Samson. Most people know about Samson as the man with the long hair that made him strong. They also know that he fell in love with a woman that deceived him. But there is so much more…
Samson was a man born to live as a Nazarite- following strictly to a set of standards. From the very beginning the Bible says that the Spirit of God was working on him- in the womb and childhood. But something else was also working greatly in him. Lust. It consumed him. He was a Nazarite- an Israelite- yet he continually fell in love with these other women, women from another people group. It wasn’t just that these women were from a different people group, it was that they were pagan and evil. He fell in love with the enemy. The first one was a daughter of Timnah. At the wedding feast, he gave a riddle to the guests to solve. Because they couldn’t solve it, the his bride became angry. By the end of the feast Samson killed thirty of the men. [don’t focus on that Samson kills…not yet at least]. He later finds a prostitute…something not exactly kosher in the Nazarite vow. She as, yet again, from the enemy people the Philistines. While he was with her, the men of the town decided they’d kill him. Samson in turn killed all of the conspirators. And yet once more, Samson fell in love with a Philistine woman- the famous Delilah. I would bet that she didn’t love him at all. She simply was there to deceive and betray for the Philistines to defeat their greatest enemy, Samson.
One thing was for certain- God was with Samson regardless of his mistakes. On three known occasions he had relations with Philistine women, a pagan, evil, unclean people that the Israelites and especially, a Nazarite, were to avoid. But every time before and after Samson made the mistake of doing something stupid, the Bible says that the Spirit came upon him with power. God had a reason for using Samson. He was born to live as a Nazarite and have the greatest strength of any man- basically supernatural. He was able to kill a lion: “when he got to the vineyard of Timnah, a young lion came at him, roaring. The Spirit of God came upon him powerfully and he ripped it open barehanded” [Judges 14:5-6]. Wow. Other times Judges 14-16, Samson, without struggle, kills men- not single fits, but large groups of men. These men were not innocent either…they were the enemy of Israel and scheming to kill Samson with opportunity would come. But every time the Spirit of God empowered him…well almost.
Samson, consumed by his lust, finally gave into the deception of Delilah. He wanted her so bad, that he caved. He gave Delilah the secret to his strength, which was also the method of God’s punishment on the evil’s of the Philistines. His hair had never been touched with a razor, never cut. When he had fallen asleep, Delilah had the Philistine men come and cut his hair. Judges 16 says that he immediately grew weak. And worse…”he didn’t realize that God had abandoned him”. Other translations, more accurately, say that “the Spirit of God left Samson and he didn’t realize it”. The point is that the moment he let his lust consume him and take control of his life, disallowing for God to lead him, things changed. And worse he got to a point where he had no idea that God’s anointing on his life was gone. He had no idea that God was no longer with him- no longer would put up with his behavior and no longer allow for his lust to interfere.
I never want to get to the point where God leaves me. I never want to get to the point where the Spirit can no longer work in my life because of my sin and selfishness. And much much worse, I never want to be so far off that God’s Spirit and anointing can longer dwell in my life because of how corrupt my heart has become. Samson was lost, so it seems. He was betrayed by the woman he loved. His eyes were gouged out and he was humiliated in front of the entire Philistine people. I wonder how he felt? When did he finally realize that God’s Spirit was no longer with him? But God’s grace, again goes so far. Samson cried out to God, asking for one more chance. Oh the beauty of God’s grace. God’s spirit came upon him once more, and Samson died that day after pulling down the pillars killing all the people within the building. “He killed more people in his death than he had killed in his life.” [Judges 16:30]
God returned to Samson. After betrayal and rejection. After lust. After selfishness. After pride. God returned. His grace- his Spirit- gave Samson more power than ever before in his last moments, proving that he is faithful. Though I hope I never reach the point where God’s Spirit leaves me, I hope that if I ever walk away or betray my God, that he returns with love and grace and power.