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          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. 23-30).

          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 not to.

          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.



                                                                    IS GOD CRUEL?  MAIN LIST

© Copyright, Michael Caputo, 2005

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