“And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords (of the Philistines), and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life… And he judged Israel twenty years.” -Judges 16:30-31
The old Testament is filled with stories that seem very disconnected with us culturally and religiously. Samson is no exception. His life seems to be a series of moral failures and yet God sovereignly uses him to punish the Philistines (though never totally subdue them). When we read of one of God’s wild men in the Bible, we may be tempted to convince ourselves that we can live inconsistently and still be used of God. But listen to C. I. Scofield’s observation about Samson’s life…
The character and work of Samson are alike enigmatical. Announced by an
angel he was a Nazarite who constantly defiled his Nazarite separation through
fleshly appetites. Called of God to judge Israel, and endued wonderfully with
the Spirit, he wrought no abiding work for Israel and perished in captivity to
his enemies the Philistines. What was real in the man was his mighty faith in
Jehovah in a time of doubt and apostasy, and this faith God honored.
Because Samson had a mighty faith in God, he was used to temporarily punish the Philistines. But because Samson gave himself to the power of the flesh so often, he was never used to actually lead Israel into national revival or to defeat the Philistines in a final sense. The only tribute to his life was a pile of bodies, including his own. He broke his parents’ heart, disrespected his wives, misrepresented his nation, and devalued his Nazarite calling.
Let us never think that there is any thing good to come of our flesh. Let us instead give our lives to the struggle for consistency. The calling of a Nazarite was to a life separate from the world, the flesh, and the pleasures thereof. It was a picture of the high and holy calling of every believer in Christ. We are not called to compromise, but to consecration. May God use us to subdue the enemy and to lead our nation in revival through a holy and separated life.