Samson—of the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11

“And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”
Hebrews 11:32-34 NASB

I thought about the Bible’s Samson, and what one could basically say,

regarding his life and mission in a poetic way…

His future parents were visited by the angel of the Lord, who foretold his birth,

saying that Israel’s deliverance from the Philistines would begin through him, a Nazirite of worth.

As foretold, he was born and blessed of the Lord, and then we also read…

of the Spirit of God coming upon him at times, with the mighty strength that he would need.

An early event recorded is his favoring of a certain Philistine woman to be his wife…

though his parents tried to dissuade him, saying one of their own people could better bless his life.

But she did become his bride—scripture says it was “of the Lord” in this unusual case.

The Lord was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines, for their dominion over Israel was in place.

Killing a young lion with his bare hands, throwing a wedding feast at which a riddle was told—

then came a clash with the Philistines after the riddle was “solved.” Through Samson, their defeat was beginning to unfold.

Deprived of his wife, he caught three hundred foxes, by which he set fire to the Philistines’ vineyards, groves, and grain.

At that, they retaliated, causing her death, at which Samson fought them again, making his readiness to confront them even more plain.

The Philistines encamped in Judah, then. To prevent attack, three thousand of Judah’s men went out with new ropes to have him bound…

and hand him over to the Philistines. Samson allowed them to bind him but broke free, killing a thousand Philistines in just one round.

He commended himself for the triumph, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps…I have slain a thousand men.”

But he was overcome at the end of the conquest with extreme thirst then…

So he cried out to the Lord for water, saying, “YOU have given this great deliverance by the hand of your servant…”

He continued, asking God if he was going to let him die without needed water—his plea being fervent.

Out of a hollow place came a spring—the requested water that God provided.

In looking to the Lord, strength was restored; his thirst was quenched and his distress subsided.

And the strength that was given to him by God far surpassed the normal for lifting any heavy weight.

From Gaza to the top of the mountain opposite Hebron, he uprooted and carried on his shoulders, one night, the doors of the Gaza city gate.

He judged Israel for a span of twenty years, according to Judges 15 and 16;

but despite having had strength to have killed a lion, weakness in his personal life was seen.

Most often remembered about Samson’s life is that of Delilah’s snare,

where he told her the secret of his strength, which was in a Nazirite’s vow to keep his uncut hair.

Several times she had inquired, hoping to set a trap, yet Samson had always broken free.

But, in the last case, the Lord departed from him. He was caught—his eyes were put out, and he could no longer see.

He fervently called upon God when he was mocked by his enemies and bound.

And, in a final act, he slew three thousand Philistines—God restored his strength that had been renowned.

One lesson from his life which could be stated is that we shouldn’t be distracted…

from consecration to God—so that, in these times, by living for Him, others will be spiritually impacted.

Surely, Samson knew of the calling on his life from God and that he was to be mindful of His help throughout his days.

God used him mightily, as had been prophesied, for deliverance from the Philistines in an initial phase.

So, grant us a surge of inner strength, Lord, at those times we feel we’ve failed…

for you offer forgiveness and redemption to all for whom to the cross you were nailed.

P. A. Oltrogge

from Judges, chapters 13-16

It’s been said that Samson’s life, though he was an imperfect man, in some ways, pointed to the greatest deliverer (at that time, yet to come) Jesus Christ. Some of these parallels were:

Parents of both had divine visitations, foretelling the birth of a son. Both sons were to be consecrated to God for life.

Samson’s mother had been barren. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was a virgin, so for both, the births of their sons were divine interventions.

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson for strength to do battle and strength to even kill a lion with his bare hands. Likewise, Jesus defeated the enemy, Satan, with no man-made weapons, but the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him.

As Samson uprooted and carried the doors of the city gate to the top of a high place, so Jesus carried the cross to Calvary’s hill, establishing and being the gate to heaven through His finished work on the cross.

Samson was handed over, at one point, to the Philistines by his own people. Jesus was delivered to His enemies by one of His own, a disciple. Samson broke free from the new ropes. Jesus broke out of a new, garden tomb, being raised from the dead.

Samson was blinded and mocked by his enemies. Jesus was blindfolded and mocked by His enemies. (Luke 22:64)

Samson’s arms were outstretched between pillars to destroy Israel’s enemies in his death, while Jesus’ arms were outstretched on the cross in His dying, to pull down and defeat the devil and death itself.

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