Samson – Hero of Strength and Weakness

“Then Samson prayed to the Lord, ‘O Sovereign Lord, remember me.’” (Judges 16:28)

There has never been a hero of the faith who did not possess flaws – the curse of sin affects even the most righteous of God’s warriors.  But there is perhaps no hero in the Bible with deeper moral and spiritual weaknesses than Samson, a fact made all the more tragic and ironic by his great physical strength.  How can such a man still be considered a hero of the faith?  Because his spiritual strength, like his physical strength, ultimately comes from God alone.

While Samson obeys the explicit instruction for living as a Nazirite, he tends to flout the other commands that God’s people had been given.  He certainly seems to have a weakness for women, especially those women outside the faith community – something that God had forbidden because of the spiritual danger that results from domestic life with the worshipper of a pagan religion.  His lust, along with his rage and arrogance, transform him into a “tragic hero” as he deals with the consequences of his sinful behavior.

And yet, it is when Samson is brought to his lowest point that God gives him his most glorious triumph yet.  Blinded by the Philistines, Samson finally sees God as the true source of his power.  Imprisoned by his adversaries, Samson is finally free to serve God wholly and selflessly.  Humiliated by his foes, Samson finally achieves glory like never before – for His great God in whom the Israelites have always found deliverance.  It is God’s grace – not Samson’s physical strength – that delivers His people from bondage.  And it is God’s grace – not Samson’s own spiritual strength – that delivers Samson from his own sin as he turns once again to God in faith.

Ultimately, like Samson, we must face the reality that we are weak and blind, imprisoned by sin and powerless to do any good without God’s Spirit.  Samson is one of the greatest heroes of the faith precisely because he shows us that being a spiritual hero is not about our own strength or deeds, but about trusting in the Lord for strength and deliverance.  Like Samson, we must turn to our God in the midst of our spiritual prison and pray, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me!”  Let us show the world that our trust is in the merciful God who has always rescued his people from bondage and death, freely giving them life and renewal by His grace.  That is the way of the hero.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

Prayer: Lord God, gracious Father, my strength and deliverance are found in You alone.  Let Your Holy Spirit be with me, giving me the strength to do Your will.  Let me always glorify Your name by telling the world how the weakness of our flesh and the corruption of our sin have been crushed and defeated by the power of the cross, through Jesus Christ, my risen Lord.  Amen.