The story of Samson is the story of lost possibility.  Unlike any other person in history, Samson was a Nazarite from birth.  Normally, when someone wanted to make a life vow to God, they would proclaim themselves a Nazarite and this would bind them by three things: they would not touch a dead animal, they would drink no drink made from grapes, and they would never cut their hair for the duration of the vow (see Num. 6 for details).  Samson was declared a Nazarite not by his own will but by his mother before he was born.  Maybe that was why he despised his vow.

Though chosen as a judge to save God’s people from their enemies, Samson was not by any means a “man of God”.  When we first meet him, Samson is pining after a foreign girl, something God has warned against repeatedly, for foreigners introduced idols and false teachings and drew good Jews away from God.  On the way, he is attacked by a lion and with his God-given strength (not normal for a Nazarite), he kills the lion, thereby touching a dead animal and breaking the first of his Nazarite vows.  Later as he returned to marry the Philistine, he took some honey out of the dead lion and gave it to his parents, making them unclean as well.

Next came the wedding feast, where the wine flowed freely.  Samson broke the second of his vows at his own wedding.  Finally, as the story progresses, his wife is killed and so Samson visits a prostitute who entices him to allow his head to be shaved, violating the third vow.  He cheats guests in his house, kills many, steals from them, burns down all of his enemies crops, and finally is blinded by them.

Yet through it all, God uses Samson to free His people.  Apparently God can use anyone to accomplish His will.  Maybe even you or me.

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