We begin a new series today called "The Character Tour," which focuses on character in the lives of a few biblical characters. Next week we’ll take a look at Joseph and then Daniel. Today, we’re going to talk about Samson.
- “Charisma without character leads to catastrophe.” (Peter Kuzmic)
- “The price of greatness is responsibility.” (Winston Churchill)
- “Character is a by-product; it is produced in the great manufacture of daily duty.” (Woodrow Wilson)
Samson came as a result of an extraordinary birth. The story is told in Judges 13.2-5 …
In those days, a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zorah. His wife was unable to become pregnant, and they had no children. The angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, "Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink or eat any forbidden food. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will rescue Israel from the Philistines."
We’re not told much about Samson’s childhood, except …
When her son was born, they named him Samson. And the LORD blessed him as he grew up. And in Mahaneh-dan, which is located between the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol, the Spirit of the LORD began to take hold of him. (Judges 13.24-25)
- Samson does not honor God or his vow to God
- Samson is overly self-confident and assumes God’s presence
- Samson relies on his own strength
- Samson appears to be immature
- Samson plays with temptation
In the next couple weeks, we’ll talk more about developing strong, Christlike character. Romans 5.3-5 will shape a lot of that discussion …
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. 5And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
“What we do on some great occasions will probably depend upon what we
already are, and what we are will be the result of previous years of
self-discipline.” (H.P. Liddon)
While Samson is a tragic story overall, amazingly enough, he is listed among the great men and women of faith, where the writer to the Hebrews says, "Well, how much more do I need to say? It would take too long to
recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah,
David, Samuel, and all the prophets." (Hebrews 11.32)
The good news from Samson’s life is that it’s never too late to come back to God. You may have messed up in the past but you can come back to God! Samson did, and you can, too!
O God, thank you for men and women who model the way of faith for us – people in Scripture, people who have gone before us, and people in these churches! We pray that you will build and develop strong, Christlike character in each of us. And as you work on us, please mold and shape us into your image! Amen.