Samson: A Man of Privilege

Free Bible Study Materials for Christian Discipleship
 September 2016

photo courtesy of lift

Dear fellow disciple-maker,

**This newsletter is the first article in a four part series on the life of Samson**

At the end of his life Moses warned the Israelites, "Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God...otherwise your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 8:13-14).

Here is the principle: Forgetting the Lord leads to forsaking the Lord. Although blessed with incredible human strength, Samson forgot that his power came from God and not himself. What happened to Samson could happen to us. We all have a natural tendency to forget.

God's Privilege Given

In the book of Judges the nation of Israel repeatedly did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Out of his goodness, the Lord humbled them and delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. The Philistines were a warlike people and one of Israel's principle rivals. God created Samson for the special purpose of delivering Israel from the Philistines. The entirety of his tragic yet triumphant life is found in Judges 13-16.

Samson's birth was miraculous. His father Manoah had a barren wife. To their surprise, God sent an angel to inform Manoah's wife that she would give birth to a son. The child was to be a Nazirite – set apart to God from birth (see Numbers 6:2-5). Specifically, the angel instructed her to never cut the boy's hair.

Supernatural Strength from God

We can only imagine how many times Samson heard his parents retell the story of the angel's appearance and describe his miraculous birth. Their personal testimony was Samson's introduction to God's compassion and power. The Lord loved Samson and blessed him. As he grew, the Spirit of the Lord began to work in him and through him. Samson knew that his incredible physical strength came from the Lord because he was able to do what the average man could never do.

The Scriptures reveal that Samson killed a lion with his bare hands, struck down thirty men and took their clothing, burned crops using 300 foxes with torches in their tails, killed one thousand men with only the jawbone of a donkey, carried the doorposts of a city on his shoulders, and snapped ropes off his arms like a thread. Every time the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, Samson was reminded that the privilege was his – but the power was God's.

photo courtesy of gift box

God's Gift Forgotten

It is completely logical to expect such a privileged individual to live righteously and never forget the Lord. But that assumption fails to consider Samson's fallen human nature. When Samson failed to remember that God was the source of his strength, he became vulnerable to the wrong kind of influences. Soon he was governed by self-reliance and sensual desires. Samson's spiritual roots made him privileged but not obligated. Just like you and me, he was created with the capacity to choose his response toward God. He could either love the Lord with all his heart, or set his affections elsewhere.

In spite of every favor he received, Samson took his relationship with God for granted and forgot the purpose for which he was made. Have you? As Samson began to live independently from God, he gradually relied upon himself. His strength became his greatest weakness because he forgot its source. Over time, Samson overestimated his ability to resist evil influences and handle dangerous situations. Let the forgetfulness of Samson be a wake-up call for all of us!

Author:Paul Schlieker

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