God chose Samson before he was born to be set apart for the Lord. He was called to be a ‘Nazirite’ which included a vow not to have his hair cut. The Spirit of God came upon Samson, enabling him to do huge acts of strength. In his first recorded act, Samson tore a lion apart with his bare hands. On another occasion, he killed a thousand Philistines with a jawbone of a donkey. Later, leaving a prostitute’s house, he took hold of the gates of the city of Gaza, ran up a hill and left them at the top! Samson was known for his feats of strength and for beginning the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
Although Samson had great strength, he had terrible character weaknesses. He was controlled by ungodly sexual appetites, he confided in the wrong people, and used his gifts and abilities unwisely. Although Samson could strangle a lion with his bare hands, he could not handle the seduction of a woman. After three false starts, finally, he told Delilah the truth about where his strength actually lay. Samson fell into Delilah’s trap, and as a consequence, he had his eyes gouged out, and was thrown into a Gaza prison by the Philistines.
Samson wasted his life and used God’s gifts for selfish purposes. He also had a problem with pride and revenge. In spite of Samson’s failures, God still answered his final prayer, and gave supernatural strength back to Samson when he was brought out as a sport in the Philistines’ temple of Dagon. He pushed over the temple pillars, destroying the pagan temple and its worshippers, and died alongside the Philistines.
From this whole story, we can see that our character must be in front of our gifting. Our spiritual gifts always belong to God and are for His purposes alone. When God’s gifts are evident in a person’s life it is not necessarily proof of the person’s obedience to God. God does not remove the gifts He has given to His people nor the call on their life. The apostle Paul wrote that God hasn’t rejected His people Israel. He loves them and has still chosen them despite their opposition to the gospel (… for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable Romans 11:29, NIV). God’s presence with a person doesn’t mean He overrides their free will choices. How different Samson’s life could have been if he had been willing to learn from his mistakes and not to be seduced by pretty women!
Samson’s story also teaches us that God uses people in spite of their weaknesses or mistakes. What a gracious and merciful God we have! But let’s examine our own character today and be willing to learn from our mistakes.
Prayer: Father, we thank You that you were Samson’s God and You are our God today. We invite You to come and speak to us about our own character weakness that could potentially shipwreck our lives and ministries. Please teach us from the story of Samson how important it is that we are willing to be conformed into the character of Jesus Christ. Help us to make godly choices that will reinforce the spiritual gifts that You give us in order to empower us to do Your will and establish Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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