Samson (By Chris Barnes)
Text: Judges Chapters 13-15
OBSERVE: We read in chapter 13 that Samson is the only person in the Old Testament whose conception is announced by an angel (Judges 13:3), very much like the angel’s announcement of Jesus’ conception. “His hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth,” instructed the angel to Samson’s mother (13: 5). A Nazirite was a person who was entirely consecrated to God. As part of his consecration, a Nazirite drank no wine and allowed his hair to grow, untouched by a razor. His long hair made him stand out from the crowd so that when people saw him, they likely said, “That man is God’s man, a Nazirite, set apart.”
INTERPRET: Though outwardly he conformed to the Nazirite vow by never cutting his hair, inwardly Samson was committed to his own pleasure and appetites. Though God endowed him with supernatural strength, Samson had little mental force and even less spiritual power. His whole life was a mix of miracles and follies as he was easily overcome by temptation, enticed, and led astray. Though Israelites were commanded not to intermarry with the people of the land, Samson persisted over his parents objections and married a Philistine woman. As he was on his way to the wedding party, he scooped honey out of a dead lion he had earlier killed, even though Nazirites were forbidden from touching a dead body. Samson’s visit to a prostitute and later liaison with Delilah revealed the reality of Samson’s heart. He simply couldn’t live up to his pledge and calling. He couldn’t rule himself or any of his desires.
APPLICATION: Samson’s birth, under the terms of the Nazirite vow, pointed to the coming of a Nazarene of the tribe of Judah (Jesus) who would fulfill in every respect the law of consecration in ways that no Nazirite ever could. Samson kept only the outward purity of the Nazirite vow and broke even that in the end. True and inward purity would not appear in the judge Samson, but would rather appear in the final judge of Israel (Jesus). While Samson practiced an outward appearance that separated him to God, Jesus was set apart by an infinite inward holiness and perfect obedience.
REFLECTION/QUESTION: Who are you emulating more often, Samson or Jesus?
PRAYER: Holy Jesus, I find myself powerless on my own to rule my passions and discipline my desires. I don’t want to settle for outward conformity that is betrayed by an inner reality in my heart and life. Cleanse me. Purify me. Set me apart for service to you in my innermost being. Implant in me a longing for your holiness.
SONG: Holy (Wedding Day) - The City Harmonic
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.