Samson was chosen from birth to rescue Israel from the Philistines. God sent an angel to prepare his parents for his impending birth. His mother was not to drink wine or any other alcoholic beverage nor eat any forbidden food. When Samson was born, his hair was not to be cut—ever! Those instructions must have seemed sensible to his mother until that thing about his hair. God blessed Samson as he grew up. Then, Samson’s character flaws kicked in. Against the advice of his parents, he demanded a Philistine woman as his wife. When Samson’s ego got the better of him, God again gave him strength enough to solve his problem. Then Samson’s anger surfaced, God used the incident to destroy some of the Philistines. God continued to bless Samson in spite of himself. He used Samson to destroy 1,000 Philistines. But Samson’s ego kicked in again and he bragged about his conquest. His attraction to another woman, Delilah, resulted in his strength being removed when the Philistines learned his secret and cut his hair. His eyes were gouged out and he was put in prison. When all seemed lost to Samson, he prayed to the Lord for his strength to be returned once more, so that he could have revenge even if meant his own death. God gave him the strength to kill more people than he had during his entire lifetime. So what should this story teach us? We are chosen individuals from birth. Despite our character flaws, God will give us the strength to do what He’s chosen for us to do. We are modern-day Samsons, but our strength is not dependent on the length of our hair. It is dependent on our relying on the Lord.


Your diet is going great. You’ve cut back on fried foods, soft drinks, and ice cream. Then someone brings donuts to the office and you eat the whole box. You’re managing your time much better. Making lists, setting priorities, and staying focused are becoming habits in your daily life. Then the tournaments begin. You find yourself engulfed in the excitement and fixated on watching every game on TV. We all have our weak spot. Sure, there are many things that can knock us off stride. But for most of us, there’s one thing that stands out. There’s one thing that seems to get us every time. We know what it is. We know when we’re vulnerable. We know that we want to do better. But no matter how hard we try, it’s our weak spot and it causes us problems time after time. As we continue our look at Samson, we’ll see his weak spot. The man, whose name is synonymous with strength, had a weakness that devastated his life. Relying on his incredible strength was not enough for Samson. We need to learn from his mistake. Dealing with our weak spot, on our own, will wear us out. Seeking God’s help doesn’t expose our weakness—it accesses our strength.

Anger Management

Hard work can be hard. And when we have accomplished some big task or finished a significant project it is just natural to step back and admire our work. What was built, done, or completed was from our work and we want to take credit for that effort. We might just deserve a little attention, a little admiration. We may drift right into taking all the credit, pushing God aside and forgetting our place. Our pride may just conquer our ability to be humble; we may forget where our talents and skills really come from, who provides, and the role we really play and the role God plays. And it can happen to the best of us. Samson took some credit for a deed when he said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.” (Judges 15:16) And true enough he was the one swinging the jawbone; he delivered those fatal blows. But, Samson follows up the declaration of his victory in battle with a cry to God to satisfy his great thirst. He cried out, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” (Judges 15:18) Isn’t it interesting that Samson, in that cry for water, had acknowledged his role – Samson, servant of God. As strong and mighty as Samson was, he was still only a servant of the Lord.

The Legacy

You worked hard on making better eating choices and exercising. And for a few weeks or maybe a few months, you did well. You lost weight, felt better, and were sure that this time, your new and improved health habits were here to stay. But then there was a big project at work that had you ordering in pizza at your desk rather than going out for a low-calorie lunch. Your children needed extra help with their homework, so your evening walks got put on the back burner. And before you knew it, those hard-won healthy changes went by the wayside. What happened? While you weren’t looking, you slid right back into your old habits. Habits (whether good or bad) are repeated patterns of behavior that we do without conscious thought. When we take our eyes off the goal and off the standard of behavior, it is very easy for all those things that we felt were behind us to again rear their ugly heads and to take us to a place that we don’t want to be. So it was with Samson. For two decades Samson got on the same page as God. He was a model servant of God while he led Israel. But then one moment of poor judgment opened up the crack. The crack got larger and larger. And Samson found himself far from God and in dire straits. The key to changing habits and keeping them changed is to take conscious control of our behavior at all times. Being committed to God’s ways requires that we keep focus on the right things.

Even Heroes Repent

Samson was a biblical superhero–seemingly super human and invincible. But after he gave in to sin, he became a humiliated slave of the enemy. The Philistines gave glory to their god, “Dagon” for helping them capture their great enemy. The people called for Samson to be brought to entertain them. They thought that Samson’s blindness made him weak. They didn’t know that God had forgiven him and restored his strength. “Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that help 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.” (Judges 16:29-30 NLT) God did not abandon Samson, but he did allow Samson’s poor decisions to stand. We may choose to be close to God or to go our own way; however, there may be negative consequences from our choices. In spite of Samson’s past, God still answered his prayer and he destroyed the pagan temple and worshipers. God still loved him. He was willing to hear Samson’s prayer of confession and repentance and use him this final time. The guilt we feel from sin may keep us from wanting to pray. But, we must remember that no matter how long we have been away from God, he is ready to hear from us and restore us. Every situation can be salvaged if we are willing to turn to him. If God could still work in Samson’s situation, he can certainly make something worthwhile out of ours.