WHAT IF GOD HAD
NOT ALLOWED SAMSON TO BE TAKEN BY THE PHILISTINES?
Samson is one of the greatest figures in
the Bible. The story of this great man of God has been told countless times
as a story of great courage. Yet, when looked at closely, one might feel
puzzlement at the fact that God would, seemingly, abandon this great man in
the hands of the Philistines who blinded him, humiliated him and then
finally killed him.
What if God had not
allowed Samson to be taken? What if He had delivered him from the
Philistines and had not allowed any harm to befall him?
Samson was clearly
born to do great things on God’s behalf. He, like few others, was born
miraculously from a woman who could not conceive. He was set apart by God as
a Nazirite and was to leave his hair uncut. Getting his hair cut would have
meant certain loss of his strength. Therefore, revealing this secret would
have placed Samson at great risk.
In chapter 14 of
Judges we are told that Samson went down to Timnah and upon his return home
he asked his parents that they get him a specific Philistine woman as wife
(V. 1). His parents reacted negatively and said, “Is there no woman among
the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and
get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”(V. 3). Samson did not
relent and replied, “Get her for me, for she pleases me well” (V.3).
Verse 4 clarifies the
reason why Samson did not relent: “But his father and mother did not know
that it was of the Lord---that He was seeking an occasion to move against
the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.”
Clearly God was the
orchestrator of all those events. He was up to something big, and Samson was
going to be His instrument.
Most know what
follows. Samson took several opportunities to agitate the Philistines and
then took advantage of their reaction to defeat them. Finally, he got
involved with Delilah, a cunning, manipulative Philistine woman, who
extracted from him the secret of his strength. As a result, while he was
asleep, his hair was cut, he was captured, his eyes were put out and he was
brought down to Gaza bound with bronze fetters where “he became a grinder in
the prison” (16: 15-21).
With time his hair
grew back and so did his strength. One day, the Lords and a large number of
Philistines were celebrating in the temple. The people asked that Samson be
brought to perform for them. Samson asked that he be placed between two
pillars and upon pushing them down the whole temple collapsed “so the dead
that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life” (V.
What if God had not
allowed this scenario? God could have easily prevented Samson from revealing
his secret. He could have sent his angels to deliver Samson, but he chose
Samson was born to
bring about terror among the Philistines, therefore God allowed certain
events to take place and used Samson’s errors and foolishness to lead to a
situation that would humiliate them. It is not necessary to believe that God
inspired every last mistake that Samson made. It is just as reasonable to
assume that God used Samson’s errors, or some of his errors, to bring about
His aims against the Philistines.
Did God need to have
Samson imprisoned? Was there really a need for his eyes to be taken out?
Could not God have used Samson to defeat thousands of Philistines, including
all their lords, without Samson’s demise? Of course, He could have.
Yet, it appears that God
allowed Samson a level of choice and that, in having this freedom, Samson
made some very foolish mistakes that he dearly paid for. God can even use
the errors and frailties of his servants to bring about His will. Yet, He
does allow consequences to ensue, so as to mature us and transform us.
God could have intervened to protect
Samson, but He chose to allow Samson to go through his crucible so as to be
perfected for whatever purpose He may have had for him in his Kingdom. God
used many circumstances to perfect Samson, and He also used this great
servant to bring about the deserved punishments upon the wicked Philistines.