I read about Samson today. A miracle baby (Judges 13), an angel visits his mother and tells her the good news. Her barrenness will end and she will have a son! He will be a Nazarite from birth, so no fruit of the vine like grapes or wine or unclean stuff. And his hair can never be cut. He will begin to rescue the Israelites from the Philistines.
Samson arrives and seems to flout every one of God’s laws. I don’t know if it’s because the weight of judging Israel weighed too heavy on him or he was just a rebel, but he didn’t keep any of them. He went after Philistine women in marriage (Judges 14), a huge no-no. But the narrative says God was in that (v. 4). Funny how God goes against His own rules sometimes? Samson rips a lion apart. Later, he finds the same carcass infested with bees. He takes some honey from the lion husk and eats it. Bad Samson! Not supposed to touch dead things, but he does – twice. The list goes on. He fornicates with prostitues. He has a raging temper (Judges 15).
The final judgment comes in Judges 16 when he reveals his secret to Delilah and she shaves his head while he sleeps. The Philistines capture him, put out his eyes and make him grind grain in the prison (16:21). Ouch! Samson becomes blind and a slave on the same day.
Here’s where I want to focus. Verse 22 says: But before long, his hair began to grow back.
What?! Samson deserved NO more chances. He was a pig-headed rageaholic with a fancy for foreign women. How in the world could he be God’s anointed? But God doesn’t go back on His word.
God granted Samson one last wish. During a grand festival to the Philistine god Dagon, Samson emerges from the prison as a trophy to display Dagon’s prowess. “Our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us now is in our power!” (v.24).
Samson prays one last prayer: “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes” (v.28). Samson topples the temple by pushing down two supporting pillars. He killed more people in his death than in his entire lifetime (v.30).
I ran outside this morning in the pre-dawn morning. The hushed air, redolent of flowers, held the silence. Not a breath stirred. Expectancy filled the air. I mused on how God’s mercies are new every morning for us. The verses in Lamentations 3:23 accost me afresh:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I know in my own life sometimes I believe God no longer has sway. I’ve been too foolish, made too many stupid mistakes. He can’t possibly still have a great plan for my life. But He does. Samson is a testament to this. His hair started to grow back. You could argue that hair does that. Fair enough. But his hair was the one thing Samson obeyed God about. He must’ve looked like a pre-Christ rock star. God showed Himself faithful even back then to someone who certainly didn’t deserve it. Who’s to say those same mercies don’t exist for me and you? He is faithful and his mercies new every morning, for all of us.