Moses was spiritually unconscious of the glory of God which shone in his face; he is a shining example to us all. Samson was spiritually unconscious of the fact that the Lord had left him impotent; his life is a solemn warning.
Samson’s Name Means “Sunlight”
In the dark days of Israel’s spiritual and moral declension, he was to be a shining light to the people of God. They were dominated by their enemies dwelling in the land, and Samson was born to be their deliverer.
To-day, we still find God’s people dominated by an inward foe, the flesh. Spiritual light and strength are still needed for deliverance.
Samson Had a High Calling
“The child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb” was the angel’s command (Jud. 13:5). Some Israelites fulfilled the Nazarite vow for only a specified purpose and time. (Num. 6:1-8), but Samson was called for life to this holy privilege and solemn responsibility.
1. HE WAS FORBIDDEN TO DRINK WINE. The fruit of the vine was forbidden in every form, being spiritually significant of the earthly pleasures which by nature everyone seeks. While upon earth, Christ was the true Nazarite (Lk. 2:49. Jn. 2:4; 4:32-34); He set before Him the Father’s will above everything else. Samson also should have delighted in the will of God.
2. HE WAS FORBIDDEN TO SHAVE HIS HEAD. There was no strength in mere long hair, but while the Nazarite vow was upon him, he was to be holy, and the locks of his head were to grow. God writes in 1 Cor. 11:14, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” The length of his locks was to remind Samson that he was to be God’s humble and obedient servant. They symbolized his earthly reproach for God, like that borne by the perfectly humble One Who took the lowest place of all, our Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5-8).
3. HE WAS FORBIDDEN TO TOUCH A DEAD BODY. Contact with death brought defilement and dishonour to the Nazariteship. He was to maintain a constant separation from their influences. Again our Lord is the truest and most perfect example (Heb. 7:26).
All this was commanded because the consecration of his God was upon his head; all the days of his separation he was holy unto the Lord (Num. 6:7-8). A complete life of fellowship and service with God was Samson’s high and holy calling. Upon his obedience depended his strength and his victories, not upon the length of his locks.
It was a gradual, slipping process, going step by step down the road of failure, because he esteemed the honour of God less than his own sinful pleasures.
1. HIS HEART DID NOT REMAIN PURE. Elijah fled from Jezebel in Ahab’s day, but Samson embraced the Jezebels of his day, caring nothing for his responsibility to maintain a holy life before a holy God. His vow said that he was holy unto the Lord. How tragic the disobedience! How unholy the path!
2. HE PRIDED HIMSELF IN HIS PHYSICAL STRENGTH. Instead of humbly and gratefully acknowledging the God who had given him power, he only boasted and vaunted himself in the pride of his heart, in personal display, and in selfish delight. The guilt is terrible and the consequences are tragic when one uses God-given honour and blessing for personal exaltation.
3. HIS SENSUAL PLEASURES EVENTUALLY BROUGHT HIS DOWNFALL. “The Philistines be upon thee Samson,” called Delilah. “And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him” (Jud. 16:20). Unconscious of his spiritual impotence, he then became the object of sport and derision by the enemy. Poor blind Samson! What a tragic end to the testimony of his life! And how very much like the blind Laodiceans of our own day (Rev. 3:17).
There are many defiling influences today in the world from which the child of God should separate himself (2 Cor. 6:14- 7:1). When the sensitive, subconscious mind is daily exposed to the world’s pride, pleasure, and riches—rather than to Christ and His Word—inevitable weakness of testimony follows. If the Christian dallies with the world’s sin and folly, his Nazarene locks will be shorn as surely as were Samson’s. “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:15-16).
Samson Experienced Final Victory
The complete account of his life is not without recovery and final victory (Jud. 16:22-30). The truth that “He restoreth my soul” has often been proven; so God in grace restored Samson. The sorrow and remorse of a defeated life must have been brought home to his soul, as “he did grind in the prison house” of the enemy. Conscious of his spiritual failure, Samson in repentance prayed unto God. The Spirit of God records that “the hair of his head began to grow again” and in the hour when the enemy rejoiced over the defeated servant, “Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes!” This, unfortunately, is the second time only, that we read of Samson praying. “And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines” as he took hold of the middle pillars upon which the house stood. Then “he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life”. What a sad, yet heroic end to a tragic life!
“Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come” (1 Cor. 10:11). Moses’ life is exemplary, with God’s glory shining in his face. Samson’s life is a warning, with weakness arid blindness evident in his counteance.
“The false, the deceit that you bear in your heart
Will not stay inside where it first got a start;
For sinew and blood are a thin veil of lace:
What you wear in your heart, you wear in your face!”
We travel the upward road to glory by gradual stages of growth and obedience; we follow the downward path to weakness by gradual stages of degeneracy and disobedience. We sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a destiny. As our hearts are inclined toward the influences which mould our characters for blessing, or toward the things which spoil them unto tragedy, we shall have unconscious glory or unconscious impotence in our spiritual testimony. We shall either be like Moses or like Samson. The choice is ours. May each of us obey the Word of God, for, “We all, with open face beholding, as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). Are we being transformed daily into His likeness? God grant that it may be so; and that by His grace we might show forth the glory of our Saviour in our countenances.
“0 fix our earnest gaze,
So wholly, Lord, on Thee,
That with THY beauty occupied,
We elsewhere none may see.”