“And Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.”Judges 16:30
Samson was the original superhero, a biblical bodybuilder, a fighter who killed a thousand Philistines warriors with the jawbone of a donkey in one day. Samson’s birth was announced by the angel of the Lord. He was given super human strength and was made judge over the nation of Israel for twenty years.
Samson’s life was full of potential for true and lasting greatness. In Hebrews 11:32-34, he is remembered in the Hall of Faith. Even in his death, he killed more people than when he lived.
However, Samson’s life is often used as an illustration for wasted potential. Throughout his life, Samson was often distracted by entitlement and pride. For all of his strengths, he was an impatient and impetuous man who struggled in his relationships with the wrong kind of people, especially women who wanted nothing to do with God. As one pastor puts it: “he was a He-man with a She-weakness.”
If we are really honest, we may have more in common with Samson than we would like to admit. How often have we allowed a sense of entitlement and pride to creep into our lives? How often are we quick to praise ourselves and not the God who pours His favor on us? How often have we veered away from God’s plan for our lives by thinking we know better?
At the end of his life, Samson really veered away from God’s best. He married an ungodly woman named Delilah, who made a deal with Samson’s enemies to discover the source of his strength. She delivered him into the hands of the Philistines, who in turn gouged his eyes out and treated him like an animal for entertainment.
By that point in his life, Samson had killed many, many Philistines, and they were his mortal enemies. When they captured him, they mocked him and ultimately, they mocked God since he was God’s representative, God’s judge to the nation of Israel. In Judges 16, we read that they brought him out in chains and placed him between the two pillars that supported the house. He was to be their entertainment: the once great judge of Israel, now blind and impotent.
Samson asked the Spirit to move in him once more. God heard his prayer. In the midst of their mockery, the Spirit of the Lord empowered him one last time and gave him redemption. Judgment fell upon the Philistine thousands as the structure caved in, killing everyone inside.
Like Samson, Christians serve a God “who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20).” We have the potential to leave a legacy for future generations to follow. Living a life empowered by the Holy Spirit is only possible when we fix our eyes on Jesus and discipline ourselves to follow and obey Him. Spirit-led lives will leave Christ-like legacies for future generations to follow.