This is a sermon I preached at Providence Church on September 16, 2007. The theme for this series is “Christ the Divine Warrior.” May the Lord bless you with it.
There is probably no more colorful, exciting or puzzling story in all the Bible than that of the judge Samson. I remember having my imagination captured by the strongman Samson as a child in Sunday School. He was the hero who slew a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, who ripped apart a lion with his bare hands, and who brought down a whole temple by single-handedly knocking over its columns. And then there is the riddle contest and the revenge with the 300 foxes tied together with torches and set loose to burn down the grain fields of the Philistines. Yet I also remember hearing about Samson losing his great strength when Delilah tricked him into having his hair cut, and I remember hearing about Samson becoming enslaved and being ridiculed by the Philistines. These stories capture the imaginations of children and adults alike, but what does it all mean? Is this Samson something like a Hebrew G.I. Joe? Or was he a superhero for a biblical comic strip, like a pre-incarnate Bibleman?
Most Sunday School lessons and sermons on Samson focus on the moral lessons of his life. How did Samson blow it morally and spiritually? And how can I avoid doing the same thing? (Sermon title: “From Hero to Zero”). This is a pretty typical approach to OT narrative, but this is the error of pietism. The pietistic approach to the Bible sees everything the Bible teaches, OT stories and all, as having to do with spiritual and moral lessons about my own personal walk with the Lord and what goes on within the confines of my own heart. So, for example, pietistic preaching on the passage we took up in Joshua last week has the battle of Jericho being about tearing down the walls in your life that stand between you and spiritual success. Likewise, a pietistic approach to Samson sees moral and spiritual failures everywhere in Samson’s life and looks for NT commands that will keep me from doing the same. It assumes that the Bible basically has a moralistic stance – that is, that the primary purpose of the Bible is to show how I can be good rather than showing me how the gospel saves me from my goodness. In the case of Samson, again, it becomes all about Samson’s great moral failures that are such a bad example for us. But the stubborn fact is that Samson appears in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11. Samson is listed among the great cloud of witnesses who are urging us forward to faithfulness to Christ. Samson, in the eyes of the NT, is not a failure figure but a hero of the faith. Simply finding moral failures in the life of Samson (plentiful though they may be!) simply won’t do.
The key is to remember that the whole Bible is the story of Jesus Christ. The whole Bible, and not just the NT but both testaments, is unified in showing us the person and work of Jesus Christ in the world. The purpose of Samson’s life story in the book of Judges has to do with the Lord Jesus Christ and His story of leading the people of God to victory as the Divine Warrior on a campaign to recapture the lost domain of His Father. The OT teaches us about the coming of the kingdom of God; it’s a blueprint for the victory of the Divine Warrior as He establishes the kingdom of His Father and restores creation and His lost image bearers. So when we look at Samson, we see Christ and His mighty conquest as the Seed of the woman crushing the cranium of the seed of the serpent. When we look at Samson, we see a great triumph that was finalized and completed on Calvary at the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Well, let’s get more specific. We find the story of Samson in the book of Judges chapters 13-16. It’s a vividly narrated, engrossing story that reaches from before Samson’s birth, with an angelic visit to his parents in chapter 13, through 20 years of serving as judge to his tragic death in chapter 16, which sealed his victory. How does this story of Samson show us the triumph of the Divine Warrior, Jesus Christ, and His kingdom? My answer is the thesis for my sermon today. It is this: every victory under the leadership of one of the judges is a saving act of God in which God defeats His foes and establishes His people in their inheritance, thus establishing His kingdom. Here’s what’s unique about Samson. The story of Samson shows how God can do this mighty act through one man equipped by the Holy Spirit.
The books of Joshua and Judges are the story of how the people of the promise, Israel, are led by God as their King to conquer and settle the land of promise, Canaan. God had promised Canaan to Israel as their inheritance. All the way back in God’s original covenant promise to Abraham in Gen 12, God promised a land for Abraham. Isaac and Jacob dwelled in that land that God had promised, and many centuries later after the triumph of the Exodus Abraham’s descendents returned to the land as a great nation ready to receive their rightful inheritance from the Lord. Joshua led them into the land so that they could live there as God’s kingdom on earth, His people in His place under His rule. This would be where the Divine Warrior would have a beachhead in the world to launch out and wage holy war and retake the whole world as His kingdom. The land of Canaan that Israel inherited after the Divine Warrior won it for them is a picture of God’s whole plan – which is for the Divine Warrior to receive His inheritance of the whole world and settle His renewed image bearers in it.
Today, the Divine Warrior, Christ Jesus, is resettling His people, His nation, the church, in the whole earth (which is His rightful inheritance according to Psalm 2) so that all of creation is once again a sanctuary of worship and a domain for the Living God and for His special creation, His image bearers, mankind. The meek shall inherit the earth. Christ is receiving His inheritance, and the Father is including us with Him, just as He included Israel in Canaan. The Promised Land is a picture of that ultimate inheritance of the whole earth. Canaan is a snapshot of the ultimate kingdom of God, and the conquering of the land is a picture of the ultimate conquering work of the Messiah who rules the earth through the triumph of the gospel and the completion of the Great Commission.
So Israel enters the land under Joshua because it is their inheritance. But there is a problem that delays the whole redemptive assault plan of God on the fallen world. Israel failed to do what the Lord commanded them to do. The Lord had commanded them to utterly cleanse the land, to wipe out every living thing and not to make peace with the inhabitants of the land, who were idolaters and lawbreakers, because Israel would become infected with their uncleanness, and their inheritance would be spoiled. The Book of Judges is the sorry record of that failure. Each tribe settled on their portion of the land, and one by one each tribe was infected by the idolatry and immorality of the Canaanites. So there is this familiar cycle in Judges: Israel falls into idolatry of the Canaanites and Philistines (especially through Baal worship); then God judges Israel by giving them over to their enemies. But then Israel cries out to the Lord for deliverance, and God raises up a judge, or deliverer, to come and lead them to victory over their enemies. The judges, then, Ehud and Gideon and Othniel and Jephthah, are pictures, images, of the ultimate Judge, the ultimate Deliverer, the ultimate Divine Warrior, who would lead God’s people to victory over the seed of the serpent and over death and sin. Every victory under the leadership of one of the judges is a saving act of God in which God defeats His foes and establishes His people in their inheritance, thus establishing His kingdom. God had led whole armies to victory in the book of Joshua. Under Gideon, God showed that He could win a great victory with just a few hundred men. Now through the story of Samson God shows how He can achieve this mighty act of triumph through just one man equipped by the Holy Spirit. That man is Samson.
When we read the story of Samson, we are meant to see more than an exciting story of a warrior living in the 13th c. B.C. We are meant to look at Samson and see what he signifies, or I should say “whom” he signifies. This is to say that Samson is a type for two things.
First, Samson is a type of the nation of Israel. The author of Judges is showing Israel how she has a holy calling from the Lord God, yet Israel has squandered that calling by pursuing other gods and being unfaithful to Yahweh. Samson is a picture of that holy calling and Israel’s fall into captivity to foreign nations.
But not only is Samson a type of Israel. The nation of Israel was fulfilled by the coming of its Messiah the Lord Jesus. Samson is a type ultimately of Jesus. Samson shows us how one Man who is uniquely called and filled with the Holy Spirit can lead God’s people into their inheritance and conquer their foes for them. Christ Jesus is the ultimate Divine Warrior, of whom Samson is a picture.
I want to notice three aspects of the story of Samson as we see how Samson is a type of Israel and of Christ:
1. Samson with women
2. Samson in battle
3. And Samson at death.
So let me begin by talking about Samson with women. Samson enters into relationships with women three times, and all three times it is big trouble. And the story is not exactly G-rated. We certainly need to be sensitive to little ears (and we will today), but just reading the story gets us into some pretty dicey material.
It’s obvious that with all Samson’s great promise as a deliverer for Israel – and the Scripture tells us that he filled the office of judge in Israel for 20 years – and for all Samson’s potential, having been given a special measure of the Holy Spirit from a very young age (13:25), and for all his strength, yet Samson’s great weakness was with women. Samson was a proud man with great passions and an awful temper. But during Samson’s life it was through women that he found himself in such messes. We see him walking into trouble with women three times. First, in chapter 14 Samson saw the Philistine woman from Timnah and went and married this foreign woman. We can see God’s sovereign hand here. 14:4 indicates that the Lord was working through Samson’s foolish decision to marry this Philistine woman to bring judgment on the idolatrous Philistines. The Lord can work even through our sin and foolishness to accomplish His will, can’t He?
But then there’s Samson’s second troubling encounter with women in chapter 16:1-5 we see Samson go to Gaza, and he went into a harlot there. He was surrounded and almost ambushed until he realized it and snuck out at midnight, taking the city gates with him on his shoulders.
And then thirdly, and most famously, also in chapter 16, Samson loved the Israelite woman Delilah who played traitor to the Philistines and tricked Samson and handed him over to the enemy after having cut his hair and taken his great strength that came from his Nazirite vow of holiness to the Lord.
It is interesting that in two out of three temptations the text says that Samson looked at the woman, he saw the woman. It has been said that the strongest part of Samson’s body was not his bulging biceps that slew a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey or his powerful back with which he knocked over a temple, but instead it was his eyes by which he was led into spiritual compromise and weakness. Samson was consistently getting into trouble by having dalliances with the wrong kinds of women.
This is a picture of Israel. Israel was called to be holy, just like Samson. Samson was set apart from before his birth to the Nazirite vow; he was not to have his hair cut or touch dead bodies or drink wine and thus be especially set apart for the Lord. The Holy Spirit was strong with Samson, preparing him for his calling as judge. In the same way, Israel was chosen by the Lord and set apart to be a holy nation unto the Lord. Just like Samson, Israel was strong with the Holy Spirit so that the nation could fulfill its priestly ministry among the nations of the earth for the purpose of redemption and preparation for the Messiah. Yet what did Samson do with his Nazirite vow? He slew the lion and then later came back and, drawn in by the sweet honey, touched the carcass of the lion in order to get the honey out (14:8). Samson threw a great feast in 14:10 and most likely consumed wine along with his friends. And then Samson allowed his hair to be cut by Delilah, and that was the point at which his Nazirite vow was shattered and the presence of the Lord left him. He utterly broke his Nazirite vow. Again, this is meant to be a picture of the nation of Israel. Israel broke God’s law and failed to live up to the holiness of her calling, just like Samson. And just like Samson, Israel went off to chase after the wrong kinds of women.
The most egregious instance of this is in Numbers 25:1-3. This instance of idolatry and immorality by the nation of Israel during the wilderness wanderings under Moses became the moment that the Lord would point back to as a great moment of failure for Israel – the time when Israel chased after the Baals at the Acacia Grove with the women of Moab. It is obvious here that idolatry and sexual immorality were bound up together, so that when the nation went after Baal worship, they also went after the foreign women of Moab. And in 25:3 we read that Israel was “joined” to the Baal of Peor; Israel married another god. Israel was wayward and impure and unfaithful to the Lord by chasing the wrong bride, an impure bride. And that became the unfortunate history of Israel through the centuries as she continually fell into idolatry and immorality during the period of the kings, right up till the time of the captivity, when the Lord’s wrath burned hot, and He visited judgment on Israel by allowing a foreign nation to conquer Israel. The story of Samson is meant to be a warning about the dangers of idolatry and immorality for Israel as the holy people of God. Israel must not chase after the wrong kinds of women but must be the bridegroom of God who remains pure and holy unto Him.
And this in turn is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. What Israel failed to do, what Samson pictures, in terms of the failure of Israel, Jesus utterly succeeded at doing. Jesus the Divine Bridegroom remained utterly pure and holy. The Lord Jesus, like Samson, was chosen and called and announced before his birth by angels. The Lord Jesus was set apart by the Lord unto Him by His baptism, something that the Nazirite vow signifies, and Jesus was filled by the Holy Spirit for power in His life and ministry. Jesus was utterly loyal, completely obedient, totally holy, consecrated to the Lord. He was the faithful Bridegroom who loved His bride until death in faithful covenant-keeping love.
This week at school I asked my students if they knew the different between a tragedy and a comedy. A young lady answered, “A tragedy ends with a funeral; a comedy ends with a wedding.” She’s right. The story of the Bible is the ultimate comedy because it ends with a wedding – the wedding of the Divine Bridegroom Christ Jesus and the lovely, radiant bride, the church. Revelation tells us that at the culmination of history is a wedding feast after Christ has wooed and won and married His bride whom the Father gave Him and whom He purified and beautified by His Word and delivered to His presence.
Yet the story of the life of Jesus in the gospels is a story of a Savior who is willing to be around the wrong kinds of women. Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus out of whom he had cast seven demons, yet it was Mary Magdalene who Jesus sent to announce His resurrection to His disciples. We read in Luke 7:37-38, “And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” Like Samson, Jesus was surrounded by foreign and wicked women. He chose it. Samson in Judges 16 loved a harlot and came to be surrounded by evil men intent on destroying him. In the same way, Jesus loved a sinful people, and out of love, seeking for a sinful people to be His bride, He suffered at the hands of His enemies. The judge Samson, rising from his sleep in the middle of the night, takes away the strength of the city by carrying off the city gates, which had barred him into the city. So the Savior Jesus, when coming to love an impure woman, was surrounded by enemies at His death, and rising from the sleep of death and emerging out of the deep darkness of His sufferings, spoiled His enemies and led captivity captive when He rose from the dead. Samson was sold by Delilah, an Israelite women, into the hands of his enemies, who mocked and cruelly treated him. So was our Savior sold by His fellow Israelites into the hands of His enemies for thirty pieces of silver. Yet in suffering and death our Savior conquered His enemies, just like Samson.
What a glorious picture we have of our Savior Jesus loving His bride and being willing to suffer so much to win His bride. In Eph 5:25-27 we read, that “Christ … loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” What kind of people ought we then to be, knowing that we are the object of the affections of the King of kings who has sought us out to be His lovely bride? What holy people ought we to be, who live in utter faithfulness to our Divine Bridegroom, who are beautified and perfumed to be with our Divine Warrior Husband for eternity?
Let me move on to another aspect of the story of Samson though – we have thought about Samson with women, but another equally important element of the story is Samson in battle.
We could spend a lot of time working out way through the battles of Samson the judge. It’s interesting. Samson never led armies or mobilized chariots and legions for the battlefield, yet Samson is remembered (and rightfully so!) as a great warrior. The battles he fought, he fought basically alone against the Philistine overlords who had enslaved and oppressed the people of Israel. We read first of how Samson ripped apart a lion with his bare hands in 14:6. Then we read of three instances in which Samson slew the enemy. First, in 14:19 we witness Samson fighting and killing 30 Philistines so that he could take their clothes and pay the gambling debt he owed with them. Second, in 15:15 we witness Samson taking up the jawbone of a donkey and killing 1,000 of the enemy and then reciting a poem filled with clever puns exulting in victory. And then finally, in 16:30 we have Samson, bound, blinded, and mocked, calling out to the Lord for help, and he pushed against the pillars of the temple and brought down the temple of the idol Dagon, killing more in his death than he had in his life. His greatest victory, like many soldiers in history, was on the day of his death.
Now I want you to notice a detail about the story that I believe gets us to the real point of these battles. In 13:25 we read that the Spirit of the Lord was working through Samson from a young age, stirring him to rise up and lead God’s people to resist their Philistine oppressors that the Lord had allowed to have the upper hand in order to punish wayward Israel. Then – look at how the Holy Spirit is mentioned in connection with each battle – 14:6 (the lion), 14:19 (the 30), 15:14 (the 1,000). The exception is at Samson’s death in chapter 16. In 16:20 we read that after Samson had had his hair cut, and his Nazirite status was no more, he was blinded and put in chains and made a slave as a grinder, the Lord departed from him so that Samson was alone at death.
So the story of Samson is the story of what not an army and not what a battalion of soldiers can do with the Lord’s help, but what one man can do who is filled with the Holy Spirit. One man filled with the Spirit can conquer as a might warrior for the Lord to deliver the people of God.
And so that shows us, first, then a picture of Israel. Israel was surrounded by enemies. Yet little solitary Israel was called by the Lord to a priestly calling and to the land of promise. Israel must remain holy and conquer her enemies if the nation will succeed in her redemptive calling. How will Israel prevail in the struggle against her enemies? How will Israel be victorious in the field of battle? Will it be great numbers? Will it be mighty weapons and superior skills? Last week we saw that with the battle of Jericho, the Lord was showing Israel that the battle belonged to the Lord, that when He brings His kingdom, He must do it. God is teaching Israel the same lesson here with Samson. God can do more with one man holy to the Lord and filled with the Spirit than with whole armies without the Spirit. Ps 44:3 says, “For they [the Israelites] did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them.” That is the lesson for Israel. Israel’s greatest enemy was not the Baal-worshipping Philistine, but the sin in Israel itself.
Doesn’t it seem that even today the church is her own worst enemy? The work of the church is the work of being a holy people who are strong in their calling and strong in the truth and strong in the Spirit. That is the real battle, not the enemies of evolutionism or corrupt politicians or secularism or TV execs who hate God.
Yet Samson in battle is a picture ultimately of the Lord Jesus Christ. Samson’s empowerment by the Spirit is a foretaste of the Spirit’s anointing of the Lord Jesus. When our Lord’s birth was announced to the virgin Mary, the angel said, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy one who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” Then when our Lord was baptized, the Holy Spirit came down like a dove on Him to prepare Him for His priestly and prophetic work as Messiah. Jesus is the ultimate picture of what one man can do who is uniquely prepared by the Holy Spirit. He was the Divine Warrior crushing the head of the serpent, fighting the battle of the Lord for the redemption of all things. He didn’t do it with swords and chariots, just like Samson. Like Samson, the Lord Jesus was one man staring down the principalities and powers, casting out demons, tearing down the work of the Devil. In His humility and obedience and grace, He was the glorious King riding into battle to conquer His enemy and to rescue His bride and bring her back to His palace so that He can marry her and beautify her and elevate her to glory. Christ Jesus is the divine Bridegroom who is the Divine Warrior. He is everything Samson was and more. In every way that Samson failed and squandered His anointing by the Spirit, Jesus was faithful to the Lord and to His bride. He secured His inheritance, when He died and rose again, the very thing the judges were charged to do. Jesus is the King of whom the psalmist sings in Psalm 45, who rides to battle with His mighty sword and then brings home the beautiful princess and marries her and makes her His own. This is what Christ Jesus did by His life and death and resurrection.
And this is an important lesson for us who are in Christ as well. God can do more through one man filled with the Holy Spirit and equipped by the Holy Spirit than with thousands without the Spirit. The calculations change when God enters the picture. One versus a thousand? Those are not even odds when the one is filled with the Spirit of power. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts,” in Zech 4:6. Samson was mighty and did great exploits as long as He was holy to the Lord and thus filled with the Spirit – that was what his Nazirite vow and the uncut hair was all about – and so was the Lord Jesus, who was fully consecrated to the Lord by the power of the Spirit. “I delight to the your will, O Lord.” That was our Lord’s constant prayer, and as the Spirit enabled Him to honor His Father at all times, then he conquered. The Spirit is the One who enables us to conquer, too. It won’t be our superior numbers or our superior resources. It is the superiority of the Spirit, who is mighty in His callings and His purposes.
We are more than conquerors in Him by faith, by the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Our battle is not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ, and our weapons of warfare are not carnal but mighty in the God for the pulling down of strongholds and taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. Our Lord has withheld the power of the sworn from His church, but He has given us a weapon far mightier, far more devastating to the enemies of God. We are marching in the power of the Spirit to fulfill the Divine Warrior’s battle plan, which is the Great Commission, the discipling of the nations by the Word of the gospel. And Jesus promised in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” That is how we conquer by the Spirit in the world: by the gospel, when all men in every nation bow the knee to Jesus Christ as King and as Lord and receive Him as their Savior.
Now I need to come to the end of Samson’s life and talk about Samson at death. The death of Samson is rich in truth signifying both Israel and Christ.
Samson was tricked and handed over to the Philistines by one of his own people, the deceitful woman Delilah. Samson had his hair cut, had his eyes gouged out, was put in chains, and was reduced to slavery. But while he worked as a slave, his hair grew back. His great strength was returning for one final mighty moment of victory. At the end of His life, abandoned by the Lord, Samson was brought into the temple of Dagon and made sport of, ridiculed and mocked by thousands who looked down on this former champion who appeared untouchable and whose god looked so weak. But Samson vowed revenge and leaned into the columns supporting the temple, and the temple came crashing down, with thousands dying along with Samson.
Apart from making for an exciting climax scene and maybe a good movie, what is the significance of this ending to the story, though?
Well, first, it was highly significant for Israel. We know that the book of Judges was finished as a book sometime after the captivity of Israel, some 600 or 700 years later. Judges 18:30 mentions the captivity of Israel, which took place in the 6th c. B.C. Israel had learned some hard lessons by that time. Israel had gone the way of idolatry and covenant breaking, and God sent a pagan nation to come and destroy the temple and carry away Israel into captivity in Babylon. It was the old cycle of Judges all over again. It was a bitter lesson to learn, but Israel learned that they had taken God and His covenant and holiness for granted and squandered their calling. They had played the harlot to God the Bridegroom and had chased foreign gods and foreign women. And they came to know the discipline of the Lord, who sent them away to slavery and captivity and mocking.
So the story of Samson’s death is a story of both warning and hope for Israel. Just as Samson was carried away into slavery after squandering her calling, so did Israel. That carries the warning. But just as Samson’s hair grew back and his strength re-gathered, so would Israel’s strength as the nation committed herself to the Lord in holiness. There is the hope. And just as Samson brought down the temple of Dagon, crushing the idolatrous nations and conquering on behalf of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, just as Moses did with pharaoh, so will post-exilic Israel conquer once again as Israel realizes her holy calling and calls on the name of the Lord once more. This story of the death of Samson is a promise of deliverance and victory for Israel. It was meant to be a comfort to them while they knew the chastising of the Lord and the victory of their enemies. God will conquer. His purpose will prevail, even through Israel’s suffering, even through Israel’s defeat. There will be victory, even in defeat.
But then this story is ultimately consummated in the Christ, Jesus our Lord. He was the true Israel who conquered in death and whose life, death and resurrection is the ultimate promise of deliverance and victory. It is interesting as you look at the story of Samson – we noted how the text is careful to point out before each significant battle that Samson fought, the Lord’s Spirit descended on Samson and empowered him to fight and win against the Philistines, often against great odds. Yet here at the end of Samson’s life the text says specifically in 16:20 that the Lord departed from him. At Samson’s moment of greatest need, at the time when he was being handed over to slavery because of his own weakness and compromise, at the time when he was weakest and his hair was cut, the Lord left him. Yet it was at this moment of captivity and defeat, when he was brought into the temple of Dagon and mocked by thousands that he did his mightiest deeds. The text says in 16:30b that Samson slew more at death than he had slain during his life.
That is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. In His life He did great things. He cast out many demons and healed thousands. He preached the Word and led the disciples. The Spirit was with Him to empower Him. Yet it was in His death, when the Father abandoned Him on the cross, when He was captive and slave, when He was handed over by a faithless woman named Israel, when He was mocked and ridiculed by the Romans, it was at this moment when the Lord Jesus conquered. His victory was in defeat. When the Father laid sin on the Son and abandoned Him on the cross, at that moment of apparent defeat, the Son was achieving victory. The seed of the serpent was crushing the heel of the Seed of the woman, but at that very same moment the very foot that was being crushed was crushing the cranium of the seed of the Serpent. St. Paul writes that on the cross, Jesus “disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2:15). And just like Samson the temples of demons came crashing down. The works of the devil were destroyed. The kingdoms of this world standing against God and His Christ were destroyed at that moment. All that remains for us is the historical outworking of that victory, when God sends the Spirit to empower the Body of Christ in the world to follow Christ in His victory and conquer through defeat just as Christ did, so that, as Paul writes in Rom 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
A good barometer of your spiritual condition is to answer the question, “Who am I in this story?”
Do you see yourself as an Israelite standing to the side pointing the finger and making sure that Samson knew he was making dumb decisions and falling into lust along the way?
Maybe you think of yourself as Samson – but Samson who would do better and not do the stupid, foolish things Samson did. “I am Samson with a little spiritual good sense thrown in.”
But no. I think that you and I are Samson at his lowest point, Samson in the throes of his pride and temper and lust and foolish worst. We are Samson the squanderer of gifts. We are Samson the chaser of the wrong kind of women. We are Samson in need of the Greater Samson, the true Deliverer, the One who was empowered by the Holy Spirit like no other to conquer all our Samson-like folly and sin. We are Samson the deliverer in need of a deliverer. And my closing assurance to you is that there is such a Deliverer. There is a Savior who has toppled the columns in the temple of unbelief and who will conquer your wayward and unbelieving heart. There is a Savior who suffered and was mocked and died while conquering His enemies. There is a Divine Warrior who died and who lives again to go forth and to conquer all sin. You have a Savior, Christ Jesus our Lord. So look to Him, trust Him, follow Him, bow to Him. He is your Greater Samson. He is your Savior.