Samson. Aaah, Samson.
In Judges 14 he comes off the page to me as a larger-than-life contradiction. Read it. I suspect you’ll see it too.
Samson is a true enigma. A man used by God who also appears to use God. At least that’s what it looks like to me. His details in this chapter baffle me, starting with telling his parents to “get her for me” when he decides he wants a wife from the Philistines. Then the tearing apart of the lion, the eating of the honey, the posing of the riddle, the manipulative tears of his wife, the killing of 30 men, and finally Samson gives his wife to his best man. Again, Samson baffles me.
But then I have to ask why he baffles me. Why do I struggle with Samson?
Is it his insistence on what he wants, even when it is driven by what appears to be a simple lust of the eyes? But I am just like him sometimes. I see with my eyes only, then expect those around me to give me what I want. I am Samson.
Maybe it is the way that God’s purposes are working out in Samson, even though the details of his life leave me wondering at times if he even knows God? Then I hear the echo of my own life in that very description…God working through me though sometimes my life does anything but point to Him. I am Samson.
Perhaps my struggle with Samson is the way the power of God flows to and through him even when his choices cause others to suffer? He can’t keep his secret from his wife, so 30 men die as a consequence. Yet, I think of the times I preach or teach or counsel–God working through me in each instance. Then I go home and have no patience with my family. I yell at my wife. I justify my selfishness as a matter of collateral damage in service to Jesus. Others suffer as God uses me. I am Samson.
Yes, I am Samson. At least sometimes I am Samson. The funny thing is that the longer I live the more I realize that I can be Samson…I have been Samson…I am Samson, and even still I want to be someone else. I want to be more like Jesus and less like Samson, and that’s a good thing. Perhaps a bit simplistic or naive, but still a good thing. Actually, what is good about it is that I see myself in Samson, but I also see God in Samson.
To be sure, Samson’s foibles and frailties are his own…his contradictions are his and nobody else’s, but those moments of wisdom and power and justice…those are God’s. Samson shows me God through his brokenness, and I am grateful.
I see the same thing happening in my life. I am Samson.
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