As Weak As Any Other Man
Most people have heard of the story of Samson when they were growing up. It probably sounded like some superhero story, like The Incredible Hulk, who could do amazing things when necessary. Well, the story of Samson would make a great comic book; however, unlike a comic book, this story has some real life applications.
We all know that Samson had great, supernatural strength. But what was the source of his strength? Was it his hair? Well, not exactly.
Before Samson was born, his mother received a prophecy that he was to be a great leader in Israel, one who would begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines (Judges 13:5). Samson’s life was to be different, set apart in a way unlike most people’s lives. He was to be a “Nazarite” from birth. According to the Torah, a man or a woman could take a temporary vow, called a “vow of a Nazarite,” in which the person would be separated from the rest of the world, and would take the time to be with the LORD. During this time, the person would refrain from any wine or fruit of the vine, or anything unholy. While taking the vow of a Nazarite one was not to cut their hair (see Numbers 6:1-8). Samson’s Nazaritic vow was for life, while most people would only take a temporary vow.
The real source of Samson’s strength was God. In fact, whenever we hear about Samson doing a mighty work, it is always preceded with “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him…” Samson’s long hair was a symbol, or an emblem, representing his commitment to the LORD. If Samson were to cut his hair, it would indicate a breach of his commitment to the LORD, who was the source of his strength.
Samson truly was a great leader of Israel. God blessed him, and worked in his life in mighty ways. Yet, despite being greatly blessed, Samson’s commitment began to weaken over time. His depravity culminated in his live-in relationship with Delilah, a woman used by the Philistines to destroy Samson. Knowing she would be enriched if she could find out his secret, Delilah asked Samson everyday about the secret of his strength. Three times, Samson made up stories about the key to his strength. Delilah, however, would not quit until she found out the truth. Finally, one day, Samson broke down, and told Delilah the real secret:
“A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazarite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” Judges 16:17
When Samson was asleep, the Philistines came and shaved his head. Samson’s strength immediately left him. The Philistines were able to capture Samson, blind him, and put him in prison. While in prison, Samson was given the lowest form of slave labor of that day – grinding with a hand mill. What a pathetic situation for a great leader to find himself in!
How does Samson’s story relate to you and I? If you’re a Believer, then you have a source of great strength, the same source that Samson had. Yet, we can all choose to “cut our hair,” so to speak, and ignore the great calling God has on our lives. If we do, then we’ll live like Samson in prison – bound up, without any vision, and viewing life as a monotonous daily grind. You see, when Samson had his hair cut, he became as weak as any other man. Let’s lead a strong, godly life, worthy of our calling.
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