Lesson for May 21
EXPLORE THE BIBLE SERIES:
Samson's tragic life leaves a legion of lessons
___ Judges 13:2-5; 16:16-21
___By Ellis Orozco
___Calvary Baptist Church, McAllen
___Samson's life began with great hope and expectation only to end in terrible tragedy. What can we learn from his tragic life?
___ Samson did not appreciate his gift. Before Samson's birth, an angel appeared to his barren mother and declared the child she would bare would be special. Samson's life began with wonder and intrigue. As he grew, it became obvious he was not an ordinary person. His strength was much greater than any other man on the face of the earth. His parents obviously shared with him the story of the angel and the secret to his strength. However, throughout his life Samson used his strength selfishly. He would get himself into a bind and then use his strength to get himself out of trouble (Judges 14:19; 15:16; 16:3). His consistent misuse of his gift was a show of contempt towards the God who had given it to him. His selfish lifestyle and dependence on his own strength ultimately led to his downfall.
___ Samson was inconsistent in his devotion to God. Samson's story painfully mirrors the problem of our sinful nature. Samson, at times, was very close to God (Judges 14:19; 15:14). Every time Samson called on him, God was there. And yet, there were times when Samson did some very ungodly things (Judges 15:4-5; 16:1). Samson's inconsistency in his devotion to God is a reflection of our own struggle against our sinful nature.
___Samson had everything he needed to be the greatest leader in Israel's history. He could have been greater than David or Solomon. He had charisma, charm, strength and popularity. He had it all. Samson's story is the tragic tale of potential wasted. One of the saddest verses in the entire Bible is Judges 16:20b--"But he (Samson) did not know that the Lord had left him." In the end, his inconsistency killed him.
___ Samson did not learn from his mistakes. Samson had a bad memory. His first marriage was to a Philistine woman (against his parent's wishes) who betrayed him by sharing the secret to his riddle. His second marriage was to another Philistine woman (apparently his parents had given up on him because they did not record an objection to this second marriage) who betrayed him by sharing the secret to his strength. Samson (and all of Israel) paid a price for his first marriage. It led to war and death. The story would have been sad if it had ended there. It didn't end there. Samson repeated his first mistake by marrying the enemy again. That's when the story goes from sad to tragic. Samson refused to learn from his mistakes.
___ Samson never stopped believing in God. For all of his mistakes, Samson never stopped believing in God. Even after his hair was shaved off, his strength gone, his eyes gouged out and his freedom stolen, Samson did not blame God. Samson understood he had been responsible for his own tragic circumstances. In the end, Samson called on God one more time. He never stopped believing that, no matter how far he had fallen, God could still use him. God did use Samson one last time. In his death, Samson gave Israel freedom from their enemy. Jesus does the same for us today.
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