I’m referring to Samson, God’s appointed judge over Israel.
The biblical book of Judges chronicles a 300-year period of the nation of Israel’s history. In this book, we are introduced to a man named Samson.
Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the Lord blessed him.
Judges 13:24 (ESV)
Samson was appointed to serve as judge over Israel at a time when the people were absent any consistent, strong or righteous political leadership. The story of Samson takes place before the reign of kings in Israel, and during a time when everyone “did what was right in his own eyes.”
Samson is an interesting character, to say the least. He’s not your traditional Moses or David or Daniel. Moses was “more humble than any man on earth,” David was a “man after [God’s] own heart,” and Daniel was delivered from extreme persecution on a number of occasions because of his unwavering faith toward God.
Samson, on the other hand, often chose the easy route. Whether it be by lying, deceiving or direct disobedience, Samson usually found a way to get what he wanted without acting righteously.
So why did God appoint someone like Samson, when at other times he raised up Othniel, the son of Caleb; or Deborah, the prophetess; or Gideon, the general? Surely somebody with qualities more similar to these individuals would have made for a better role model and judge to lead Israel back to God.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:8 (ESV)
To answer that question, we must go back to the very beginning of the story. In Judges 13, an angel of the Lord appears to Samson’s mother. The angel tells Samson’s mother that she will be blessed with a son and that he “shall begin to deliver Israel” from their enemies. (Note: the angel does not say that Samson will deliver Israel from their enemies, but that he will begin the process — this is important).
The angel told Samson’s parents that their son would be a “Nazirite to God from the womb.”
The Nazirite vow was taken by individuals who dedicated themselves to the Lord. The vow prohibited a person from consuming wine or “strong drink,” cutting their hair or coming in contact with a dead body. This means that the Lord was sanctifying Samson for a special purpose.
As a blessing, God endowed Samson with incredible strength. The source of his great strength came from his hair. But while Samson’s strength allowed him to accomplish great feats, it also often led to terrible misery and tragedy in his life.
On one occasion, Samson was attacked by a lion while traveling with his parents. He used his great strength to overcome and kill the wild beast. Continuing on his journey, he came across a foreign woman who he described as “right in his eyes.” He demanded that his father “get her” for him. His parents were displeased with his request and implored him to choose a righteous woman from among his own people. Samson refused. But the Bible tells us that his parents “did not know that it was of the Lord.” His parents failed to remember that God always has a plan.
God is always in control.
“Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”
Judges 14:3 (ESV)
Later, Samson returns to the dead carcass of the lion that he had killed. Starving, Samson noticed that there was a swarm of bees and honey in the body of the lion. The Bible says Samson “scraped the honey into his hands” and went on his way eating. Unfortunately, this means that Samson broke his Nazirite vow by touching a dead body. Samson had sinned against God. It is not recorded that Samson ever asked for forgiveness of this sin — in fact, the Bible tells us that he kept this a secret from his parents.
On another occasion, Samson falls in love with a woman called Delilah. This woman enticed, betrayed and sold Samson into the hands of his enemies. Instead of choosing a woman who would have pleased God and his parents, Samson chose a woman who cared nothing for his well-being. He may have suspected this about her, because he lied multiple times to cover up the source of his great strength. Finally, he became so annoyed with her that he succumbed to the pressure and told her his secret. This was one of Samson’s great failures — and it would ultimately cost him his life.
“Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies; tell me how you may be bound.”
Judges 16:13 (ESV)
After being betrayed and sold into the hands of his enemies, Samson would have his eyes gouged out and be forced into hard labor in a foreign land. God’s plan had failed because Samson was the wrong man for the job. He had broken his Nazirite vow, lied on numerous occasions and chosen women who were not pleasing to God. Realizing that the situation was hopeless and that Samson was a lost cause, God forsook his chosen leader.
Wait… that’s how the story ends, right?
“I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.”
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
While in captivity, Samson’s hair began to grow again. And as his hair began to grow, he began to regain strength. On a certain day, when his captors were feasting, they called on Samson to amuse themselves.
To them, he was nothing more than a clown; an entertainer.
They chained him between two pillars and “looked on” while Samson entertained them. Samson was humiliated by his enemies, who believed that they had defeated him. They never suspected for a moment that he would be able to avenge himself. But then again, they had not factored in God.
God heard Samson’s plea for help, and He answered him. Samson regained his miraculous strength and used it to bring righteous vengeance upon the enemies of the Lord. With one giant heave, Samson pushed on both of the pillars he was chained to and collapsed the temple on top of all of his enemies. The number of people he killed that day was more than he had killed in his entire life. As a warrior, that says a lot. Samson died – but he died on God’s terms. He had judged Israel for 20 years.
“O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time.”
Judges 16:28 (ESV)
You see, God has a plan. And His plan is perfect. We have a very narrow view of the world in which we live, and we are often confused why things transpire around us the way that they do. We see something that looks dangerous, and we run. We see someone who looks flawed attempting to ascend to the highest office in the land, and we ridicule them.
We say, “He can’t be president — he’s nothing like Christ!” Or, “He can’t be my child’s role model — he has said nasty things about women! On TV, no less!”
Who said a ruler had to be like Christ? No man is devoid of sin like Jesus was. While others are living better lives, and perhaps obeying the Word of God more faithfully than others, that doesn’t give us the moral high ground, as Christians, to discount a leader’s ability to rule over us. A person’s ability to govern should not be predicated on their religion.
According to Scripture, the kings of ancient Babylon and Persia — Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus — believed in God. One sinned mightily on numerous occasions; the other was “appointed” by God. Both served God’s purpose of preserving His people.
Of course, as disciples of Christ, we should all be striving to appoint leaders who are morally upright and sound in spirit. Our mission in life is to bring sinners to Jesus, so it would be nice to have a righteous ruler who loudly echoed our message. But what about Samson? He turned to the Lord in the closing moments of his life, but where was his godly and spiritual example — as judge over Israel — the other years of his life?
Trump is a sinner. Trump is not perfect. Trump is not a great spiritual role model.
Check, check and check. Now let’s examine his policy proposals:
- Appoint conservative Supreme Court justices
- Destroy radical Islamic terrorism
- Secure our country’s borders
- Restore law and order
- Negotiate fair trade deals
- Lower taxes on the middle class
- Repeal and replace Obamacare
- Bring back American jobs from overseas
- Make America energy independent
- Get rid of political correctness
- Protect the Second Amendment
- Balance our federal budget
- Preserve Social Security
- Repeal the “Johnson Amendment”
- Bring education back to the states (abolish Common Core)
- Take care of American veterans
As voters, we should cast our vote for the individual who is most capable of improving and protecting our country. As Christians, we should be out on the streets spreading the good message to those lost in sin. As we accomplish our task, Lord willing, society will draw closer to God. As society improves, so will our presidential nominees.
Trump will not infringe on our rights to worship and peaceably assemble. Trump will appoint Supreme Court justices “in the mold of Justice Scalia.” As Christians, this should comfort us. And yet, while the Supreme Court does have great authority over the law of the land, Christians should not put all of their faith in mere men. Our faith should be in God.
“How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.”
Hebrews 11:32 (ESV)
In spite of his sins, Samson was given a spot in the “Heroes of Faith” chapter in Hebrews. In this chapter, Samson is listed alongside Abraham, Moses and David. Sadly, you wouldn’t know that Samson had great faith in God by just looking at the life that he lived. Samson was misguided about many things, which is evident from the many mistakes and shortcomings he committed. But no one can take away Samson’s spot in Hebrews 11. The inspired author of Hebrews lists him with the other great heroes of faith for a reason.
Yes, Trump has eaten “honey” — but who’s to say he won’t also pull down “pillars?”