Samson is a character in the Bible we learn of as small children. A super hero. Or so we think. However, what we learned as children is only a bit of the story. The sordid details of his life, though chosen by God from his mother’s womb, were conveniently left out. The pre-incarnate Jesus had announced his birth to his previously barren mother. God had big plans for this life. Samson was a man of herculean strength, with a weakness for pretty women, a lover of riddles, and a bent toward revenge. His penchant for pretty women cost him his sight, his freedom, and years of usefulness to God as a judge over Israel; while his burning desire for revenge and his determination to exact this revenge himself cost him his life. His death was self inflicted. He chose to die rather than live with the consequences of his actions. Yes, this is really tough stuff.
Suicide, euthanasia, doctor assisted death, abortion: These are all choices made by an individual to choose a death they believe to be on their own terms. I guess you are wondering why on earth I would dig into this subject. My life has been touched more than once by these issues personally and professionally and God’s Word alone has been my comfort! You see, as a nurse, I see mankind on the precipice of life. Like my Stoic, I need to understand what God is doing and how can this be good? Or fair? Sometimes, no matter how hard we want to die or even attempt to die, it does not happen. Yet, others who are godly (love Jesus and have faith in God) and are praying for healing and believe they will be healed yet, they die. Life just doesn’t make sense. But God’s Word can help us at least begin to see what we in our humanness cannot see—a spiritual battle for the souls of man and the magnificent MERCY of Almighty God.
Scripture tells us to, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (I Peter 5:9) and “the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10) He is a liar (John 8:44) and he tells us God does not care for us. (Genesis 3:4, Matthew 4:1-11) Yet, every heartbeat and every breath begs to differ. God tells us, “A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set,” (Job 14:5) and “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) The trials of our lives are meant to apply heat to remove the dross of our lives and the silversmith, God Himself, never leaves us unattended. (Malachi 3:3, Psalm 66:10) At just the perfect moment, when He sees His own reflection in our lives, He removes us from the fire. As one person has said, “The Teacher is always silent during the test,” but the Teacher is always watching to insure purity and passing.
The Silversmith, Music by Michael W. Smith
This is a spiritual tug of war and we are the rope. Satan’s agenda is death. God’s agenda is abundant life, victory and eternity with Him in glory where there is no more sickness, pain, suffering, death, and streets are paved with pure gold.
Jesus came and died for the sins of all mankind, past, present, and future. The thief on the cross proves it is never too late. Lazarus proves there are second chances. Yes, even our last act may be a sin, but it will in NO WAY keep us from our eternal destination if we have accepted the blood of Jesus as payment in full for our sin. Jesus saw even those final acts as He died and He said “It is finished!” (PAID IN FULL) He won the WAR for our souls. He has the keys to death and hell. He took back what belonged to Him. He has the final say.
Samson was used by God despite his tendencies to make poor choices in companionship. Even his final act of tearing down a place of idol worship and killing the Philistines accomplished God’s plan. How do I know this? Look back to Judges 14:1-4. Scripture tells us Samson wanted a Philistine wife! His parents nearly had a “come apart” because Samson was consecrated to the LORD as a Nazarite. Look at verse four: “4 (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)” God is in all the details! He truly is working all things together for good. (Romans 8:28) Now there is a gold nugget of hope for parents of prodigals!
Do I understand His ways? Not even a little bit! “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) Some things I am just going to have to accept and trust He has EVERYONE’S best interest at heart. Especially, when life is throwing a ninety mile per hour fastball at my heart.
Samson died that day as he tore down the columns that held up a roof. He knew he would die and it was worth it to him. He is blind. He has been chained to a grinding wheel for months, maybe years (a picture of torture and never ending turmoil and taunting). (Judges 16:21, 23-25) He has disappointed God and himself. This is the only way he sees to redeem himself and his people. In doing this, Israel is freed from the control of the Philistines. Though his disobedience had cost him his strength, God had restored his strength to him and Samson gave his life to accomplish God’s plan. Suicide or martyrdom? It is all about perspective.
For Samson wrestled not with flesh and blood (Delilah, a lion, or other people) but with the powers of the enemy in heavenly places. He failed to put on the armor God had provided for him as a Nazarite and the arrows of the enemy found their bullseye. (Ephesians 6:12)
Samson was a judge over Israel for twenty years. In his last breath he cried out to the Lord for strength: “28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” (Judges 16:28) The proof of his faith in Yahweh comes out of his mouth: He acknowledges God as Sovereign, his source of strength, and seeks His blessing.
Isaiah 57:1-2 puts God’s plans in perspective:
The righteous perishes,
And no man takes it to heart;
Merciful men are taken away,
While no one considers
That the righteous is taken away from evil.
2 He shall enter into peace;
They shall rest in their beds,
Each one walking in his uprightness.
We must remember, death is not the end. It is a new beginning. We choose before our final breath what this beginning will be: eternal peace or eternal suffering. This choice is ours alone to make. He honors the free will we were given.
Will we see Samson in glory? Yes, for he displayed his faith in the Lord: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Steven Curtis Chapman –You Are Meant to Be
Choosing to tread on,