Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Sep 19 2011 - E100.29c – Judges 16, Delilah, defeat and death

Samson is a comic book hero. When trapped in gated Gaza where he has been visiting a prostitute he pulls gates and gateposts out of the city wall and carries them 30 miles to Hebron where he leaves them perched upon the top of a hill as a trophy for all to see.

But Samson is also a tragic figure whose weakness for women gets him into continual trouble. Delilah's duplicity leads to his capture. Samson has revealed that his strength lies in his hair, the symbol of his devotion to the Lord as a Nazirite. When his hair is shaved he becomes like any other man and is taken captive by the Philistines. His eyes are gouged out and he is sentenced to hard labour in a Philistine prison.

There Samson's hair begins to grow again. The Philistines seem aware that his strength is returning – when he is led into the temple of their god it is that he might "perform" for the crowds. And perform he does; crying upon the Lord for strength, he pushes apart the main pillars of the temple and brings the roof down upon himself and thousands of celebrating Philistines.

Samson was a man of his time; he reflects the compromised obedience of Israel. It's easy for us to find fault with his "devotion" to the Lord. But are our lives really so very different? Our sins may not be as obvious as those of larger-than-life Samson but are they any the less real? Is our devotion to the Lord less compromised?

Samson's life challenges us to consider what it would mean for us to be truly devoted to the Lord, and in doing so it points us to Jesus.

Holy God, I find it easy to identify the faults in others and to point out the inconsistencies in their profession of devotion to you. Help me to deal with the plank in my own eye. You have said, "The people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32). Increase my knowledge of you and single-minded devotion to you.

Peter Misselbrook