Discipleship Minute: Judges #2

Read Judges 13:1-5; 14:1-9; 16:21-22, 26-30

What makes a hero? We usually call people who do deeds that require bravery or self-sacrifice heroes. At times we overlook the factor that character plays in making a person a hero. Severe shortcomings in character can taint even the most spectacular abilities and best outcomes. This is the account of Samson.

Samson was born in the midst of a cycle of idolatry on the part of Israel. The people had sinned against God and were being punished by the Philistines. God’s messenger appeared to a childless woman and told her that her child would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines. The child would take the vow as a Nazirite, one who took a special vow to consecrate themselves to God. The vow had certain conditions: not eating grapes or drinking wine, not touching a corpse, nor cutting his hair. Samson would have, as a result of the vow, great physical strength. But, the entire account of Samson in the book of Judges detailed how Samson broke each provision of the Nazirite vow.

Sin, as we know, has consequences. Samson lived a life of selfishness and self-centeredness and it caught up with him. After the Philistines cut his hair, he was rendered weak, helpless, and easy to capture. One of the saddest phrases in the Hebrew Scriptures is in Judges 16:20, “the Lord left him.” Samson was captured, disabled, and enslaved for the Philistines’ enjoyment. Samson’s final prayer and final moments sought revenge against the Philistines by killing them at a celebration to their idol, Dagon. In that moment, Samson had done more against the Israelites’ oppressors than he had done as a judge.

One of the things that suggests that the Scriptures are credible is that they present a very human portrait of the people in its pages. With the exception of Jesus Christ, each person in the Biblical accounts are flawed. God is not looking for heroes to follow Him. God calls flawed Christians to follow Him and serve Him. In fact, if God did not use flawed Christians, He wouldn’t use any Christians at all. We cannot allow our failures to keep us from being His disciples. Have you failed in following Him? If so, confess those sins and follow Him again.

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