As a child who grew up attending Sunday School classes, the mention of the name Samson, even without reading the Bible would instantly remind you of that story you must have heard countless times about that great man who lost it all on the laps of a Delilah. A man that failed to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. But I once stumbled on a portion of Hebrews 11 that made me revisit the story and re-examine his life with a much more open mind and a broader perspective of the overall picture of Samson.
Judges 13, 14, 15 and 16 tells the overall summary of Samson’s life. His chequered story is a classic tale of exuberance, moral weakness, reckless pride and last minute redemption. He was born as a result of God’s plan to rescue Israel from the Philistines. He was given enormous physical strength and had tremendous potential but inspite of his brilliant credentials, he wasted his strength on practical jokes, getting in and out of fights and eventually gave it all up to satisfy a woman. Yes! Samson wasted his life but how did this so called waster of destiny ended up in the Hebrews 11 faith’s hall of fame?
I realized that inspite of his many mistakes, pride (Judges 15:16) and willful disobedience, Samson’s heart turned to the Lord while imprisoned by the same Philistines he was meant to deliver Israel from. He was humbled. He prayed to God—a first—and God answered. Samson finally recognized his dependence on God in the end and when he died, God turned his failures and defeats into victory even though he had to pay with his life.
One vital lesson is that, however badly we may have failed God in the past, it is never too late to start over. God’s mercy never fails. Ever faithful, ever sure. Samson returned to God at the very end of his life and was counted victory for him. He was listed in Hebrews 11:32-40 among those who “through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice (evidenced by Judges 15:20), and gained what was promised… whose weakness was turned to strength.” For a man who seems to have missed it, that for sure is a resounding eulogy!