I came upon the life of Samson in the book of Judges this morning. Judges 13 begins with the angelic visitation announcing Samson’s birth. Sam’s mother, only known here as Manoah’s wife, was infertile.
The angels says:
“Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food.You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” – Judges 13:3-5
Manoah wants a visitation of his own. The angel returns and says the same thing. Now, I don’t know about you, but my babies didn’t come with a heavenly announcement. All I got was the holy pink cross blazing a plastic stick. Enough for me, honestly. I would think Manoah and his wife would be in awe of such a child. God didn’t perform a lot of “in person” miracles at this time.
We hear nothing of Samson’s childhood. But his later behavior leads me to believe he didn’t receive much discipline that actually took. Chapter 14 has him desiring a Philistine woman. The Philistines ruled over the Israelites for most of the book of Judges. His parents protested at his choice of a lovely girl from Timnah.
His father and mother objected. “Isn’t there even one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry?” they asked. “Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?”
But Samson told his father, “Get her for me! She looks good to me.” 4 His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time. – Judges 14:3-4
God used Samson’s defiance to work out His plan. This doesn’t get Samson off the hook for being a goober, however.
The narrative goes on to describe the wedding to the lady from Timnah. On the way there, they encountered a lion about to attack them. God’s strength comes upon him and Samson rips it apart with his bare hands (v. 6). He didn’t tell his folks about it (would you?). Later, when he saw the carcass in the road, bees had built a hive in it. He took honey out of it and ate it. As a Nazirite, he was not to touch dead things. He even shared the, honey with his parents, keeping its origin a secret.
Read on if you want to learn of his jealous streak and anger management issues. Just from these few incidents I’ve outlined we see arrogance, spoiled behavior, willfulness and deception.
I want to go on record here saying sometimes we come into this world with a lot of fanfare. People might be in awe of where we came from. Maybe we’ve heard about our great potential for decades. Maybe we’re even descended from Charlemagne. Maybe you sprang from a sparkly rainbow. The point is that it doesn’t matter. Your pedigree makes no difference if you have poor character. Your connections, talents, and abilities won’t gain you true love and acceptance. Nor will you find happiness.
In the end Samson redeemed himself by calling on God, who managed to bring down the house on 4,000 Philistines. He reached a place of great humility after he got duped again and eyes dug out. Samson reminds me to remain humble, despite any press saying I’m the best thing since sliced bread.