Updated: Feb 28, 2022
We’ve been reviewing the life of Samson for a few weeks, and I wonder at this point if you think Samson is a hero or a fool? Scripture leads us to believe that Samson should have led a very blessed and promising life, a heroic life – a meaningful life. But we know at this point, despite God’s power being upon Samson, his life did not end well. This reality leads me to conclude that “foolish” is probably the correct category for Samson.
From birth to death, Samson never developed a meaningful relationship with God. Because of this truth, he lacks meaningful relationships in every other aspect of his life. Over and over again, as we flip through the pages of his story, we are led to repetitively ask, “What if?” Unfortunately, today, we see the same “What ifs?” in our society.
Have you noticed how susceptible talent is to tragedy? Google these three words, “talent and tragedy,” and see what fills the screen. My browser received, as top examples, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.
Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, earning 26 AMAs, 40 Billboard Music Awards, and 13 Grammys. He was incredibly talented. But he overdosed on Fentanyl at the age of 50 (1). In comparison, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Whitney Houston was the most-awarded female artist of all time. She had an incredible list of awards, including two Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards – eventually achieving a total of more than 415 career awards. Yet tragedy still trumped talent. At 48 years of age, she was found, the victim of a cocaine overdose, deceased in a bathtub (2).
Sadly, the list of “what if’s?” in modern society goes on and on, with incredibly talented people being overcome by tragedy.
What if these extraordinarily talented celebrities had the meaningful connections in their lives that stopped these tragic outcomes?
Too often in our world, inspiration gets mistaken for invincibility, wit is incorrectly perceived as wisdom, and charisma is confused with character. The result is that meaningful connections are avoided – or never formed – and tragedy then steals the life of talent.
It happened in Samson’s life. He is unbelievably talented in the realm of strength and warfare. But his life is full of tragedies, and it ended tragically.
WHAT IF #1
What if Samson had leaned into the relationship he had with his parents by taking their counsel and walking out life in faith as they did?
Samson’s parents attempted to create an environment where Samson could enjoy a meaningful connection with God by following the Nazirite law. This law called them to a higher degree of holiness, as Samson was meant to be set apart from birth. Under the covenant, he and his family avoided alcohol, all things dead, and cutting their hair. Samson kept his hair long and did not shave his beard. God used this outer symbolism to show that Samson was His, identifying him as an Israelite, especially since Philistines kept themselves hairless and beardless at all times. God wanted Samson to look different and be different from the world (3)!
Instead, we see that Samson kept becoming less like God’s plan and more like the world’s plot. He continuously walked in disobedience to God’s will. He separated from his parents and broke the Nazarite vow repetitively. Making matters worse, he was not forthcoming with his parents about his disobedience. It becomes easy to discern that his life came undone at the seams because he lacked meaningful relationships with God and others.
WHAT IF #2:
What if Samson had established a meaningful relationship with God and others?
It is interesting to evaluate that college students wrestle with the same struggle as Samson. Research now reveals that it is common for college students to walk away from their faith either temporarily or permanently once they are on their own. Why does this happen? Perhaps, because they are no longer under the influence of their parent’s faith or invest their time into relationships that will keep them rooted and grounded in their faith.
Maybe you can relate to that type of college experience. Or, perhaps you can relate to Samson’s own experience. Samson’s parents had deeply held beliefs surrounding God, but Samson did not. He did not have a deep knowledge of God, so he was easily led astray by pride and lust. But, this does not have to be your story!
We can all drift away from God for one reason or another. Our talents can deceive us into tragedy. We, too, can mistake inspiration for invincibility, wit for wisdom, and charisma for character. But, unfortunately, these are not just the mistakes of the famous or Biblical characters like Samson.
But here’s the good news, God wants to do something very awesome in your life! He wants to develop and/or restore the meaningful relationship between you and Him because He is a very awesome God! And to take it one step further, God wants you to have meaningful connections and relationships in your life. People you can depend on, lean on, and glean wisdom from in the times of tragedy in your life. You are not meant to walk this life alone. You were designed for a meaningful relationship with our Father, and others around you.
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(3) Niditch, Judges, 145.