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Samson Reloaded

The story of Samson is an amazing tale. Truly the original comic book hero- smashing through hordes of Philistines- saving his people from their evil clutches- the stereotypical misunderstood hero with a God-given mission. However, in many churches when this story is preached, it is preached as a story with a tragic aftertaste. ‘What could have been- if only Samson could have controlled his fleshly appetites…’ ‘He could have been a much greater deliverer, but his moral weaknesses undercut his supernatural strength.’ ‘He never had a relationship with God, and his gift took him where his character couldn’t keep him.’

These kind of statements have some truth to them, but the story of Samson was never meant to be set up as a primary example of failure… but of a primary example of Grace! The story of Samson is a picture of an ordinary person (like you or me) with an extraordinary calling (like you or me), and the process of discovery of how that supernatural gift of grace (upon both him and us) flows through our human lives. It wasn’t his failures that this story was meant to center around, but the way God moved through his life IN SPITE of his weaknesses!

God really highlighted this story to me in light of our generation. We are in a time of radical restoration of the miracle working power of God to the masses of believers. People are waking up to the great treasures of salvation that reside within them and are learning how to release the power and love of God to the world. But at the same time we are seeing great gifts emerge, we are also seeing great moral catastrophes. We wonder- “How can this be?” “God can not tolerate an unclean, unholy vessel to work through.” And so we write them off as reprobate tools of the devil. We think that this is teaching the world and young believers that “God is Holy, and we must be also.” Again- there is truth to this, but people do not recognize the subtle silent neutering that is happening to the Body of Christ because of these snap judgment calls. Believers start examining their own life- and start seeing their own weaknesses and decide- “well, no one knows my own private failures better than me and God, and there can just be NO way that I can be used greatly. Besides, it is inevitable that others will find out about my failures anyways.” And so they do a few good things here and there, in order to stay in this incognito zone where they are doing enough to play a positive role and yet also placate their conscience which is not only reminding them of their failures, but also of their unfulfilled potential in Christ! Little to they know, this condemnation inspired ‘safety zone’ is keeping their gift and calling neutered and multitudes of people bound due to a dormant gift that the world NEEDS. This must NOT BE. The story of Samson is an incredible story for this hour for this exact reason. There are many lessons we can learn from his life because of how he was able to stir up his gift in spite of huge opposition both internally and externally. The grace of God is truly stronger than any sin or condemnation. The goodness of God is overwhelmingly powerful no matter how evil may boast. For our gifting and calling to operate like it needs to, we need to believe in the grace and goodness of God like Samson did.

I recently preached on this story- and endeavored to bring out these points. But I also highlighted the unique differences and advantages we have in the New Covenant that Samson did not have access to. We can gain so much from his example, and add elements from his triumphs to our potential in Christ to break through barriers of condemnation and see people and gifts arise to their God-given place in the earth today.

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