I don’t know.
And I’m not saying people from Brooklyn are stupid. He just always seemed to me to be someone who’d speak that way. I know. I’m weird.
But recently, while hearing a series of messages on Samson, I heard somethings that made me pause and think. Though Samson was stronger than strong, he was emotionally and spiritually weak at times. And I say at times.
Two things caught me eye (or ear when I heard it read) recently.
Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines. Judges 15:20
In just once sentence, the author here sums up what Samson had done. Even though he blundered along, he successfully led Israel for twenty years.
Now, the earlier part of his career as a leader, he messed up. A lot. At his birth, his mother promised that Samson would be a nazzarite and take the nazzaritic vow. What this means is that he couldn’t cut his hair, he couldn’t drink alcohol and he had to stay away from dead things. Not just that, but as an Israelite, he was to stay away from foreign people, especially woman. You can see where this is going, can’t you.
Samson falls in lust with a foreign woman, a Philistine, the mortal enemies of Israel at that time. And instead of keeping going on, he wants to marry here… a way big no no according to the Law of God (a lot of theological and biblical reasons behind this which I so don’t have room to put into a blog. Needless to say, I bought LeAnne Rimes’ first album because of a girl. Yeah. Scary. I know).
Samson got drunk. He did dumb things. He was given power by God to rip apart a lion when he was attacked. Yet he defied God when later he came back and found honey in the lion carcass. He wasn’t supposed to touch dead things. Yet he disobeyed God for some honey…literally.
I can only guess that he learned his lesson and turned his life around. Until one day. One day and it all went south. One day he went after some honey…figuratively…and it ruined him. It’s all in Judges 16. And then he meets Delilah. And from there it really goes south…er…bad.
She tricks him. Samson’s strength is in his hair. Because he’s a nazzarite, he has vowed never to have his hair cut. And after multiple attempts on his life, he still doesn’t realize that Delilah is working with the enemy. And he tells her his secret. And his hair is shaved. And he looses his strength.
I know I’ve messed up in the past. I know that I’ve made some dumb decisions that have hurt me. It’s this whole acts/consequences. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You break the law, you go to jail. Simple. But I don’t think Samson didn’t think about the consequences to his actions. I wonder how many times we don’t think about the dumb things we’re doing. Whenever a statement begins with “I’m bored, let’s…” or “Hey, hold my drink…” you know it’s about to be a bad decision. And the excuse “Well, it seemed to be a good idea at the time” is not going to get you out of it.
And so Samson was weakened. He was humiliated. His eyes were gouged out. He was stripped down and forced to do the work of an ass (an older English term for a donkey…I just wanted to put it in here). He was defeated. Then we read these words of grace
But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. Judges 16:22
That is the grace of God. Samson was humiliated. He was destroyed. Yet God still gave him the grace of yet another chance. Samson had walked away from his duty. He had made bad decisions. And God’s grace still was available to him.
Now Samson could have very easily allowed himself to stay an ass (er…donkey). He could have easily ignored this fact. He could have just given up and allowed things to transpire, to allow himself to stay an ass forever.
Yet God gave him the grace he needed and Samson acted on it.
God placed Samson in the right spot at the right time. He placed Samson in the palace of the Philistines. He placed Samson between two pillars. The Philistines wanted to humiliate Samson by putting this now defeated ruler on display. Instead of taking the glory for defeating his enemies, he acknowledges God for his strength. In his weakness he was no strong again. He knew from whom his strength had come. He knew from whom he had received this grace. And he allowed God to use him.
How many times have you gone the wrong direction. How many times have your decisions have ended up with “Well, it was a good idea at the time.” How many times have things gone south for you? God is here for you now. He is here to give you the strength for what you need today.
This is the strength you need. Physical strength is good. It’s great. But without the strength that comes from God, physical strength is only fleeting. God’s strength to us is forever. No matter how many times things have gone south for you. No matter how many times you’ve messed up. God is here to give you that strength you need. Just be ready to allow him to use you. Allow him through the power of Jesus Christ to use you for his glory.
And that’s one step forward to being a Spiritual Musclehead.