Hi, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me.”
Continuing our survey of Old Testament stories, today we look at with Samson, a leader of Israel when the Philistine army oppressed the Israelites and occupied their land.
Samson was a Nazrite, dedicated to God from birth, and he had superpower strength as long as he didn’t cut his hair. He used his strength to harass and annoy the Philistine oppressors. He was also a womanizer with a volatile temper, and he preferred Philistine women over the local Israelite girls.
At one point when he was engaged to a Philistine, things went badly wrong at the wedding feast, and the bride ended up marrying one of his companions. For revenge, Samson used his strength to collect 300 foxes. He tied them together tail to tail in pairs, attached a torch to each pair of tails, and sent them into the Philistine fields of corn and olives and grapes.
Later, Samson met his match when he fell in love with the Philistine lady, Delilah. She begged him to tell her the secret of his strength until he couldn’t resist. Then she cut off his hair while he was sleeping, and called the Philistines to capture him. Samson wasn’t aware that his hair was cut, that his Nazrite vow was broken, and that God had left him. He started using his great strength to avoid capture, but he was weak. So the Philistines threw him in prison, gouged out his eyes, and set him to grinding corn.
Then the Philistines leaders celebrated their victory over Samson and his God by holding a great feast in the temple of their god, Dagon. They brought Samson to the feast in chains and put him on display. Samson leaned against the pillars of the temple and prayed, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, give me strength just once more, and let me get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then he pushed on the pillars, collapsing the temple, and killing himself and 3000 Philistines. It looks like God answered his prayer for revenge.
Our father in heaven, Samson’s story reminds us of our world today. Like him, many leaders of your people — priests and pastors and prophets and television personalities — have corrupted their ministries with sexual sin and personal vendettas and the love of money. Why do you let this go on, God, don’t you want to protect your name from those who promise to serve you, but end up serving their own appetites and their own anger?
And God, we see your story in the life of Samson. For in the end, Samson accepted his own death in order to deliver your people from their enemies. Is there another saviour you appointed, who chose his own death to save your people?
We pray that you will help us not to follow Samson’s example of service to you. You honored him with the strength of your spirit, and sent him to deliver your people. But as he used the gift you gave him, he walked deeper and deeper into personal sin and chaos. As we serve you, help us to grow in righteousness, that our death may be honorable and that we may receive a rich welcome into your kingdom (2 Peter 1:11).
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.