Thoughts on Samson, part 1

Part #1:  The lion was in the prime of his youth – not merely a purring cub or oldie knocking on the door of death – the lion was strong. Samson, the nazarite, came upon the lion as he walked through the vineyard. He had no weapon, but ripped the lion apart with the strength of his hands as though it were but a small goat.It was midnight. His encounter with the prostitue resulted in more than he barganed for, as the men of Gaza intended to kill him at sunrise. He snuck towards the city gate, probably passing through, either by stealthy craftiness or Herculean force, at least four sets of armed gaurds. He approached the gate and instead of simply unbolting it and escaping, he lifted the gate – bar and all – and ripped it out of the city wall. By conservative estimations, he carried it at least 20 miles, up-hill, over somewhat sandy terrain.Other biblical episodes reveal his strength in that he killed 1,000 men with the jaw-bone of a donkey and set the tails of 300 foxes afire to wreck havoc in the fields of the Philistines.His Spirit-empowered strength, a gift from God for the deliverance of his people, was unsurpassed by that of any man. But yet, with almost every account of his amazing strength, comes the disappointing revelation of his weakness in character.Catching 300 foxes and setting them on fire in the fields of the Philistines – amazing strength and cleverness! But yet, his actions were motivated out of rage and revenge.He ripped the gate out of the city wall and carried over 20 miles up hill. Amazing strength.But what was he doing in Gaza?Delivering God’s people from bondage?No, he was visiting a prostitute.He killed a lion with his bare hands. Amazing strength!But what was he doing in a vineyard?His nazarite vow to God prohibited that he even touch the fruit of the vine. Was he flirting with breaking his vow?  If one trip through a vineyard weren’t enough, on a second trip, he stops and touches an unclean thing – the carcas of the dead lion, thus breaking his vow to the Lord.How could such a strong man waste his God-given ability? With every amazing display of physical strength, we see a failure in Samson’s spiritual character, whether it be his prideful motivation or uncontrolled propensity to feed his lusting heart.A leader who has giftedness without godliness reduces not only his effectiveness for God, but also that of his people.Lord, help me to not be a Samson-type leader; give me the strength of character to match my God-given giftedness. Help me to lead with both strength and integrity, with giftedness and godliness, always acting in accordance to your will, with a heart of service to your people and a thirst for your glorification in the Earth. Amen.Part #1: The Weak LeaderPart #2: The Weaker FollowersPart #3: The Gracious God who acts for his glory and the good of his people

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