Samson: Strength, Weakness, Grace

March 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Theology | 6 Comments

            The story of Samson is one of those Bible stories that, at times, has made me wonder why it’s even in the Bible.  Parts of it make a great kid’s Sunday School story, but parts of it are risqué enough for an adult-only film.  As I read his story again this week, I had some thoughts about it I wanted to write down.  This would make one of those three-part alliterated sermons, so I guess I’ll file it away for future use.

            First, Samson is a story of Tremendous Strength.  Of course, his strength is legendary and what makes him such a fascinating kid’s story.  He killed a lion with his bare hands; he killed thirty men at one time; he easily broke the ropes used to bind him; he killed 1,000 men with a donkey’s jawbone; he lifted the great city gates of Gaza off their hinges and carried them up the mountain; and, with his last ounce of strength, he knocked down the pillars of Dagon’s temple, killing 3,000 people.

            But unfortunately, Samson is also a story of Tragic Weakness.  All of Samson’s problems centered around one weakness.  He couldn’t say no to women.  In fact all his shows of tremendous strength were needed because he got himself in trouble through his weakness.  He had to kill the lion because he was taking his parents down to meet a woman he wanted to marry simply because “she looked good to him.”  He had to kill 30 men because he couldn’t keep a secret from his betrothed wife for even a few days.  She pushed him for the answer to his riddle, and he gave in.  He had to kill more men because he went down to find his “wife” whom he never really married.  He was trapped in Gaza and had to lift the gates because he had gone to a prostitute there.  Finally, he was caught and imprisoned, leading to his temple razing, because he couldn’t say no to his girlfriend Delilah.  Three times she said, “You’ve deceived me and lied to me.”  But all along she was the one deceiving and lying.  Of course, he knew it, because she constantly betrayed his confidence, but he gave into her anyway.  He couldn’t say no to a beautiful woman.  Interesting that the wisest man in the Bible, the strongest man in the Bible, and the “man after God’s own heart” all had this same weakness.  That should be a major lesson for us guys!

            Finally, Samson is a story of Triumphant Grace.  In spite of his weakness and failures, God used him anyway.  He ruled Israel for 20 years and defeated many of Israel’s enemies.  He was empowered by the Spirit of God.  He is even listed in God’s hall of faith in Hebrews 11.  In spite of his great and obvious weakness, God was able to use him.  That can only be explained as a work of God’s grace.  We too, in spite of our obvious weaknesses, can be used by God, through no good of our own, but through his grace.  We may not have great physical strength or great victories in battle, but we can each be used in God’s kingdom with the unique gifts he’s given us.


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  1. This has been a popular post; thanks for reading!
    For more information, check out the podcast of my sermon on Samson, delivered as a part of my Summer 2015 sermon series called Grace Abounding.
    You can listen here

  2. The Lord will never forsake them that call upon his name even in situations that seem that the Lord has forgotten them, they still cry to Him even in there last minutes of their weakneses, they believe by God’s grace they can still find strength and so did our Brother Samson. What ever situation you may find yourself into, I urge you to emulate Samson in his last moment of life which is of Victory. In Christ Jesus, we are morethan Victors.

  3. Yes,, God uses a mere mortal failure to show a nation what happens when they serve other God’s and forget his name… He uses a man who has a terrible weakness of the flesh, and who’s heart is truly misguided to show what can take a man’s heart and truly a man strength… That is lust.. and not protecting the mind… Samson , knew the scriptures and he knew what God’s will was for him but he, just like Saul was rebellious to what God’s warning were… He eventually was made a slave and eyes ripped out for his sins… Yes,, He might have found grace with God and mercy after going through tremendous pain and suffering at the end of his life… Who is too judge, but God himself… But he was truly humbled at the end and his eyes were opened…

  4. I significantly edited the above comment. This was the first third of it. Then it turned into a rant that had nothing to do with the post. I’m glad people are reading and commenting, but keep comments to the topic at hand.

  5. Hey Pastor, Thank you for posting your message. I was reading this story from scripture this morning and noticed for the first time his weakness. I have heard this story all my life and it has always been told from the strength and being deceived perspective and never from Samson’s lack of self-awareness and weakness. I searched the net in the hope of finding more clarity and found your post. Thank you for taking the time to write this post and attach your message. Blessings!

  6. You’re welcome. Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad it was a help to you. Interesting note: This is the most popular post I have ever written. Almost everyday, people are searching for information about Samson’s weakness. God is his grace used him anyway; that encourages me in my weakness. God bless.

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