Do NOT Try This At Home

Samson illustrates well that old saying "bull in a china shop." If there ever was an unlikely choice for a judge of Israel, he fit the bill. Some might describe him as "all brawn and no brain." He didn't seem to "get it," ever.

But if the story of Samson proves nothing else, it does show us that God does work in mysterious ways and uses all kinds to accomplish his plans and purposes in history.

The beginning was promising, commencing with the appearance of an angel to announce the arrival of a special child who would be dedicated to the service of the Lord before his conception. "…the boy is to be a Nazarite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines" —Judges 13:5. Manoah and his wife received strict instructions to follow in preparation for Samson's birth.

The baby was healthy. "The woman gave birth to a boy…and he grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him…" —Judges 13:24, 25.

When we say that the ways of the Lord are mysterious and combine that phrase with the story of Samson, we can only shake our heads. The Spirit of God stirred Samson to do a whole series of things that seem so unlike God. Samson acts like a petulant brat. He demands a bride from among Israel's enemies, he caves in to a woman's manipulation (tears are a powerful weapon), he goes around killing and robbing people. He abandons his first wife, He kills foxes and torches fields and uses the jawbone of a donkey to kill a thousand more Philistines.

The picture doesn't sit well with us even though we are told: "…that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines…" —Judges 14:4.

The story of Samson begs the question: "Are there exceptions to God's rules?" Israel had been told not to intermarry with the pagan nations around them and yet Samson was led by the Lord to do that.

Samson's actions were all part of a conspiracy, a plot to bring down the Philistines. It's safe to say most of us don't bend God commands because we are acting as uncover agents of the Almighty God bent on a mission of judgment on his enemies. Therein lies the secret to the "exceptions," if they can be called that.

The Scriptures don't provide loopholes for us to slip through. The rest of Samson's story will prove that even Samson, moved by the power of God's Spirit to do what he did to accomplish God's purposes, came to a sad end in the fulfillment of his commission. It makes me wonder if that wasn't God's message to us after all. There was probably an easier way to break the yoke of the Philistines than to embroil Samson in all his misadventures. But that was God's choice. But Samson would be become a powerful illustration of the truth of that modern ad: "This commercial was made by professionals, don not try this at home."

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