Most of us know the story of Samson and Delilah. Actually, it's not one of my favorite stories. I always thought Samson was pretty dumb and rude and violent. Delilah is no peach herself. Anyway, I was reading the story again last week and something popped out at me that I'd never seen before.
Brief overview of Samson. He was set apart by God before his birth to be a Nazarite.. a special sect of Jews who dedicated their life to God's service. They never drank alcohol and never cut their hair. Samson had special gifting from God in that by keeping this vow, he was incredibly strong! I mean like Superman strong. At the time of his life, the Jews were under the rule of the Philistines, so Samson's job was to kill the bad guys. He was pretty good at it too. One time he killed 1000 Philistines with only the jawbone of an ox.
But Samson had a weakness. Women! He fell for the wrong ones. The first one, who was to be his wife, caused him all kinds of grief and many people died. The second woman was the harlot Delilah. Delilah was working for the Philistines, trying to figure out what the source of Samson's strength was so they could defeat him. Two times she begged Samson to tell her and two times he gave her the wrong information. Both those times, after she did what he had told her, the Philistines were there ready to attack him. You know I always thought Samson must be the dumbest guy on the planet. Here's this woman begging him to tell her the secret to his strength and both times there are people waiting to attack him, but when she asks again, he finally tells her the truth.
Was Samson really that dumb? Listen to what he says after Delilah cuts off all his hair and Delilah wakes him up to tell him the Philistines are attacking him.
"I will go out as I have time after time and shake myself free." Judges 16:20
Now, obviously he could tell all his hair had been cut off, but he wasn't afraid. Why? Because after all the years of living with his extra strength, Samson had started to believe his own press. He forgot that it was God who had gifted him with super strength and he believed that he was strong on his own. His pride had taken over. He thought he was super human. As it turns out, that wasn't the case.
But it got me to wondering. how many of us receive gifts from God, such as special talents for things. Artwork, crafts, math, computers, dancing, writing, doctoring, building, fixing... whatever talents God has given us. But we end up forgetting that every good thing we have comes from God, the giver of life and light, who rains blessings on the evil and the good.
How easy it is for us to forget that we had nothing to do with the talents we have. Yes, we may have improved them with study and hard work, but the bare-bones talent... that came from God. I know SO MANY people who think they are awesome in this field or that field or in that endeavor, but they never give glory to God.
Think of sports stars, football and basketball, hockey. What about movie stars? Models? All the people our culture worships. God gave them those talents!!! God put them in a position to use them. Yet many never even acknowledge Him.
I'm guilty of this too. There was a time that my success as a writer went to my head and I started to think I was pretty darn cool. :-) Thank God, He showed me my rotten heart and I quickly repented. No one is immune to human pride.
Samson made the mistake of thinking he was the source of his strength. It was a costly mistake for him. Both his eyes were gouged out and he was imprisoned and eventually died pulling down a building on top of thousands of Philistines. In that final moment, Samson called out to God for help, admitting that it was God and God alone who was Samson's source of power.
Let us pray none of us have to learn our lesson the hard way.