How long has it been since you’ve read the story of Samson? You remember, long hair – super strong. Haircut – instant wimp. That Samson. With my Sunday school boys, it’s a fresh challenge each week to grab their attention and give them a new angle on stories they’ve heard since preschool. Samson got their attention. He got mine, too. You can read his story in Judges 13-16.
In the most familiar part of his story, Delilah whines until he tells her the source of his supernatural strength. He says, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”
Samson’s answer was wrong.
Did you catch that? My boys did. His answer was wrong. And that was his problem. Samson’s hair didn’t make him strong. God did. It’s a very subtle, but critical difference.
Samson put more stock in the vow, and the sign of the vow, than the God the vow supposedly honored.
Because Samson so often appears in the Bible storybooks our kids read, it’s tempting to dismiss him as a two-dimensional caricature. The truth is, Samson, like all the people in Scripture was a real person, with strengths and weaknesses. Just like us.
Now let’s personal. Maybe I’m picking nits (or splitting hairs, even) but it’s too easy to put our confidence in all the things ABOUT God and miss true sustaining intimacy with Him. Consider these questions:
- Have I, do I, put more faith in the act of prayer than the God who hears?
- Have I, do I, get more comfort from the words of Scripture than the God who speaks them?
- Have I, do I, find more contentment in my position as a child of God than from the Father who put me there?
The answers are very telling. And very convicting. Now, what about Delilah’s question?
What is the source of your strength?
Self? (I can handle it.)
Accomplishments? (I can work harder)
Identity? (I belong to Jesus.)
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2