Samson. Famous for his strength but not for his character. His strength was his hair—no, that’s not right. His strength was God who brought this man into existence (born to a barren couple) for His own purpose of bringing down the Philistines who were oppressing His people, Israel. Samson’s strength was conditional on his obedience to God as a Nazirite, one who lived under a vow to God symbolized by uncut hair and abstinence from alcoholic drink.
His weakness was women, including the infamous Delilah. Or is it more accurate to say that his weakness was taking God for granted? Over and over, he got out of his scrapes by means of his superhuman strength, when “the Spirit of the Lord empowered him”
to tear apart an attacking lion with his bare hands,
break his shackles,
kill 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey,
uproot monstrous city gates and carry them 40 miles,
and do other amazing things.
But a woman’s crocodile tears were enough to defeat Samson. Plus the fact that he took God for granted. Samson finally divulged his secret to Delilah, who had his hair cut and then awakened him shouting, “The Philistines have come to capture you!” He assumed that he would again be able to escape again by his great strength—as usual. But—and here’s the saddest part of the whole story—“But he didn’t realize the LORD had left him.” (You can read this whole account in the Bible, in Judges chapters 13-16.)
The strength of our nations and our families, the blessings of freedom and plenty are all gifts from God, to be used for His purposes. When we forget why we have these and assume that we’re entitled to them regardless of how we live our lives, we’d better be ready for an unpleasant surprise. We must not take God for granted!
The best-equipped army cannot save a king,
nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—
for all its strength, it cannot save you.
But the LORD watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:16-18)