SAMSON OF HEBREWS 11
It goes without saying, that of the handfull of people that are listed in Hebrews 11, there is none as controversial as that of Samson. Most messages that I've heard on him leave the impression that this man was a failure, a failure that just happened to straighten out in the very end. As a matter of fact, it was a challenge to find anything among the moderns of a positive nature as I was preparing this message, for most writers had little good to say of him, and many went so far as to imply that it was a mistake that he was even mentioned in the 'Faith chapter' at all. Here is just a sample of what I came across....
"God had a purpose for Samson. He wanted Samson to rescue his people. But Samson became a complete failure. He should have brought honour to a holy God. Instead, his evil life brought dishonour to a holy God"
and from another source...
"Hebrews 11:32 states, And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:" It is strange to me that Samson is included in the hall of faith. It doesnt seem to me that Samson rates up there with Abraham, David, Noah, and so forth. It seems to me that Samson is not a person of faith because he broke all three commands given to him by God as a Nazarene."
And recently I came across a sermon from one of my favorite Christian writers, one that is normally one of the most gracious of writers. But not for Samson. Here is a list of some of the quotes I took from his sermon entitled, 'Samson: How To Fail as a Son'....
'one of the saddest stories in all the bible'
'a wasted opportunity'
a life of 'compromise and worldliness'
'a miserable failure'
'negative example of what a child should be'
'God turned his great defeat into victory'
'why was he such a failure as a person and a son?'
THE 3 MISTAKES THAT RUINED HIS LIFE...
1) Dishonered his parents (by marrying the woman from Timnath)
- 'grievous insult to parents and to God'
- 'dishonered them in every way'
-'is everything you wouldn't want your son to be'
- 'in conflict with the revealed word of God'
2) Defiled his person by eating the wrong meal (honey from the lion carcass)
- 'sinned grievously by eating the honey'
- 'was utterly undisciplined'
- 'was also wrong for using the 'jawbone', especially because it was 'new'
3) Defended his pride
- 'responded in the most arrogant and fleshly manner' (doesn't see the government and 'call')
Not very flattering words. It seems that the concensus among the majority today is that Samson was a man of little faith, or worse yet, not a man of faith at all, a man that failed for most of his life and somehow managed to repent in the end, thus squeaking into Hebrews 11 by the skin of his teeth. But something is amiss, for it was God that placed Samson among the giants of faith, listing him by name no less, and with God there are no mistakes. So why the controversy?
I would offer up a suggestion. I think the answer lies in the fact that although we acknowledge with our mouths that our right standing before God comes through faith, we sometimes inwardly hold on to the Old Covenant way, and that is the way of works. After 1400 years, the Jews found it difficult to fully believe that it was through faith that we received righteousness, and not through good works, or the absence of really bad ones. Our survey of Paul's letter to the Romans shows that this was the biggest hurdle for the Jews in accepting the gospel. And yet for us, it is not much better at times, for most of us that read the account of Samson see nothing but Delilah, and God's law being broken, and in the process, fail to see the incredible faith that this man had.
That is why I believe God's view of Samson is so different from many men that hold such a negative view of Samson. God understands us and sees us how we are.
Perspective is everything isn't it?. Had I been talking this morning of Abraham or Moses, I'd need only start into the many great feats of faith that were forged into their life's account, but in this case, it seems neccessary to show that he truly does belong in Hebrews 11, and also call into question the harsh judgements made by many on his life. I hope to do this in basically 2 ways...
1) To show Samson as one of the most prolific 'types' of Christ in the Old Testament. For it goes without saying, that if he is found as a clear picture or type of Christ, then the only conclusion that could be drawn, is that he would have to be a great man of faith, for God would not picture his Son through a faithless failure.
2) To show that Samson walked through his life with incredible faith, not just the last couple hours as many claim. Now the word is faith, not law. Heb 11 doesn't list the men that had the cleanest records (for otherwise David may have been excluded), nor the ones that played it safe and protected their reputations among men the best (for then the Pharisees would have been found here). Hebrews 11 is not nicknamed the 'Hall of Law Keeping'. It lists those that were sure of the unseen, who believed in God's promises, who had their praise from God and not men. (Rom 2:29)
So let's first take a look at who this Samson was, and begin to see that he was one of the most uniqe men of faith in all of Israel. Bear with me as the examples of his faith and how he types Christ will be intermingled throughout the message...
Samson was the last of Israel's judges who lived in the same time as Samuel. The days of the judges are listed as the darkest days of Israel's history, a time of great evil and faithlessness, and a time when, according to Jud 17:6, 'every man did what was right in his own eyes', a condition that makes the faith of Samson shine all the brighter, for it was a terrible time to be given the task of leading this nation. It was in this time when Israel was being oppressed by the cruel Phillistines for the wickedness that they themselves had committed, that God ordained Samson, before his birth, to begin the deliverance of his people, ( for David would finish it some years later).
Samson came from the tribe of Dan, and it was most likely Samson that the Lord had in mind when Jacob blessed the tribe of Dan as he was dying with this prophecy..."Dan shall judge his people..." (Gen 49:16).
One of the most fascinating things that set Samson apart from all others is the call upon his life, before he was even conceived, to be a nazarite from the time of his conception for Samson's mother was to keep it fulfilled as well) to the time of his death. He is the first Nazarite mentioned in all of scripture, and unlike others, his lifelong vow was ordained and commanded by God himself, making this Samson a most unique type of Christ, who was the fulfillment of the true separation of a nazarite. (Explain the nazarite vow, WINE, DEATH AND HAIR. and the fact that it was for LIFE). Samson's life and calling are very unusual and even appear odd at times, so it is important to see that Samson was set apart by God not so much to imitate, but rather to see a picture of the coming Saviour. Consider one commentator's words .....
"...but the truth is Samson himself was a riddle, a paradox of a man, who did that which was really great and good, by that which was seemingly weak and evil, because he was desinged not to be a pattern to us (who must walk by rule, not example), but a type of him who, though he knew no sin, was made sin for us, and appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh that he might condemn and destroy sin in the flesh."
Now because my time is far too short to include all the aspects of Samson himself and his life, let's look at some of the events in which God used Samson to be a type or foreshadow of Jesus Christ and the great faith he had to walk this incredibly difficult road of deliverer of Israel. (EXPLAIN BRIEFLY 'THE TYPE', the imperfect 'picture')
1) THE CALLING OF SAMSON (READ Chpt 13:1-5)
-Samson was chosen before he was born to begin Israel's deliverance. I believe he is the only man who shared this in common with the Lord.
-Samson's mother was barren. As was Isaac's, Jacob's, John's, and Samuel's. Type of the virgin birth.
-Samson's birth was announced to his mother by the 'angel of the Lord', who was most likely Christ preincarnate (vs 18 (wonderful) and 22), as was the Lord's by an angel to Mary. In Samson's case, we see an expressed special interest and favour from the beginning by God while being a paralell to Christ's own birth.
-His name. It means 'Sun'. Surely he would be a type of the Son and surely he would be a light shining in a very dark time.
Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings....
-He is called to be a deliverer, to begin the deliverance of Israel from their enemies. Samson will be a type of Christ in that Christ is the deliverer of His people, a 'man of war' as Moses called him in Ex 15. He will be one that God would have to strike out against his people's oppressors and bear the government on his shoulders (Is 9:6). Not a man with a normal soldier's calling, for God never once in scripture allowed him to use a conventional weapon of war (as the Lord didn't either, nor will at His second coming), but rather a public judge and ruler of Israel with a public commission from God. (comments on personal vengeance)
-He is called to be a nazarite for life. He is the first one mentioned in the bible, and the only lifelong nazarite who gets his commission from God himself. For all other nazarite vows were voluntary and usually only for a few weeks or months, but like Christ, Samson's calling was ordained from the beginning by the Father. I think it is amazing that so many miss this fact about Samson, that he was told by his parents that God had called him to be separated unto God for life as a Nazarite, and he believed them, and he believed God. That is faith. To hear the account from your parents and live out your entire life with that kind of discipline and zeal. It was a shame for a man to have long hair, for it was a sign of submission; a burden Samson carried for life. He must abstain from all food or drink from the vine for his entire life, basically depriving himself of the favorite foods and drink of his people for life as well. How long do we deny ourselves in this fashion out of zealous faith to be separate and sanctified for God's special service?
So we begin to see from the very start that Samson was different, set apart by God to be used for his purposes. His entry into the world was proclaimed from heaven itself. The favour of God was upon the Daanite, from the time before his conception. We must see these things to understand not only the man, but more importantly the special call on his life, and the special grace of God upon him to sustain him durring the most incredible demands that any man has ever had to endure. The paralells between his birth and the birth of our Lord are incomprable and undeniable as a type of Christ.
2) SAMSON TAKES A GENTILE BRIDE. (Chpt 14)
- The Spirit of the Lord had already, scripture says, began to move Samson at times (13:25). Given his calling, we can assume the Spirit moved him at times to reveal the darring, courage and most likely the strength (which God never promised at any time) that he would need to strike out against the Philistines. So now chpt 14 begins with Samson seeing a Phillistine woman in Timnath that he desires for a bride. Let's see how Samson types the Lord and exercises great faith as he does....
(READ 14:1-4) Here Samson asks his father for a gentile bride .Not very popular with parents, though Samson respects and involves them. Though debated, this marriage does not appear to be forbidden as the Phillistines weren't mentioned in (Deut 7:1-4) (comment on things not the normal, as in Rebecca's deceit)
-Types Christ who sought a gentile bride, not because of our worthiness, but because of his love for us ( younger sister was fairer 15:2)
-bring Israel to jealousy?
-Shows faith in pursuing that which was of God, but what men couldn't understand. As we will see, he sought praise from God over men, even mother and father.This is the first act of Israel's deliverance in his his taking a gentile bride (interesting paralell with the church) and we see Samson walking in faith according to the will of God
chpt 14:4: ' But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.'
3) DESTROYS THE LION IN THE VINEYARD. (READ 5-6)
-'in the vineyard' vs 5. Possible testing of his faith and obedience for he was a nazarite. (Note, given the extreme length of the vow, it is noteworthy that though alone here in a vineyard, he abstains. What an incredible obedience to parents and God and more so a faith in God!) Type: Christ in the wilderness: temptation and Satan roaring.
-'young lion'. not a cub, but in it's prime and most fierce state. Here we see the Spirit of the Lord comes 'mightily' upon Samson to destroy the beast with his bare hands as though he was a kid. Samson's faith and guidance from God will take him into some of the most dangerous places and situations that any man has ever come across, yet God was always faithful and his grace was Samson's strength. As we look at the many times in which the 'Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson', consider if it would be consistent with the rest of the Old Testament for God to do this if at the time Samson was acting contrary to God's will and in selfish, faithless acts of sin?
-Samson's killing of the lion could be a picture of Satan attacking Christ , for in that Satan attempted to destroy the Lord, through the Lord's victory over him He destroyed Satan and defeated death, thus the sweetness of the hope of the gospel and the resurrection that came from, or out of Satan's defeat. This passage also illustrates well that that in the conflict between the Lord and Satan, Satan is no match, but like a small goat against a mighty warrior.
-Samson's faith is shown as he takes on the lion with nothing in his hand (it is interesting that both the one that started, and the one that completed Israel's deliverance both slew a lion). The power of the Spirit of God is displayed as well as the faith of Samson in all his conquests, for not once in his life does he ever use a man-made weapon of war, though he accomplishes the greatest single-handed victories ever had by any man.
Zech 4:6 ...Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts
-Only a man of faith, one that knew the source of his strength was from God, and not himself, could have this kind of humility that he told no one of what he did, not even his parents who were but a little ways away. I think most young men wouldn't mind letting their dad know they had just ripped a lion apart with their bare hands, but Samson said nothing. He goes to see this woman who pleases him well, then leaves for a while as was customary. (compare with comments on Samson only taking her because of her looks. As well that her younger sister was more attractive)
4) THE WEDDING FEAST (FOUND IN VS 8-20)
-Types of Christ...........
-Samson comes to prepare the wedding feast as Christ the bridegroom prepares the wedding feast His mostly gentile bride, the church.
-Samson comes speaking 'dark sayings' or parables. Ps 78:2 prophecied that is what the Lord would do, and so he did. He came speaking in riddles or parables as he began his ministry that the Father gave him to do. We read in Matt 13:10
'And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.'
-So, after much pressure, Samson reveals the riddle of the honey in the lion to his gentile bride. Just as Christ took aside his disciples and privately shared the meaning of his parables. The honey out of the lion appears to be a picture of the gospel as already mentioned.
-Samson's bride tells the meaning of the riddle to her friends, who in turn receive new garments from Samson. Here the spreading of the gospel is typed, as the church, or bride of Christ shares the truth of Salvation and those that hear it with understanding receive new garments (which always picture salvation. See Zech chpt 3).
-Samson then leaves his bride in the care of a companion and goes back up to his father's house until the time of the harvest. Here is another amazing paralell to the events of Christ and the church, as the bride was left in the care of the Holy Spirit while Christ went up to his Father's house, and will return in what He called the time of the harvest (Matt 13:30-39).
Samson shows as an incredible type of Christ here, foreshadowing events in such detail as none others do in the Old Testament concerning the Lords marriage to the gentile church, all the while walking alone amongst those hostile to him as he fulfills the will of God. Has Samson acted in total sin and faithlessness, or does God have him move in peculiar ways for His own purposes?
5) SAMSON STRIKES OUT AGAINST ISRAEL'S ENEMIES AS THE GOD-APPOINTED DELIVERER (15:1-8)
- In response to the ill treatement he received from his father in law, Samson uses this as an opportunity strike out against the Phillistines, as the Lord had purposed back in Chpt 14:4
-Samson catches 300 foxes that he ties tail to tail on fire, then sends them out in this dry harvest time to destroy the Philistines crops. This man of faith fears not the consequence of such radical action, for who would be foolish enough not to expect immediate retribution from the oppressing and cruel Phillistines once this act was carried out? Who of us would run (LIKE DAVID TO GOLIATH AS WELL. SEEMS TO PICTURE CHRISTS IMPATIENT ZEAL) to the chance to strike out against the churches enemies, in any fashion, with this magnitude as a lone instigator and aggressor? Keep in mind that these actions were in no way a personal vendetta, but rather the obedient response to God's call on his life from birth to deliver Israel and act as a one man military (Rev 19: the saints follow behind their deliverer).
-The Phillistines respond by burning his wife and father-in-law with fire.
-Samson (vs 7-8) responds with a most amazing statement, that 'Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.' Are there many that compare to Samson when it comes to faith? God had told him that he would begin Israel's deliverance, and see how this man exercises the most incredible faith and zeal as he continues to pursue his enemies as the public judge of Israel! Not only does he declare another single-handed war is about to commence with the Phillistines, but has the faith in God's power to let them know that after he 'smotes them hip and thigh with a great slaughter', that he will cease his vengeance for the death of his wife! It is surreal, the faith that Samson exercised as Israel's lone deliverer.
6) ISRAEL'S BETRAYAL OF SAMSON. SAMSON'S SAVING OF ISRAEL.
-(vs 9-20) Here is found, in my opinion, one of the strongest acts of faith that Samson put forth of all. When we stop for a moment and consider the incredible grandeur of the type of Christ and the events of Christ's life that are pictured here, mingled with the attrocious treatment of the Jews against him, it makes one marvel at the endurring faith of Samson, and we can say in agreement with Heb 11:38 that of a surety, 'the world was not worthy of servants such as these'.
-Now we find Samson is resting in the cave of Etam, probably assured that the Phillistines would come for him, now that he had slaughtered many of them in an open, lop-sided war. Just as Christ had nowhere to lay his head, we never see Samson in a home, but instead always on the move as the Spirit of God led him. He may have done this even for the safety of the Jews. But as we see, it is not the Phillistines that take Samson initially, but his own people.
-3000 men of Judah (the strong tribe symbolized by the lion) approach Samson. Though they are gathered in this great multitude in the presence of their fearless, God-appointed deliverer, yet they come to bind him and hand him over to their enemies. Even in the presence of one such as Samson who has proved both willing and able to begin their deliverance, they would have nothing of the sort. How terrible that they despised their deliverer more than their enemies, yet it was so. They even rebuked Samson for his previous victories wrought for their very deliverance, saying he should have timidly submitted to their yoke as they had done. Yet Samson is unshaken in faith or zeal, though all those around him have abandoned him.
-The picture of Christ is incredibly clear and vivid....Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. Just as Samson's own people betray him here after the great darring and sacrifice he has already accomplished for them against their enemies, they respond by coming to hand him over to the Phillistines he is saving them from. And just as they promise to not kill him themselves, but hand him over to those that will do it with far more malice and cruelty, so was Jesus rejected by his own and handed over to the gentiles to be tortured and crucified. I can't escape God's sovereignty shown here as it is Samson that makes them promise they would not kill him themselves. From this can we gather that it was God's will that the Jews not kill Jesus themselves, but instead hand him over to the Romans? So it seems.
-So they bind Samson, their kinsmen and God-sent deliverer, and take him to the Phillistines. Consider yet again the great faith and meekness seen here in this Judge, for though it would have been as nothing to destroy those that came to bind him, he meekly submits and allows them to carry him away 'as a lamb to the slaughter', without so much as a complaint, or a skirmish. What a picture of Christ in the garden, who's very words levelled the Roman soldiers to the ground, yet meekly let those that were so much weaker, carry him away to be tortured and killed.
-When the Phillistines see him they 'shouted against him'. This great multitude of Phillistines see him bound by his own people, and they shout for they see their victory is secured. Think of what this would do to most men's spirit: you've just been taken by your own people and carried bound to a thousand screaming Phillistines who want nothing but your slow, painful death. You've no weapon. You're all alone. You've nothing but the God-given mandate to deliver the people that don't want to be saved. They are coming for you now. Screaming for your destruction. But 'where the Spirit is there is Liberty', and Samson's cords that bound him fell as though they were burnt flax, for the Spirit of the Lord came 'mightily upon him' . As three thousand from the tribe of Judah watch fearfully or run away, Samson reaches down and picks up a jawbone and with it slays a thousand men single-handedly. (How can Johnson criticize him for this?) Have we seen a picture like this in the entire Old Testament that speaks so strong that salvation is of the Lord, whose strength and might and fury none can withstand? Who better than Samson shows the wrath that Christ will bring against his enemies? Consider what is said in Isaiah 63:3-6....
3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.
Who has shown this part of the Lord clearer than Samson? This is the greatest single exploit of war in all of God's word ever carried out by a single man. Nothing else even comes close. One of David's mighties slew 300 with a spear. But no one has ever wrought such a victory, and that by himself, as Samson does here. And not only that, but he does it as 3000 of his countrymen watch, not one of them raising a finger to give him aid. I can see them watching silently from a distance as the one they brought bound to be slaughtered by their oppressors, in turn destroys every last Phillistine that came to kill him.
-In this one event, we see the most incredible picture of the first and second advent of the Lord displayed in one encounter as it was veiled in the Old Testament (just as is found in Isaiah 61:1-2, which the Lord spoke in the temple), he comes first as a lamb, then as a lion. What an encouragement to see a picture of the mercy He shows to his people, and the vengeance he takes on their enemies!
- As Samson strikes out in his last recorded great slaughter of Israel's foes in battle, we see the most amazing thing that Samson foreshadows of the coming Lion of Judah that no other man in the bible ever pictured but Samson, and that is this.....that Samson is never once in the very least, aided by a single person in the nation of Israel in the carrying out of their deliverance. He not only fulfills God's call without ever using a conventional weapon of war,he does it without the help of a single individual. This is one of the greatest pictures of our Lord that Samson shows, and he does it with the most uncomprable faith. He stood completely alone in the midst of his own people.
It is hard to tell how those that speak so negatively of Samson as a faithless failure can do so. His faith is unparalelled by any other man in Israel's history when it came to the act of deliverance of God's people, and he does so alone. What kind of faith is this, that finding himself alone against a thousand shouting Phillistines seeking his death, he yet reaches down and grabs a jawbone? And though those of his people around him murmur and turn on him, yet he keeps his eye on the Lord, and seeks victory. He is faithfull to his calling to deliver Israel. I wonder if Samson ever read Joshua 23:10.....
One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God,
he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.
Was Samson a miserable failure? Or is he here portrayed as a type of Christ fighting for his people? What an incredible passage.
7) THE MIDDLE 20 YEARS ARE MISSING
-Just like the account of the Lord's life, there is no record of the prime of Samson's life, other than that he judged his people, and in both cases it is approximately 20 years.
8) DELILAH'S BETRAYAL OF SAMSON
-As Samson was betrayed by Delilah for silver, so was Christ betrayed by a supposed friend for silver as well. It is incredible to see the similarities between Samson and Jesus as they allow one they know to be a deceiver and betrayer such close proximity and fellowship. Though Samson allowed this for different reasons, the paralell is fascinating. It is noteworthy that while Samson is, by many, often scorned for faithlessness and sin, consider the astonishing cruelty that surrounded Samson in every recorded event of his life, by the Phillistines as well as his own people. I for one can't help but feel sorry at times for one that was given such a path to walk in his day. No wonder the account says that Samson's 'soul was vexed unto death' as it said the same of Christ in the garden. It is hard to walk alone amidst the conflict, which is why so few choose to do so.
9) LASTLY, SAMSON AS HE TYPES THE LORD AND THE CROSS
-There are two events in Samson's life that type the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they serve as such a clear and vivid picture, that one can almost see Christ walking the very steps of Samson along side. It was to me a source of so much encouragement as God began to reveal these things in the life of Samson, for what is more encouraging to a believer than to see that God has declared the end from the beginning, He is in total control, and there is no reason to doubt or wonder if God can do what He promised. Consider Isaiah 46.....
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
When I see these things in the Old Testament, they give such confidence in God, for as we will see typed in Samson, that God had decided long ago how He would come and redeem mankind, and there was nothing, He says, that could prevent it.
-Let's first look at Judges 16:3. (read) It was this seemingly odd passage that got me started studying the life of Samson in the first place years ago. Why in the world, I asked, did Samson do this, for it is considered by many the single greatest act of strength ever carried out by a man for the gates, bar and all, would have been too much for most men, if not all, who ever lived, and yet they believe he carried them possibly 20 miles through sandy ground to the top of a hill overlooking Hebron ( I wish I had time to tell you about Hebron and its significance. city of refuge, Levitical city, Abraham's favorite dwelling place, the place where David was made king of all Israel). And why is this feat of all feats dropped between vs 2 and 4 for no explained reason?
-I believe that this is a picture of Jesus and the cross. The Phillistines thought they had Samson trapped in Gaza, but rather he comes down at midnight and rips the city gates right off, and carries them to the top of a hill outside the city. This can't be coincidental, for it is the exact same thing our Lord did with His cross. He put it on His shoulders, and carried it outside the city to the top of a hill.
-If we look at John 10:9 , Jesus says.......
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved...
So it is here, that Samson carries this great door and places it on the top of the hill outside the city. They thought this city of Gaza could contain him. But just as Gaza could not hold Samson, in essence so it is with the Lord. Death and hell could not hold him. He took the cross, or this great gate and carried it to the top of a hill where the great entrance to heaven could be seen. We need to see Christ carrying the cross as mighty Samson carrying the gate. Not week and feeble, but full of strength and power.
-And the last event I'd like to look at is Samson's greatest moment as a deliverer of his people. As you know, Samson was called by God to be a nazarite for his entire life. He was never to cut his hair. When Delilah betrayed him and his hair was cut, we read that the Spirit of God departed from him for a time. He lost his strength, had his eyes put out, was mocked and abused at the hands of his captors while they made sport of him. Then they brought him out to be a spectacle for all of them to see as they praised their god Dagon for the victory. Can you see Satan at this party laughing and stirring the people against the Lord's annointed?
-It was at this time that the Phillistines led Samson out in sight of all, and placed him between the two pillars. It was here that Samson asked God to strengthen him one last time. Samson believed in the Lord. It takes more faith to humbly come to God after great defeat, especially that of our own sins, than at any other, but he believed that God was the rewarder of those that diligently seek him, that he was the 'God of all grace', and so he was.
-Again, the type of Christ that Samson is here is hard to miss. Without being able to see, Samson is mocked and scorned by the Phillistines. Consider Luke 22:64....
And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?
-Christ willingly came to die as a man, he meekly put himself at the mercy of men that hated him. Samson lost his strength because the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him when his hair was cut, when he sinned by going against the separation of purity in the Nazarite vow. But the Spirit of God departed from Christ at the cross as he was made sin in our place, where he felt weakness and separation from the Father, after so long being separated unto the Father, so that he could be a high priest that understood the feeling of our infirmities....Mrk 15:34....
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
God heard Samson and gave him the strength to overcome his enemies, and as it returned, with outstretched arms, Samson laid down his life, just as Jesus would do at the cross. Consider the words of Jesus in John 10:18 concerning His life.....
'No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.'
And this is why no man could ever be a perfect picture of the Lord, for only he was without sin, only he had life within himself and of himself. But Samson helps us see the coming Deliverer, for with him there is no self pity, complaint or even asking God why he was given this lifelong burden to bear. From the beginning he was separated unto God to be a nazarite, a deliverer of God's people and a judge over them. Not one complaint, not one instance of shrinking back though always alone in his calling. And here at his death is no exception. Consider his request, 'God give me strength to finish what you gave me to do'. With head bowed and filled with strength, he feels the pillars with outstretched arms, and though blind without his eyes, I think that of all the men of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11, probably Samson, more than any other, was looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith.
What a picture of Jesus, who came and accomplished His greatest work of deliverance with outstretched arms. And as he laid down His life, accomplished the deliverance that would set his people free.
Now...... one last thing that I didn't mention about the Nazarites and their vows that I found of interest. In Numbers 6, we read that at the end of the time of their vow, when the time of this special separation unto God was complete, they were to do two things; first they were to have their heads shaved. And second, they were to offer up to God a sacrifice. Now, if anyone knew the demands of the Nazarite vow, it would be Samson. Look at the sacrifice that Samson offered up unto God from between the pillars.
He was the first Nazarite mentioned in the bible.
He was the only lifelong Nazarite ordained by God from before his birth.
He was the only Nazarite who offered up himself, as a sacrifice to God, with outstretched arms, to complete his vow and his calling.
He was the only one.... , except for Jesus.
Again, as I stated last week in the case of Abraham and Rebecca, I respect those that may disagree with me in respect to how the story of Samson is to be interpreted, for there are many. And there are many good points that can be made in warning of Samson's failures, as well as the encouragements of his victories. In keeping with last week's theme, I'd only ask that we look to the bible and ask God to show us the truth and give us the wisdom to see what He wants us to see.
I hope this morning I've done the smallest justice to show the faith of Samson. There is so much more to see were there time. But we make a terrible mistake if we look to these men in Hebrews 11 like Samson and compare ourselves with them. Don't make the mistake of looking at your faith and comparing it with Samson's, for Romans 12:3 tells us that God deals to every man in the church a measure of faith. Do as the writer of Hebrews exhorts you to do. Don't look unto Samson....... or David or Abraham. They are the cloud of witnesses that are testifying through the centuries that Jesus is able to save to the uttermost, just as he saved all of them. Only Jesus is the source, or author and finisher of our faith. So with eyes that can see, look to Him as Samson did. For it was Jesus that carried Samson, and it is Jesus that carries us that believe.