Here is the introduction to my article published today at Christ Hold Fast. If you're interested in reading the entire article, click on the link at the bottom of the page. Poor Samson, he always seems to make the list of bad role models in the Bible. He’s put out there as the ripped hippie who whacked Philistines, chased skirts, got his head shaved, and eventually got himself killed. For generations, Sunday School kids (including me) have been warned, “Samson was immoral. He didn’t take God’s rules seriously enough. If he had obeyed God, he could have done so much more good. Boys and girls, don’t be like Samson. Vow that you will follow God’s laws so he can use you to do great things for him.”
Ok, I’ll be blunt: such moral-centered Sunday School lessons are theological rubbish. But that’s not their only problem; they also assume the story is all about Samson. It’s not. It’s about the loving work of God in Samson’s life. He’s neither a bad role model nor a good one. He’s a child of our Father whom Christ shaped by a cross of suffering and grace. And, most importantly, Samson is little different from you.
Our Kinship with Samson Most people picture Samson as an OT version of the bulked up meathead from the Planet Fitness commercials, but you may be surprised to hear that his size is never mentioned. Minus the long hair, he might have looked like the average Joe Israelite. Yes, of course, he’s very strong but that strength is from the Spirit, not his biceps. He’s an ordinary man with extraordinary strength–that’s all. In fact, he might have looked just like your brother or your son. Or you.
He certainly was like us in one respect: he knew what he wanted when he saw it. He saw a Philistine girl who looked good to him, so he told his parents he wanted her for a bride. Later, when his enemies deceived him, burned his wife and father-in-law to death, and had his own countrymen running scared, he saw red and let loose a bloodbath against his foes. He saw a prostitute he wanted, so he paid for her services. And finally he saw a woman he actually loved, Delilah, who wound up rewarding his love by accepting a cash reward from the Philistines to sell his secret. Samson knew what he wanted when he saw it, and most of the time, living by sight, he walked like a blind man straight into an ambush...
Read the rest of the article at Christ Hold Fast. Thanks!