Meet Samson. Strong Man or ?
15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” 16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.
17 So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”
18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him.[c] And his strength left him.
Samson, well you’ve all heard of me, a man of privilege, great strength, dedicated to serve God, and save Israel, and of course not forgetting my 20 years as a Judge and ruler. Excellent CV, all things considered, so I hope you’re really impressed!
I’m known for my feats of strength, and especially my long hair, which must never be cut, my hair is the secret of my strength, or is it?
Samson’s story is in the book of Judges at a time when Israel had no king and everyone did as they wanted, where Judges ruled the land. An angel appears to Samson’s mother and tells her, “Your son’s hair must never be cut, for he shall be a Nazirite, a special servant of God from the time of his birth; and he will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines”. (Judges13-16)
Samson was dedicated to God from birth and as he grew he became full of physical strength and his fame spread before him. He was one of twelve men and women whom God chose to deliver Israel from her oppressors. These Judges, including Samson were not perfect; in fact, they were all fallible.
Fallible, well, Samson was surely that! He violated his vows to God on many occasions by abandoning his wife to - be, at the altar, murdering 30 men, deceiving and manipulating others, and seeking prostitutes.
Then Samson met Delilah, with whom he fell in love giving away to her the secret of his ‘strength’, his long hair. His hair was cut, his strength failed, his eyes were gouged out and he became a slave to the Philistines.
Some CV now, you might say! Where is God in all this?
Right in it all with Samson: we can almost hear him say, despite my rebellious behaviour, God stayed with me. Despite my promiscuous behaviour, God stayed with me.
Despite my consorting with all the wrong people, using my gifts and abilities unwisely God remained with me. Despite my betrayal of Him with Delilah he remained with me.
He answered my prayer that the Pagan temple would fall. Even as it did, I knew that my strength was in God and God alone, no question. Some CV indeed.
Lord when our strength fails us, hold us up.
When our hearts quail within us, fill us with your courage.
When the finger of temptation beckons, be our Redeemer.
When we imagine, we can do it all in our own strength, draw alongside and remind us of who you are.
You are our strength and our Redeemer.