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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Judges 13:2425; 16:45, 1517, 1920, 2830comment (0)

August 2, 2012

By Douglas K. Wilson

Related Scripture: Judges 13:2425; 16:45, 1517, 1920, 2830


Explore the Bible 
Dean and Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile

TRIVIAL PURSUIT

Judges 13:24–25; 16:4–5, 15–17, 19–20, 28–30

God’s grace covers and cleanses us, but the consequences of our rebellious actions and attitudes may remain with us for life. Such is the case with Samson. This man was set apart for service to God before he was born. Throughout his life he honored the Nazirite vow (Num. 6:1–8) that his parents vowed for him (Judg. 13:4–5). As he neared his life’s end, he pursued trivial matters that ended up costing him his testimony, his dignity and his life.

Enabled by the Lord (13:24–25)
Many couples today experience great difficulty conceiving a child. Vast sums of money may be invested in medical procedures that end in miscarriage or without conception. Hopes are raised only to be crushed again.

Women in Scripture had few options: bear a child or be replaced by a fertile woman. For many of the women whose husbands chose not to take a second wife, the Scriptures record God’s blessing of a child to them in His timing: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth, to name a few. Manoah’s wife was among those “barren” women whom God chose to bless with a child. 

The Lord blessed Manoah and his wife with a son. He blessed Samson with superhuman strength. With blessing comes responsibility, and the text indicates that Samson’s parents faithfully trained him to follow the Lord. As God blesses believers and grants His grace, each follower of Christ has the responsibility to pass on those blessings to others.

Enticed to Trifle (16:4–5, 15–17)
In the intervening chapters Samson grows in strength and in his ability to protect the people of Israel. On numerous occasions he humiliates the Dagon-worshiping Philistines who have wreaked havoc on his people. His demonstrations of power boggle the imagination.

Then his mind begins to wander, as does his heart. Rather than loving God with all his heart, soul and strength, he allowed selfish passions to capture his imagination. The commitments of the Nazirite, so clearly defined in the Law, were replaced with temporal concerns of a man in the prime of his life.

Samson killed a lion and then returned to its carcass for honey. He made himself ceremonially unclean, visiting Philistine prostitutes. Finally he revealed to Delilah that his hair was the key to his strength. The Philistine temptress seduced him because he chose to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Blinded by Spiritual Insensitivity (16:19–20)
The judge’s lust had blinded him to Delilah’s treachery. He discovered that the Lord had left him when he tried to ward off the Philistines. He faced the humiliation of having his eyes gouged out. Samson, the great and powerful Israelite, was reduced to a sideshow attraction for Philistines as they worshiped the sea creature Dagon.

What will it take for you to be broken about your sin? You and I are in desperate need of God’s grace, yet we often live out our lives as if we have everything under control. We pursue useless pleasures. We play mindless games. We entertain ourselves without discernment. Will it take humiliation for us to repent?

Victorious Through Faith (16:28–30)
Samson believed God. He believed that God listened to prayer. He believed that God gave him strength. He believed that God would allow him to dislodge the load-bearing pillars and bring down the temple of Dagon. Even as he surrendered his life to the will of God, he believed that the Lord was with him once again.

Hebrews 11 indicates that Samson was a man of faith (11:32–34). Like the others listed in that chapter, he was a sinner looking forward to the coming Redeemer. Even in this, we have something to learn from the man who sought trivial pursuits.

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