Outside of the four chapters in the book of Judges, Samson is only mentioned one other time in Scripture. His name is recorded in Hebrews, chapter eleven, in the list of the famed faithful! Samson is there with Patriarchs like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. “And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight” (Hebrews 11:32–34). The Bible says that Samson should be remembered for his faith. Humm?
In striking contrast to the others listed in the Hall of Faith, we find the once-invincible Samson devoid of God’s powerful presence. His Philistine captors gouged out his eyes and bound him in bronze shackles. In prison, Samson was harnessed to a grinding mill and did the work of an ox, grinding grain, round and round, going nowhere (Judges 16:20-21).
The weakened warrior, his head shaved, grotesquely scarred, dried blood staining his cheeks, was put on display as an object of ridicule, a laughingstock! The Philistines gloated, “ ‘Our god has handed over our enemy Samson to us.’ When the people saw him, they praised their god and said: ‘Our god has handed over to us our enemy who destroyed our land and who multiplied our dead.’ When they were in good spirits, they said, ‘Bring Samson here to entertain us.’ So they brought Samson from prison, and he entertained them” (Judges 16:23-25).
Though the Bible says, “his hair began to grow back after it had been shaved” (Judges 16:22), we can say with certainly, it wasn’t what was on his head that mattered most. It was what was happening in his heart! Humbled, Samson “called out to the Lord, ‘Lord God, please remember me. Strengthen me, God, just once more. With one act of vengeance, let me pay back the Philistines for my two eyes’ ” (Judges 16:28).
Samson’s ancestors had cried out to God from their bondage. At the burning bush, God spoke to Moses saying, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters ... And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them” (Exodus 3:7–9, ESV).
The Psalmist sang, “God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. I call to you from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy. I will dwell in your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of your wings” (Psalm 61:1–4).
Samson cried out to the Lord! Humbly, trusting in God’s power alone, “Samson took hold of the two middle pillars supporting the temple and leaned against them, one on his right hand and the other on his left. Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines.’ He pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the leaders and all the people in it. And those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed in his life” (Judges 16:29-30).
Samson can be remembered for a singular act of faith... but God must be worshipped for His limitless, relentless, extravagant grace!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.