My little cousin was staying with me for a little while, and he’s really into all the superheroes. He has all the costumes…the Hulk, Superman, Thor, Wolverine…and so on. We watched a lot of superhero shows; and, watching Superman we saw how he lost all of his strength when he was in contact with kryptonite. The other day, we watched Hercules…they talked about Achilles and how he fell because of one little tendon. These stories reminded me of the superhero in the Bible…Samson. When most people think of the story of Samson, it’s always about how much he misbehaved or his ultimate demise because he was betrayed by his wife Delilah. However, I think Samson’s story is really about forgiveness and second chances.
Who hasn’t blown it at some time in our lives? We’ve all missed it at some time and repented. The important thing to remember is that when you blow it and fall, you stand up and try again; you don’t have to stay in defeat! God can really bring even the most extreme defeats into situations of triumph. Let’s consider for a moment this person who blew it worse than anyone; but the end of his life was glorious, because God gave him another opportunity, and he took it. And, if anyone ever needed a second chance, it was definitely Samson. God can give you a second chance, too, but if you lie down in defeat, nothing will be accomplished at all. God has big things in store for you, just as He did for Samson. You don’t have to miss it the way he almost did!
Even Samson’s birth was miraculously foretold in Genesis 49: Jacob prophesied over his 12 sons, out of which came the 12 different tribes of Judah. One of these tribes was the tribe of Dan, and this was the tribe into which Samson was born. In Genesis 49:16, Jacob prophesied of one from that tribe who would “judge his people,” and, according to the Old Testament, the only judge who came from the tribe of Dan was Samson. Indeed, Samson was to become a very important part of Israel’s destiny. Samson’s name means, “sunshine,” and he was to shine as a light, as one set apart to serve his people. Before his mother ever became aware of his conception, his birth was foretold by an angel, to prepare her for this miraculous child. In Judges 13:4, she was instructed to take the Nazaritevow of consecration, and it was to last for the duration of her pregnancy. Essentially, the Nazarite vow could be taken by men or women and involved a time in which they were to set their lives apart unto God-usually for a period of 60-90 days. During this time, they were to take nothing from the vine (grape juice or wine, etc.), their hair was not to be cut, and they could not touch the dead. (Our equivalent to this vow today would be a time set apart for fasting and prayer in order to seek the Lord.)
Samson’s mother was to live by the Nazarite vow for a period of time which extended beyond the usual span, but the Lord required even more of the child whose birth was impending. Samson was to take the Nazaritevow also, but his vow was to be one of lifetime consecration. He was meant to be “Nazarite unto God” forever (Judges 13:7). Why was Samson’s birth and life to be entirely consecrated? Because he was born for the wonderful purpose of beginning to deliver his people from the hand of the oppressing Philistines! Immediately, Samson’s mother told her husband, Manoah, about her angelic visitation, so he prayed :”Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.
(Judges 13:8) He said, “Oh my! This is a miraculous child God is giving us, and we need to know how to raise him. Lord, will You please teach us how to raise our child?” Then the angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah, and rather than instruct him about the child, he reemphasized the necessity of the mother’s Nazarite vow: “…Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her, let her observe.”
(Judges 13:13-14) What was happening? The importance of Samson’s consecration was becoming increasingly vivid as the angel placed the emphasis on the mother’s observance of the vow! This setting apart was to take place in the womb of his mother before he was even born! Can you imagine? His birth was prophesied in Genesis 49; then an angel visited his parents twice to tell about his birth and to give instruction for the way in which he was meant to be raised. He was to be really special in God’s plan, so God made a great deal of preparation for him. Because there was such an amazing prelude to his birth, one would think Samson was destined to be a near-perfect man. But, he wasn’t; remember how Samson struggled with various issues later in his life. It’s interesting to read how he managed the various tests and trials that came his way. Some he passed. Some he didn’t. However, even after his death (Judges 16), it’s important to remember that he began his life in the Spirit, and he ended in the Spirit. True, he gave into sin in the interim, but God gave him a second chance, and he ended his life being in the Spirit. That’s what’s important.
You may have begun in the flame of the Word: you love God and are filled with the Holy Spirit, but then you blow it at certain times in your life. That doesn’t have to mean that you must end that way. By staying in the Spirit and making God your Master and Owner, you can prevent a lot of tragedies. Samson is in the “hall of fame” of faith in Hebrews 11. God didn’t list any of Samson’s mistakes, because he had repented of them. What did God remember? His faith.
Faith—that is what God remembers about you. You will be in God’s “hall of fame” of faith when you confess your sins and take advantage of the second chance which He gives you. Samson may have made a lot of mistakes worse than yours, but God gave him another chance. I want to encourage you—if you feel that you’ve really missed it, make God yourMaster today. He loves you, and it is the desire of His heart to set you in paths of new beginnings!
The prayer of Samson may have sounded like the words of a helpless and hopeless man. And they would have been except God heard him pray, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more” (Judges 16:28). As long as you remember to ask Him, He will always hear you.