In chapters 14, 15 and 16 of Judges, we’re shown how Samson lived his life. Now he knew that he was set apart by God for specific work. The way he lived, however, shows that he struggled with character.
When we go to Hebrews, we see “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions” (Hebrews 12:32-33, ESV).
Samson knew full well that he had a holy calling on his life. He is named in the “Hall of Faith” because he knew that he didn’t have any strength of his own to accomplish these great feats. Despite this, he lived loosely.
There is no evidence in the four chapters about his life that he prayed, except once right before he died. He didn’t settle any disputes between people; he didn’t engage with any rulers; he didn’t lead Israel into battle.
Instead, Samson lived a self-indulgent lifestyle, often revolving around a woman. During his wedding, he killed thirty men and took their clothing to fulfill a bet. He seemingly abandoned his wife, and when he discovered that she’d remarried, he burned several of the Philistines’ fields. Then we find him with his head in Delilah’s lap. The Philistines captured him, cut his hair and put his eyes out. God, in his grace and mercy, still gave Samson supernatural strength once more to defeat Israel’s enemies.
This is the same with us. Who among us has a perfect record? God gives us grace and mercy in our time of need. I believe there was so much more that God wanted to do with Samson’s life, though, if only his character had come into alignment with his calling. His story is a warning for us to be mindful of how we live our lives.
Is your character developing according to your natural self? Are you gratifying your own impulses and desires? Or are you allowing the Holy Spirit to fill you with the character of Christ? Are you producing the fruits of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23)?
We will never completely fulfill God’s purpose for our lives until we become men and women of prayer who seek the will of God wholeheartedly. Oh friends, I pray that our characters grow toward the holy calling of God in our lives.