Samson lived during the days of the Old Testament judges when the Children of Israel suffered under the dominion of the Philistines, a cruel and ruthless people. As a Nazarite from birth, Samson lived according to a strict vow. A Nazarite must not eat or drink anything that comes from grapes, must not approach a dead body, and must not cut his hair (Numbers 6:1-8).
There were others who took the Nazarite vow including John the Baptist. But Samson alone was gifted with supernatural strength.
You cannot help but wonder when Samson first learned about his amazing strength. Maybe it happened when he was attacked by a lion in the vineyards of Timnah. As a Nazarite, Samson had no business going anywhere near a vineyard, much less a vineyard in a Philistine city. It is little wonder he was attacked there by a lion that came roaring against him (Judges 14:5). The Bible tells us to be on guard because, “our adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Mercifully, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and enabled him to kill the lion with his bare hands.
As the story of Samson continues we read of greater feats of strength, along with greater moments of compromise. The man who killed one thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey finally met his match in a sultry seductress named Delilah. With Delilah in his life Samson began playing Russian Roulette with his soul. As she pressed him daily, Samson came closer and closer to giving away the secret of his strength until he finally broke and told all.
By the time Delilah was done with Samson, the Spirit of the Lord departed, and the enemy came rushing in (Judges 16:20). Blinded and bound by his Philistine captors, Samson was forced to grind grain like an ox. The Bible also notes that in the meantime Samson’s hair began to grow again. Like Samson’s hair, grace can be cut off in a moment, but it has a way of coming back.
The Bible does not provide details of what surely transpired between Samson and the Lord. All we know is that in the end Samson died with a prayer on his lips. He won a greater victory in his death than all the combined victories in his life and is included in the roll call of the Heroes of Faith (Hebrews 11:32).
As strong as he was, Samson’s story reminds us that every person has been conquered by sin. Jesus Christ alone conquered sin, and He did it on our behalf! With arms outstretched in the Temple of Dagon, Samson’s death brought judgment upon the Philistines, and sinners died. With arms outstretched on the Cross of Calvary, Christ’s death brought judgment upon Himself, and sinners may live. Such is the wonder and power of God’s saving grace!
Pastor Todd Weston