About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Sunday School Didn't Teach You
understand why Sunday school teachers simplify the Bible for children
into what we call "Bible stories".
However, these "Bible stories" are both historical and
factual events. Unless we
know all the facts, we become, as many are, Biblically illiterate.
This illiteracy appears in our "sundayschoolized" image
of Samson. Beyond his super
strength and his relationship with Delilah, who was Samson?
Here's what you probably didn't learn about Samson in Sunday
was a womanizer. He was
known to frequent pagan prostitutes. (Judges 16:1)
After being struck by the beauty of a young Philistine girl, he
demanded that his parents "get her for him". (Judges 14:2)
No please. No thank
you. Just "get
her". Later, a pagan
woman named Delilah, who by the way, wasn't his wife, pleasured him on a
nightly basis. (Judges 16) This
weakness for women blurred
any good sense of judgment he might have had.
He was deceived by his fiancé. (Judges 14:20)
Because of the naked beauty of another Philistine woman named
Delilah, he was seduced into revealing the secret of his strength.
was an arrogant jokester. With
great pride he presented a riddle to the men in his wedding party.
(Judges 14:14) "Out of
the eater, something to eat. Out
of the strong, something sweet".
Under pressure from these men, Samson's fiancé wormed the
meaning to the riddle out of him. (Judges 14:16-17)
When it came to Delilah, Samson wasn't just messing around with
her in bed. He was also
messing around with her head. When
asked about the secret of his strength, he teased her with tantalizing
scenarios, making her feel quite foolish. (Judges 16:10)
It appears that Samson enjoyed making people look foolish by
being the jokester. In the
end, he became the biggest fool. (Judges 16:25-28)
was a man with an explosive temper. After
learning that his Philistine bride revealed the meaning of his riddle,
he killed 30 Philistines. (Judges 14:19)
Sometime later he returned to visit his x-fiancé "in her
bedroom". Her father
refused to let him in. Samson
was so mad that he burned some of the Philistine's grain fields, olive
groves, and vineyards. His rage didn't end until "he got revenge" by this
"vicious slaughter". (Judges 15:1-8)
Samson ended up choosing to die as long as he could take some
Philistines to death with him, and that he did. (Judges 16:26-30)
wasn't an appreciative man. After
the Lord provided victory in battle for him he demanded the Lord give
him water. "Must I now
die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised…"
Samson didn't want to fall into the hands of the uncircumcised,
but he sure didn't mind falling into the arms and laps of their women.
more to Samson than our "sundayschoolized" image.
He was not the man of God he was called to be.
From conception, God called him to be a Nazirite. (Judges 13:2-5)
Nazirites were to serve God
faithfully and whole-heartedly. In
obedience to the Law of Moses they were not to cut their hair, not to
drink wine, not to eat unclean food, not to touch dead bodies, and never
be involved with pagan women. (Numbers 6) All
that a Nazirite was to be, Samson wasn't.
He touched the dead. (Judges 14:8-9)
The text doesn't say it, but I'm sure he drank wine.
It would have been insulting to his Philistine bride's family if
he didn't indulged during the 7 day wedding feast.
And, how could Delilah do all she did to him while he was asleep
without waking him if he wasn't drunk. (Judges 16)
She cut his hair as he "slept on her lap". Why was
Samson using a pagan woman's lap for a pillow?
What transpired on her lap before he fell asleep?
Even his parents wondered about his infatuation with pagan women.
had all the outward appearances of being a religious Nazirite, but
wasn't. He had some kind of
faith, but he lacked faithfulness. God
did use him, not despite his poor character qualities, but because of
them. God's purpose for
Samson was to create conflict between Israelis and Philistines, and what
better man to use. His
hatred towards Philistine men and his lust for their women created the
conflict that would bring judgment on
sad fact of the matter is that after Samson's hair was cut off, "he
did not realize the Lord had left him". (Judges 16:20)
Such is the way with those who just have "a form of
godliness". (2 Timothy 3:5) They
participate in the routine of religion,
but don't realize the Lord has left the building.
died in one last blaze of glory, but not before being made a pitiful
looking fool. While being
incarcerated, his hair was cut and his eyes were gouged out. (Judges
16:21) He was probably
malnourished as he was paraded as a fool before the Philistines as a
form of cruel entertainment. (Judges 16:25)
Knowing that he'd probably soon be killed, he asked God one last
time for super strength to kill those who mocked him.
The Lord granted his request, but he, along with 3,000
Philistines, died a mutual death.
way Samson's life ended reminds me of the end
time Laodicean church. (Revelation 3:14-21)
Like Samson at the end of his life, this end time church is
pictured as being "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked".
Also like Samson, this end
time church doesn't realize the Lord has left the building. (Revelation
not really sorry that I've spoiled your "sundayschoolized"
image of Samson. From this historical account we learn that God does,
can, and will, use anyone to accomplish his purposes.
Just because God uses someone, doesn't mean he is a righteous man
of God. Outward appearances
aren't always a good judge of true godliness.
The sooner we graduate from Sunday school the better.
All of the above being said, we should know that
Hebrews 11:32 lists Samson as a man of faith.
Despite his downfalls, and we all have downfalls, the author of
Hebrews clearly portrays him as a man of faith who performed powerful
deeds in the service of the Lord. I'm
sure there's much more to Samson's life that is recorded in Scripture.
Clearly, God chose Him to do His will, and, He can just as easily
choose you or I to do His will as well.