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“That We Might Have Hope” (Rom. 15:4)

Judges Chapters Thirteen Through Sixteen

Samson: Sun-like, but not Son-like

There are only a few individuals in the Scriptures who had their births foretold by heavenly messengers. John the Baptizer is usually thought of by most of us. Our own Lord Jesus’ birth was announced to Mary by Gabriel.

It is in the Old Testament that we read of another individual whose birth was foretold: Samson. God had great plans in store for this man, and his life holds great lessons for us as well. May the Holy Spirit bless our look at Samson’s life.

What portent the birth of Samson held! The Angel of the Lord announced to his mother his impending arrival. His father inquired of the Angel as to the child’s work. Samson was to be a Nazirite to God from the womb.

Even the name Samson, meaning “sun-like,” given by his parents, seemed to foretell great things. Most important, however, is the fact that the Lord blessed him, and the Lord’s spirit began to move on the young man. This seemed to be just what the people of Israel were waiting for–someone who could defeat the hated Philistines!

Samson had every opportunity to shine like the “Son.” He had the God-given tools and directives to imitate Moses or Joshua and allow the Messiah, the Son of God, to shine forth in his life.

It wasn’t long, however, before Samson began to show signs that his motives were anything but God-pleasing. He seemed more interested in allowing his own “Sun” to shine.

“I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. . . . get her for me as a wife,” Samson told his parents. They pleaded with him to select a girl from among their own people, but Samson could not be dissuaded. He saw nothing wrong with yoking himself to an unbeliever.

This was only the beginning of Samson’s troubles with the “weaker” sex, for Samson had a penchant for encouraging trouble with women. His first marriage to the Philistine woman cost her and her father their lives. He later paid a visit to a prostitute, which nearly cost him his life. He then entered into his dalliance with Delilah, which in fact did eventually lead to his destruction.

The Age-Old Struggle Continues

In this regard, how many of our Christian young people have also been deceived to follow the path of least resistance? The world holds out its enticements, and the age-old struggle ensues.

When it comes to “saving one’s self for marriage” or remaining faithful to one’s spouse, the world tells our Christian people, young and old alike, to “get with it.” “With such antiquated ideas, how can you have any fun?” “After all, the Bible is so old–you’ve got to get up to speed!” We surely know, as the Scriptures teach, that man’s natural heart is always up-to-date when it comes to sin.

“My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; tie them around your neck. When you roam, they will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep you; and when you wake, they will speak with you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Prov. 6:20-23).

This section of Proverbs goes on to describe the dishonor and desolation which sexual sins bring on the bodies, lives, and souls of individuals.

We Christian parents, pastors, and teachers need to be there for our Christian youth–not just for when they fall. More importantly, we need to arm them with the Scriptures before the temptations even strike. We need to demonstrate with our own lives that the Scriptures are for more than just reading and learning; they are to be lived.

Samson was not an unbeliever. In fact, he was mightily used by the Lord to smite the heathen enemies of God’s people.

He was, however, a believer living in a sinful world, and he was deceived by the temptations of that world and his own sinful flesh. In other words, he was tempted just as we often are.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to rule in our hearts so that the Son may shine through our lives. Let us learn the lesson which Samson learned too late: life dedicated to the LORD is a blessing and a reward of His grace.

–Teacher David W. Bernthal