In my series on Judges, The Salvation of Stubborn Hearts, I titled my final message on the Samson narrative: Samson, the Judge Who Shows Us Our Spiritual Struggles.
Webb describes Samson as “a testosterone-charged male behaving badly.” You can see that in the repetition of key phrases and also from Samson’s un-judgelike actions in these chapters.
First, look at the repetition in 14:3, 7 “right in my eyes,” a phrase that will become very important at the end of Judges. This is not good.
Second, look at the repetition of “their god…our god…their god…our god” found in the victory celebration of Israel’s enemies (cf. 16:23-24).
Then, the entire section is filled with un-judgelike actions. For a long time we see no evidence of Samson fulfilling his duties as a judge who would deliver Israel from the Philistines. Webb says, “He has wined and dined with the Philistines and tried to intermarry with them instead of ridding Israel of their rule.”
And, then, there’s all this playfulness in chapter 14 between Samson, his first wife, and the men of the city.
And what about Samson’s tryst with a “prostitute” in 16:1 or loving Delilah in 16:4.
All that tells us he forgot the fight. All that functions like a mirror so we can look at ourselves and make sure we’re not like Samson.
Thankfully, the Samson narrative also shows us our God will not allow Samson’s foolishness, stubbornness, or rebellion to thwart His plan for delivering His people (see previous post).
Samson, the Nazarite, broke his vows. Israel, of course, also a holy people, followed suit. But not our Savior, the Holy One of God (cf. Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34). And, by faith in Him, we continue to experience cleansing and sanctification from our own stubbornness.
I hope these last few posts have helped you make sense of how the lengthy Samson narrative functions for God’s glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).