Then Samson called to the Lord and said, 'O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.' Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left. And Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life. Then his brothers and all his father's household came down, took him, brought him up and buried him... in the tomb of Manoah his father. Thus he had judged Israel twenty years.
God's lineup shows a diversity of stars, but perhaps Samson was His biggest gamer. Like many guys today, he loved a good show. Some scholars denounce him as a weak-willed man, saying God can use even selfish sinners. But I believe they are selling Samson short.
Consider some of Samson's twists and turns:
1. Amidst a morally corrupt culture, Samson never denounced the Lord his God. His flesh was tempted, mostly by women, but he still loved his Lord, parents and kin.
2. His games included riddles and wagers, feigned weakness and pretended submission--like modern fighters and players today. Yet he was wise enough to be a judge.
3. Did God fuel his love for Philistine women? Judges 14:4 suggests that He did.** Did God ordain Samson's lady-troubles to free His people from Philistine rule?
4. Because God's one-man army did just that. Samson beat and cowed Israel's masters. No number of Philistine warriors could stop this brutally flippant hero.
5. Only the female wiles of Delilah could cut the power of Samson's resolve. So God's scissored judge was captured and maimed. But Samson scored his biggest win in death.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: What can you learn from Samson's story? Maybe God moves in ways we can't guess, and maybe He works through flawed heroes. Maybe their flaws are told to teach us, and maybe we better not snicker. Maybe we're not even half as brave as those who love and live to the max. Maybe Samson did the best he could and surely he ended with honor.
To Be Continued...
* Short article: A Study of Samson: Faith or Folly: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/911-study-of-samson-faith-and-folly-a
* Short article: What should we learn from the account of Samson and Delilah?http://www.gotquestions.org/Samson-and-Delilah.html
* Short, harsher article: What should we learn from the life of Samson? http://www.gotquestions.org/life-Samson.html
* Short, more compassionate article: Story of Samson, Story of Hope: http://www.godward.org/archives/special%20articles/story_of_samson.htm
** Judges 14:1-4 (NASB): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=judges+14%3A1-4&version=NASB
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Enemy's Game series.