If you recall from my last post, “Is The Spirit Guiding Your Life? part 1“, we started comparing Samson with John the Baptist. I know, an unlikely pair, right? Let’s continue…
We already mentioned the first fact:
- Both mothers were advanced in age and were unable to conceive.
Here are two other similarities between the two men…
2. An angel appeared to both sets of parents.
Judges 13: 3 The angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son.
Luke 1: 11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.
What is a Nazirite? (Numbers 6: 1-21)
3. The Lord set apart Samson and John as Nazirites from birth:
Judges 13: 4 So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food. 5 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.”
Luke 1: 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.
Both Samson and John the Baptist are set apart as Nazirites
At this point, Manoah and his wife have got to be pretty excited knowing that their baby is to be set apart and used by God in a mighty way. I mean, what if you (as a couple) couldn’t conceive and an angel appeared to you with this news?
After given a few instructions (for being a Nazirite), they asked for more:
Judges 13: 12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words come true, what kind of rules should govern the boy’s life and work?”
13 The angel of the LORD replied, “Be sure your wife follows the instructions I gave her. 14 She must not eat grapes or raisins, drink wine or any other alcoholic drink, or eat any forbidden food.”
Of course, they want to raise Samson right and ask “Do you have any instructions that come with this special delivery?”.
It’s reasonable, right?
They want to know what rules they should enforce. But nope, just raise the boy as a Nazirite, “I’ll do all the rest”, is basically what God is saying here.
So Samson was born and sure enough, the Spirit begins to work in him:
Judges 13: 24 When her son was born, she named him Samson. And the LORD blessed him as he grew up. 25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he lived in Mahaneh-dan, which is located between the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol.
Samson’s parents are shocked!
Judges 14: 1 One day when Samson was in Timnah, one of the Philistine women caught his eye. 2 When he returned home, he told his father and mother, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.”
3 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.”
Can you imagine?! After the Lord sets apart your son that he starts lusting after some Philistine woman! What went wrong? Keep reading…
Judges 14: 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.
God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55: 9)
Nothing went wrong. God tells us what happened and why. Yet I hear many teachers using Samson as an example of what not to do. He was fulfilling His divine purpose, albeit unknowingly. This was prophesied in Judges 13: 5 and in 14:5 we know that God was at work in this.
To say that the direction Samson took (seeking foreign women) was a failure (or sinful) would be like saying God really screwed up. As if the Spirit didn’t guide him correctly or maybe God should have given rules.
But it’s not a failure because his whole life accomplishes what God intended to do. Following the Spirit of God won’t always makes sense to us and many times it’s counter intuitive.
There’s more to this story and the Bible has more to say about this issue, so stay tuned.