March 16, 2022
Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival. We pray from a place of weakness. We pray from a place of desperation. Sometimes we pray from a place of failure. Thankfully our God hears each and every cry.
As we move through Hebrews 11 together, Samson is the next person listed, and he knew what it was to be heard by God. Sometimes he prayed from a place of self-brought-on disaster, but he found that God was always there.
From God’s perspective, he was a man of faith.
Like all of us, his life was made up of a mixture of successes and failures. The battle of faith is first fought in the recesses of the mind before it is visible externally. This inner struggle is real in every life.
In Samson’s case, more often than not his failures are highlighted and the successes minimized. When God speaks about him in the New Testament, He speaks about a side of him that we often forget — his faith!
His story is found in the book of Judges, from chapter 13 to 16.
Samson’s physical strength came from God. It wasn’t that he went to the gym every day and lifted weights until he looked like the hulk. No, he was a nazarite, meaning, he was consecrated by God for a specific purpose. In this case, it wasn’t the normal voluntary choice of the person (Numbers 6), but rather God had dedicated him from birth to Himself. As long as Samson stayed away from strong drink and anything unclean, and never cut his hair, he would be a nazarite and have special strength from God (Judges 13:7).
Throughout his life, there were a number of occasions we see his strength exhibited against the Philistines who controlled Israel for 40 years (Judges 13:1). Each time it happened, it was an act of faith because he had to rely on God and not on himself.
Here are two examples:
Samson found a jawbone and 1,000 of his enemies were killed (Judges 15:14-17). He was bound with strong cords when his own Israelite rulers planned to turn him over to the enemy. God had different plans, and the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him. He snapped the cords, he saw a jawbone, and he used it as a weapon to bring down the enemy.
God used Samson that day to bring about victory for His people. A piece of bone is not your normal weapon when fighting against men with swords and spears. But Samson was relying on God, and God used him mightily.
What is in your hand today that God can use? If you are surrendered to Him, He can use the smallest of things for His glory. When you have faith in God, He can use the most unlikely of things to bring about glory to himself. It may be your personality, a skill that you have developed, an interest that leads you into the life of someone in need, a sphere where there are no other people of faith, or any number of things or combination of things. Keep relying on God and He will use what you have.
The second incident brings us to the last scene of Samson’s life. He found two pillars and 3,000 died with him (Judges 16:23-31). It was in the temple of Dagon, the Philistine god of fertility. They gloated in the fact that their god was greater than the God of Samson.
Samson was a prisoner at this point. His eyes had been gouged out, he was bound with bronze shackles, and he was thrust into a grinding mill. His hair had been shaved off, but now it had grown back.
A young man led him to the main pillars that held up the building so that the Philistines could mock him. Samson called to the LORD for renewed strength as he pushed them apart and the whole building collapsed, bringing carnage and death to all inside (Judges 16:28).
We may view Samson as a colossal failure, but that day, God used him to end the Philistine oppression and defeat His enemies magnificently. How gracious of God!
God can use even our failures to accomplish His purposes. It is a great comfort to know that He is able to work out His purposes through us, to accomplish great things by us, when we call upon Him from our low place of weakness. Be encouraged that God is not finished with you and will work through you right to the very end. It is the kind of God we have.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6).
How very great a God He is!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel