Reading through the Bible together
While the previous chapter exposes Samson’s failure as a man of God, this chapter highlights his failure as a leader. His confrontation with the Philistines is not prompted by a desire to end their rule over the Israelites but by his own selfish quest to show them how strong he was. Even by the standards of the day, Samson’s actions were excessive and unwarranted. In contrast to previous judges who went to battle in the name of the Lord, not once does Samson invoke God’s name, even as God’s Spirit empowers him to defeat his enemies (15:14). He boasts of his victory without giving credit to God (15:16). It is only when he needs God’s help that he calls upon Him, and then he does so complaining rather than pleading with God (15:18).
Yet Samson seemingly gets away with doing so because the Lord continues to bless him in spite of his rebellion. But while his life is spared, his mission to deliver God’s people is hindered by his selfish and immature attitude: “As they did to me, so I have done to them”. Rather than joining forces with Samson to overthrow the yoke of Philistine rule, the men of Judah cower before the threat and have no qualms giving up one of their own (15:9-13). Samson even fears that they might turn on him and he would have to kill his own people. The chosen deliverer has the strength to kill a thousand men but lacks the moral standing to command the respect and trust of even one Israelite. Guided by his own sense of justice, he’s no different than the Philistines he is fighting against.
Many of us live the life of Samson. We have received the calling to be leaders among God’s people. We have been blessed with the skills or means to accomplish great feats for the Lord. But like Samson we have become self-reliant, trusting our own abilities or position to accomplish things. In our success, we may not realize that we want to be in control instead of allowing God to take the lead. Don’t forget to pray today for Jesus to be in control of your life and that the Spirit of the Lord may come mightily upon you.
Justo E. Morales
Southern Adventist University