing before God and over throw the Philistines like he was supposed to do. He was supposed to be a leader, but instead he conducted himself like a celebrity. He loved the “Champion” status. So, because he played the loner he never had the full influence, leadership or effectiveness that he had the potential to have.
2. Samson was spiritually immature.
We see many examples of immaturity as he calls his bride- to- be a “heifer”, jokes and uses riddles in inappropriate times, punishes the Philistines in anger for his own personal vendettas. He wasn’t fighting the Lords battles, but instead he had his own private wars going on. He became totally ineffective.
2. Samson took God’s laws lightly.
When Samson wanted to marry a daughter of the Philistines against God’s law, he told his parents about it. They warned him that this was not in God’s plan. He basically said “Go get her for me,” self serving man that he was.
On the way to the wedding, he went into a vineyard. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but grapes were forbidden for someone who had taken a Nazarite vow. (Num.6:1-4) As one commentator put it, “A vineyard was a very dangerous place for a Nazarite to hang around.” He didn’t care–but God did. God sent a lion to meet him in the way and perhaps warn him that he was about to sin. But no matter, he tore the lion to pieces and did what he wanted to anyway.
He also went back later and ate honey out of the stomach of the carcass of the lion, which was also forbidden, because the lion was dead and therefore considered unclean by jewish law.
So, on many occasions, we see this total disregard of God’s ways. He had the “I don’t care attitude” about spiritual things. Or perhaps he thought that sinning was not a big deal.
Of course, it is easy to look at Samson’s life and wag our disapproving fingers, but in reality, any time we take lightly God’s command for our lives, we are living just as wrecklessly as Samson.
We also are given a specific sphere of influence. Are we using it in a godly way or to serve self?
Let me be more specific. When we interact with others, it should look like Christ. If you don’t know what that means or how that looked, I encourage you to go through the gospels and highlight any time scripture talks of Jesus dealing with other people or acting on their behalf. Mark His words, his manners, his touches, his emotions. Then see if your ministry is reflective of that.
You have a God given purpose today. Are you living that out?
If not, what or who are you living for?
Can you see a little “Samson” in yourself? What ways are you similar or different?
More on this tomorrow.