(Just a note, this article is a re-post from a couple years ago. But this is its first appearance on this blog.)
Of all the sermons I’ve ever heard about Samson, pretty much all of them cast him in a negative light. The message is usually about sin, saying how it will “bind us, blind us, and lead us into bondage.”
Also, I recently watched a Christian movie. It was good. The main character was a man whose life was falling apart, then he came to faith in Christ and things got better. The thing with most of these movies is that they always end right there. They never broach the subject of what happens when the Christian sins again, or when he falls into despair on the other side of the cross.
Lately I have been very conscious of my own personal failure. As a Christian, as a man, as a husband, as a father. It’s been very difficult. My thoughts have gone to thinking about Samon. The fact that just about every sermon you hear in the churches today about Samson casts him in a negative light, making a bad example of his life, pretty much confirms to me that Samson is considered by most people as a failure. He was given anointing, power, authority, insight, and yet he seemed to squander so much of it. He did some good things with it, but the bad things are many in number as well.
But have you ever considered what was God’s final word on Samson? The final mention made of Samson in the scriptures is found in the letter to the Hebrews. It is very simple. It basically says, “by faith he overcame.”
Maybe somewhere one of the apostles made an example out of Samson to teach believers about sin, but in the small record we have I dont see that anyone ever did. What I do see is Samson being named among the list of the righteous, one of many who through faith “obtained promises, subdued kingdoms” and so forth.
This is comforting to me. Even in the Old Testament record of Samson’s life, though we see plenty of Samson’s personal failures, we see in the end, transcending it all, a revelation of Christ. For when Samson was led by the hand of a servant boy to the pillars of the Philistine temple, he prayed once more for God’s strength to turn back the hand of the enemy. The walls came crashing down on them all, and of Samson it was said that “in his death he slew more than he did in his life.” What is this but a picture of Christ, who in the days of his flesh “went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed of the devil” but who, in his death on the cross, destroyed all the wickedness of a fallen creation for all of time?
So, as I said, this is comforting to me. The great lesson of Samson’s life is not sin but faith. Through his failure, he believed. He fell, but he rose again. And again. And again. When I look at the story of Samson I am reminded of the proverb which says, “The righteous man may fall seven times, but he gets back up every time.”
When you have fallen, when you find it hard to believe the gospel in the light of your own failures, and when you are tempted to give in to the voice of the enemy, so convincing in the moment of temptation, that tells you to identify with the old man who was crucified with Christ upon the cross, think of Samson. Remember God’s final word on a failure.
“By faith he overcame.”