Samson, meaning “of the sun”, after 20 years is the last of the judges. And what a story we have today! This is the stuff of the movies…Samson and Delilah – 1949, 1996, 2009.
Samson and Delilah…it is really easy for many to pin Samson’s downfall on Delilah – make no mistake, she’s not innocent here but the main point of this story is about Samson and his foibles. To really understand this you need to remember that Samson’s birth was announced by an angel of the Lord…only a few others fall into this distinctive category – Isaac, John the Baptist and Jesus. Dedicated from birth to be a Nazarite – dedicated to God…Samson is given supernatural strength from God, to begin the deliverance of the people of Israel from the Philistines. But, like we read a few days ago, the things we idolize can lead us astray. Here, it was Samson’s weakness for the Philistine women that did him in. His passion for women was more important to him than God’s expressed will.
Delilah may have been cunning in her actions but the focus of this story is on Samson and, for me the saddest verse in all we read today is this, “But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” Samson thought his strength was in his hair…he was not able to see his dependence on God’s grace. Samson saw his strength as entitlement and not as a gift of God’s mercy. He had a view of God that was “magical”, and idolatrous.
“But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” In the end, though we see the dawning of a new sun…we learn that God would rather forgive than judge and that God indeed saw Samson as a man of faith. Grace and truth completely and lovingly balanced in this story. If you need further proof…you will find Samson listed in the “Great Hall of Faith” in the book of Hebrews…When we read through the list of names recorded there, we find that no one in the “hall of faith” was perfect. Now this…this is something for the movies!