Day Eighty-Two, Judges 13-16
This reading involves one of the most interesting, yet also one of the saddest, people to read about in the Bible.
Today we read about Samson, who was promised to his parents by an angel of the Lord. The angel told them that Samson was to take the vow of the Nazirite and be set apart to the Lord all the days of his life; never is he to have any wine or fermented drink; never is he to come into contact with anything unclean; never is a razor to be used on his head.
Because Samson is set apart to the Lord, the Spirit of the Lord comes upon Samson in power, and he has great strength:
· He kills a lion with his bare hands
· He kills 30 Philistine men
· He catches 300 foxes, ties them together in pairs by their tails, fastens a torch to each pair, and then lets them loose in the fields, burning up the grain of the Philistines
· He is able to break the ropes that tie him together when he is captured
· He kills 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey
· He lifts the city gates, posts, bar, and all, to escape from Gaza in the middle of the night
Samson is definitely an amazing man who had incredible potential. However, rather than serving the Lord, he seemed more interested in serving self. He has anger issues. He’s obviously not the smartest man in the world, very naïve. He continues to trust the Philistine woman Delilah, who repeatedly tries to learn, and then destroy, the source of Samson’s strength.
He finally caves and tells her…it’s because his hair is long…and she proceeded to rush for the scissors. When Samson loses his strength, he is captured by the Philistines, and they gouge out his eyes.
The only redeeming factor of Samson’s story is that he is able to kill many Philistine leaders as he dies, more so than all that he killed when he was alive. He is brought into the temple of the Philistine god Dagon, and he asks the men to put him where he can lean between two columns of the temple. He then prays that the Lord remember him and restore his strength to him once more, so that he may get revenge on the Philistines. He then pushes on the columns with his might and is able to bring down the temple on the Philistine rulers, as well as himself.
For me, this story highlights the fact that although Samson seemed to waste most of his life and his God-given ability on himself, when he did turn to the Lord for strength, the Lord was still gracious enough to give it and use Samson to His glory.