This is part 1 of a 2-part series of reflections on the sermon I heard last Sunday. For a while now, we’ve been going through the book of Judges and we immersed ourselves in the story of Samson on Sunday. By the end of the service, we’d read 7 verses in Judges chapter 13, the whole of chapters 14 and 15, and most of chapter 16. That’s immersion.
Reading all that at one go, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How is it that Samson is considered one of the faith giants in the Old Testament??” Here was a man with a weakness for pagan women. In chapters 14-16 we have the abbreviated account of his life as judge—he was judge for 20 years—and each episode has a Philistine woman as a supporting character. His death does not directly figure a woman, but the (in)famous Delilah was partly responsible for his predicament.
Some things struck me about the story of Samson. Like, how does one sleep while one’s hair is being woven in a loom? Why doesn’t Delilah shave his hair herself? The Bible is clear that on the previous occasions she herself tied him up, tied him up again, and wove his hair in a loom. However, she “…called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair…” I wonder what the significance of that is. In addition, I was also taken by Samson’s poetic ways– not exactly what you’d expect from a Philistine-killer.
On the serious side, these things were written as examples and warnings for us, that we may not fall into the same sins.
I also noted some things about God. God is pure and holy. So why does it seem He was using not-entirely above-the-board methods? I remember reading that during the period of the Judges, “God wasn’t averse to bringing about states of affairs that did not conform to His revealed will in order to achieve some wise purpose.” In addition, God’s motives and actions are never tainted by sin, as are ours. So, even if He seems to be doing something “sneaky”, we can be sure that He has His glory our and best interest at heart.
His grace is also abundant. Samson prayed just before his death that God remember and strengthen him. And God answered him. The Bible notes that “…he killed many more when he died than when he lived.” Apparently, that grace was also extended to his formerly barren mother—his “brothers and his father’s whole family” buried him.
Thank God for His wonderful gift!