The story of Samson is one of the most mis-presented stories in all of scripture. Think about all you have been taught about Samson. Here’s the Sunday school version: he had long hair, it gave him strength, he was betrayed by a seductress named Delilah, captured by the evil Philistines, and then he prayed and God gave him strength to defeat his enemies. We consider it pushing the limits to tell the kids that the defeat was by pushing a few pillars over and bringing down a building on his enemies, and only the most risky teacher will mention that his enemies blinded him.
Unfortunately, for many this is the only version they learn of this story. We learn what we’re forced to learn in Sunday school and then we stop learning, stop reading, and just listen to a sermon or two. As Covenanters we claim to be People of the Book, so we really need to not only read the Book, but study it so we know what it says beyond our first-blush reading. And when we do, we learn the real story of Samson.
Throughout the book of Judges, we’ve seen the Sin Cycle (go back a few days for a description of this phenomenon) played out again and again. But rather than just cycling, history repeating itself, we find that each time through the cycle the victories are a little less effective, the people are quicker to turn away, and the judges are less and less Godly. Samson is the last judge of the book, and so is the least Godly of them all. In fact, this guy is a terrible person.
Yet God used him to bring salvation to his people. In fact, all of the judges brought salvation to their people, saving them from their enemies. In that way, each of them was a precursor to Jesus. Does that mean that we are called to be postcursor’s of Christ? To reflect Him in our behaviors, our lifestyles, our worldviews, and our relationships? Yes, it does, and we can take comfort from the fact that the judges, though varying in their Godliness, were used by God for His will. No matter your level of Godliness, God can use you, too. Whether untrusted like Deborah, anxious and fearful like Gideon, rash like Jephthah, or just a terrible person like Samson (more tomorrow), God can use you. Your job is to be open to God’s will and prepared to follow wherever He may lead.