Although Samson was uncommonly gifted, his lack of godly character was quite common among God’s people in those days.
Judges 13:1a And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD…
The generations after Joshua didn’t know the Lord; consequently, the nation drifted into a downward spiritual spiral. Although Samson acted mainly in the interest of Samson and not necessarily for the people of God, his actions did render their captors with less power and strength than they would have had otherwise. The children of Israel should have rejoiced when Samson plundered the fields of the Philistines via 300 foxes set ablaze, but instead, 3,000 of them went to complain to Samson. They said (Judges 15:11):
Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?”
Instead of the 3,000 joining forces with Samson and his men (assuming someone helped him with the 300 foxes) to attack the Philistines, they actually asked Samson to give himself up! They said,
We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.
My point is this: often when we hear messages on Samson, they only focus on Samson and his deficiency in spiritual character. However, the people of Israel were just as spiritually weak as Samson. They were content to continue life under the Philistines and not break the status quo, regardless of the efforts of their leader.
Comfortable followers will cripple the resolve of a leader.
The same is true in a church. When the church leadership decides that it is time to move forward — maybe with a new vision for evangelism or discipleship — maybe they bring forth the idea that mega-churches are not the most effective and seek to start another local church — maybe they decide to spend prayer meetings, begging God to work in their church — whatever it is, nothing will cripple their resolve more than a congregation who will not follow.
Lord, we recognize that our leaders are sent from you – that you have called them to shepherd us, your flock. Give us hearts, therefore, to follow them as they faithfully follow you. Give us resolve to bring them before you, holding their arms high in the days of seeming battle. Give us grace to follow as we must, so that through us your glory may shine brightly and that the gospel may go forward with power. Amen.