As we conclude our series on Judges, I have to say that I am relieved. If this book had a nickname, it would be the book of facepalms. If you’re not sure what this is, a facepalm is a gesture of extreme disappointment based on the action of another.
Let’s talk about Samson, our last Judge that we will study. Here is a guy that has been blessed by the Lord throughout his life. He has crushed the Lord’s enemies and taunted them. Yet he squanders all that God gave him. Instead of leading Israel back to God, he is content with just being a thorn in the Philistine’s side. Through this whole process he also is constantly falling for the wrong ladies. I just have to shake my head and facepalm my way through Samson’s life.
Before we become too judgmental of Samson, let us take a step back and compare. I am relieved that we are coming to the end of this book because it is a constant reminder of my own life. The sin cycle that Israel has been plagued with is way too close to the mountains and valleys that I have experienced in my own walk with Christ. In fact, the similarities are frightening. I look and see how Israel is on fire for the Lord and claiming the land for Christ once they have entered the promised land under Joshua. Then I think back and see how I was on fire for God and proclaiming Christ so boldly once I became saved. Then, just as Israel slipped away, so do I into my valley. Israel is brought back by a judge as I am re-energized with a mountain top. As we go through Judges we see Israel’s judges getting worse and worse as I see my mountain top experiences getting smaller and smaller.
Then I take a look at Samson, this selfish and arrogant Judge, who is supposed to bring Israel back into their walk with the Great I AM and how that is no different from me and my responsibility to help make disciples and bring the truth of the Gospel to the people of this world. I see that I have become selfish and arrogant in my complacency. Like Samson, I have the very power of God residing in me and yet I waste it on frivolous pursuits and ventures.
Depressing isn’t it? That is okay though because the greatest moment in Samson’s life was not how he lived but how he died (Judges 16:30). I look at that and I see what God has called me to do. I see how I can avoid the sin cycle in Israel’s history and in my own life. I have to die (1 Peter 2:21-24). Have we died to all that we are? Have we become a new creation as Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 5:17? You will never reach the peak of the mountain if you keep retracing your steps.