Samson and Amazing Grace

Bible Book: Judges  16 : 25-31
Subject: Grace; Forgiveness; Renewal; Power of God; Love of God; Samson

Samson and Amazing Grace

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Judges 16:25-30: 25

So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may perform for us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.” 27 Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there—about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed. 28 Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!” 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. 30 Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.

Today we are going to look at a man who paid a high price for a cheap haircut. Samson learned firsthand the tremendously high cost low living. This is sad indeed when we realize that Samson had brought so much joy to others throughout his life. We are also going to be reminded of God's amazing grace and how important it is to remember that it is never too late to do God's will in your life.

Let's begin by looking at the historical moment in which the Hebrew people were living when Samson was among them. Under Joshua, years before, the Hebrew people had entered the Promised Land. After his death, however, they declined in faith, obedience and power with God. As a result, God's people had fallen into bondage for several years to the Philistines. The Philistines were a wicked and brutal people, and they mocked Israel’s God and humiliated God’s people. But then there came on the scene man named Samson, and the Philistine oppression was broken. God used Samson and under his leadership the Philistines were humbled by God's people.

There was a problem brewing however, because Samson was developing a weakness that spelled real trouble and tragedy. We will learn here that Samson could handle the Philistines, but he could not handle his own passions. Only God's marvelous grace could bring anything good out of the story we are considering today.

Let me share something important with each believer in this service. You can be used of God, and you can have power from God, but you are just as subject to sin as the next person.Today’s power does not exempt us from tomorrow’s temptation. What God did with you yesterday can actually lead you into a false sense of righteousness. You see, we don’t do great works FOR God, but God does great works THROUGH us. Once we become proud or neglectful we are on the slippery slope of disaster. Just look at some of the high-profile Christian leaders that have fallen into the worst possible sins. Were they always so sinful? Were they hypocrites to the core? Only God knows that, but it is likely that they were at one time all out for God. They were committed to the core of their being for His cause. Then, pride set in! The fall was sure to come.

Let us observe today three important aspects of Samson’s life, and from them learn much about our Lord and ourselves, and perhaps how to avoid the danger of losing more than our hair.

I. Greatness in Samson’s Life

When we see a person fall from grace, it is a good thing to stop and look at the full nature of that person’s life before the fall. We learn a lot about a person by taking a full account of their doings rather than looking only at the sinful collapse that occurs. So, let's do that with Samson.

First, note that …

A. He was a Sunny Person

Did you know that his name means, “Sunny?" His name fit him perfectly, for he was full of pranks, jokes, laughter and good times. No doubt he was a happy, bright fellow when he was young, and people enjoyed being around him. We all like to be around people who make us feel happy and joyful. No one really likes a dour and sour person. We are down enough in life without being in the presence of people who make life even more miserable. Samson was the type of guy you would like to know and perhaps have as a friend. So, get a picture in your mind of a big, strong, handsome, and happy fellow. That was Samson.

B. He was a Spiritual Person

This may seem strange to some folks – strange that a man can be happy, funny and filled with laughs and be spiritual at the same time. I think a lot of young people today have no idea how happy and funny the Christian life can be. In fact, there is no life as filled with real, honest-to-goodness joy as a spiritual life.

From an early age Samson was committed to God. He took his walk with God seriously. He wanted to please God and to live for Him in a world where so many were living godless lives.

I remember when I was boy growing up in North Carolina that we used to watch television as a family. Of course, back then television was black and white rather than color. One thing I recall most is how clean the programs were. The comedians were hilarious, and every skit and joke on television was completely clean – without profane language and double-entendres. We could all sit together and laugh at Red Skelton, Barney Fife, and Lucille Ball. My how times have changed!

When Samson was a boy, I believe he grew up in a wonderful environment at home. But the times were changing and during Samson's childhood the nation of Israel took a great turn toward sin and away from God. The society became wicked and pagan. The times were difficult and false religion was all around Samson at that time, and yet it appears in the beginning that he was able to grow up maintaining a godly spiritual life and a positive spirit.

Also, we see that ...

C. He was a Separated Person

Samson became a Nazarite, which meant that he had separated himself to a proscribed lifestyle that was totally devoted to God. A Nazarite had to maintain a spiritual way of life that included not drinking any alcohol, not cutting his hair and not touching a dead body. Of course there were other commitments related to all those who believed in and served God, but being a Nazarite meant that the person was deeply committed to God’s purpose and plan in life.

Samson is one of only three people in the Bible who are mentioned as being Nazarites for life. A man could be a Nazarite and choose the period of time desired. After the time had passed, the man could offer special sacrifices to God, then cut his hair and throw it into a fire and no longer be bound to the Nazarite vows. Only Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist are mentioned in the Bible as being Nazarites for life. So, this tells us that Samson was very serious about living a life that honored God - he meant to do so his entire lifetime no matter how terrible and evil the people were around him.

Note other thing about Samson …

D. He was a Strong Person

Samson would have made Atlas look like a 97-pound weakling. He was one strong man. If he were in the Olympics today, a special category would be necessary. Samson was the heavyweight campion in his day and was likely the strongest man in the world.

Let me give you an example of how strong Samson was. One day he was going to see his girlfriend when a lion stepped out into the path. Samson reached out, grabbed that lion with his bare hands and killed it. If Arnold Schwarzenegger met a roaring lion on the street, he would run down the street crying for his mother! If I saw a lion, we would only tangle if he caught me - and I'm fast when I'm frightened. I mean, even if I was going to see Jayne, I still wouldn’t want to wrestle a lion in order to get there!

When Samson came back from his girlfriend’s house, he noticed that bees had set up a beehive in the carcass of that lion and they had made honey. He created a riddle out of that incident. He had a happy heart and used it to create joy even in something so fearful and strange as killing a lion barehanded.

Samson did not get his strength at the local gym or spa. He did not obtain it at the local health club. He did not order some unique product like those crazy supplements we see advertised on television today. His strength came as a direct result of his relationship with God. In fact, if we walk with God, we can be assured that we will have a special strength that is not our own. The Bible tells us that God gives spiritual gifts to all those who are redeemed through His Son. No, you might not be the strongest man or the most beautiful woman, but God gives each Christian just what he or she needs to be all that He intends. So, Samson was blessed of God and in his case it involved physical strength to help keep Israel free from her enemies.

We see one other characteristic in Samson …

E. He was a Successful Person

Samson was respected by people and God raised him up to be a Judge in Israel. In the day that Samson lived, being a Judge was like being President. The person who was Judge presided over the affairs of Israel. Only one Judge was in power at any given time during the period when Judges. Judges were in power during the time between the leadership of Joshua and the appointment of Saul as King.

So, Samson was a strong, successful and spiritual man, greatly loved and truly amazing. But we must remember that no matter how high we may rise, or how impressive we may be in this world, we are subject to any and all temptations and sins. So, let’s look at the …

II. Guilt in Samson’s Life

Among all the great things in Samson’s life there resided one terrible tendancy that brought him extreme sorrow and hardship – Samson had a weakness. Everyone listening to this message has one, or maybe more than one weakness. There is tendency in all humans to sin and we need to be aware of our weaknesses and predilections to sinful behavior.

There is the story of a cowboy years ago who had a real problem with alcohol. He drank a lot and it got him in trouble. He would fight with people and end up in jail, and he spent his money too freely when he was drinking and ended up broke. One day the cowboy went to a revival service at the town church, and he was gloriously saved. He stopped drinking and things improved in his life. Then, the preacher noticed that the cowboy came to town and tied up his horse at the end of the street each week. This made him walk right by the old saloon where he used to get drunk every week. The preacher stopped the cowboy and asked, “Why do you tie you horse to the rail at the end of the street?” The cowboy replied, “Well, preacher, that is what I’ve always done. I guess it’s my habit.” The preacher said, “You’d be wise to tie your horse up to a different rail, cause where you tie it now makes you walk right past the saloon where you used to drink.” The cowboy laughed and let the preacher know that he had no temptation to drink any longer; however, a few weeks later the cowboy staggered out of the saloon. You see, that cowboy had a weakness that even he could not see. One day the temptation caught up to the cowboy. A wise man will never pass by the door of the place where he knows his greatest temptation lies waiting for him inside.

Samson had a weakness and it was lust. Against all advise, Samson married a Philistine wife. The Philistines worshipped idol gods and hated the Hebrew people. People around Samson warned him about this issue, and even his own parents begged him not to marry her, but Samson could not control his desires. Besides, Samson was the strongest man in the world and he could overcome any problem - right? Wrong! Lust had blinded him to the peril and jeopardy of the marriage into which he entered.

The marriage Samson entered into was a disaster. The results were devastating. Death and destruction followed in the wake of his foolish decision. The marriage fell through even before it took place.

Now listen carefully. The danger for a Christian is to chase small goals. Samson squandered his great abilities on minor, personal, selfish ambitions.

Some time ago 300 giant whales were beached. Scientists tried to save them by forcing them back into the sea, but most of them died anyway. The experts sought to learn what had caused these great creatures to come to shore and thus to die. What they learned was fascinating. They discovered that a rather large school of sardines were swimming in the area and it was concluded that the whales lost their lives chasing sardines. Think about it - these great, mighty whales died chasing tiny sardines.

Satan has a way of taking people with giant abilities and leading them to chase the sardines of sin right to the shore of death. That is what happened to Samson.

It began when Samson went to the home of a Philistine woman named Delilah. Mr. Sunshine decided to play some sunny tricks on Delilah, but he did not realize that he was in a place much too dark for his bright disposition to win. In this process, Samson went from being a champ to being a chump. Let’s recall what happened to him.

A. He Lost His Locks

Part of Samson’s commitment to God was to let his hair continue to grow. Delilah didn’t know why Samson was so strong, but the Philistines prompted her to discover his strength so they could overcome his power. She asked him, and every time she asked, he simply played a trick on her and avoided explaining that his strength was a result of his commitment to God. He avoided telling her that his hair was part of that commitment. She finally broke him down and he told her that if his hair was cut he would lose his great power. When he slept, she cut his hair!

Listen carefully, if you play with the world you will lose every time. Sin will let you get by for a while, and then the trap door will shut on you. You think you can play with sin and walk with God, but the Lord will not allow it. Be sure of this, Samson lost something on the inside of his heart before he lost the hair on his head!

Not only did he lose his locks of hair, but note that ….

B. He Lost His Liberty

Samson had been so powerful that at one time he actually burned the fields of the Philistines and they had no power to stop him. Yet, once he began to amuse himself with sin, he learned that the burning lust of his heart had the power to burn down his life. He once fought a lion barehanded, but he had reached the point with Delilah that he could not handle his own heart and mind.

Delilah cut his hair, then she called for her fellow Philistines to come in and take him captive. Samson rose up and shook himself. He had no fear. He could handle these men - he had done it before, but he did not realize that the Spirit of God had departed from him. The power of God was no longer on his life. His commimtent had been comprised and his power was gone. The Philistines took him easily and walked him away as a captive.

Sin promises liberty but has cords to bind us. Sin offers a better life, but it leads to death!

C. He Lost His Light

They took Samson into slavery and removed his eyes. They blinded him and lashed him to a grinding stone and made him turn the stone like an animal.

The last time my wife and I were in Israel, we made a side trip to Egypt. Riding on a bus to one of the great historic sights there, I saw a donkey turning a water wheel. The animal was walking in a constant circle and the wheel was pumping water through pipes to a field of crops. The donkey had a cloth wrapped around its head, clearly over its eyes. When I asked why, I was told that the donkey would become dizzy and fall down unless its eyes were covered. Samson was blinded so the Philistines could debase him by making him turn a grinding stone all day, every day. They were treating him like a donkey- like a mule - like a mere animal. When we give into our animal instincts, we set ourselves up to be treated like animals.

Listen, my friend, Satan wants you at his grinding stone. He will tempt you, lead you and at last he will lash you to his purposes. You will lose the light of God’s way! We must always be aware of our weaknesses and stay away from the door that leads to the sin that easily besets us.

From my childhood I remember a picture we had in a family Bible. It was a picture of Samson, blinded and bound, turning a giant millstone to grind grain for the Philistines, while a Philistine soldier grinned in the background with a whip in his hand. That picture is still vivid in my mind. Poor Samson, how the mighty are fallen!

But, I want you to see how God’s grace overcomes even the most devastating moments in our lives, if we are willing to turn back to Him. To see this, look at the ...

III. Grace in Samson’s Life

It is a great mistake to believe that God is through with a person when that person has sinned. The Philistines thought that Jehovah would not come to the aid of poor Samson. Our wonderful God is more than willing to use failures to overcome the enemy that tricked us, and that is why each of us has a door open to renewal and revival. God is willing to help us, even in our weakest moments, if only we will submit to His will and call upon Him.

Samson was turning that great millstone for the Philistines and he felt the whip of the Philistines on his back. He must have thought to himself that he deserved the whip and the pain he was receiving. But always remember this, the chastisement of the Lord is never for punishment, it is always applied for correction and restoration. God was getting Samson in a position to stand up once more and be a man.

Over time Samson’s hair grew. Slowly each day his hair became longer and longer. Samson could not see it, but he could feel it. He must have thought to himself, “I remember a time when I was committed to the Lord. I remember when I used to live for God. I want to be like that again.”

Samson’s hair began to grow, and his heart started to change. One day Samson was summoned to stand before the Philistines at the entrance to their temple for the pagan god Dagon. They had gathered in the temple of their god to make fun of Samson.

As the Philistines yelled, laughed and mocked him at the temple to their god, Samson began to pray. He prayed for a second chance at making something out of his life! Even if it meant he must die, he wanted to die doing something for God. Friend, you can be sure that doing something for God will require that you die to yourself! You will have to die to your passions. You will have die to your pride. You can’t serve God and man at the same time.

The world and the devil mock the fallen Christian. I tell you how you can know that you are dealing with the devil - whenever you hear someone talk of a Christian’s collapse with a note of glee in his or her heart, you can be sure that God is not in it. When I read Isaiah, I read the words of a man broken for the people who were in sin. When I read Jeremiah, I read of a weeping prophet. Jeremiah did not take delight in the believers who had fallen into sin. Only the devil’s crowd takes joy in the sinful fall of child of God.

The Philistines were making fun of Samson as he stood before them, blind in his eyes, and bruised in his heart. Samson continued to pray. Ladies and gentlemen, something not only happened in Samson’s hair, and in Samson’s heart, but strength came back into Samson’s hands. Samson asked the lad who was leading him to take him to the pillars of the temple. Samson was led to the pillars of the temple by that boy and Samson placed his hands, one on the right and one on the left, against the columns of that temple. Then he began to push them outwardly. There was a trembling shutter and suddenly the pillars slipped from their place and the great roof of the temple of Dagon came tumbling down upon the heads of the Philistines. Samson died among them, but he died doing what he wanted to do - making a difference for God!

Samson succeeded in the end because of God’s grace. God’s marvelous, loving grace – God’s unmerited love – makes it possible for us to know the Lord and to live for Him. His grace makes it possible for us to overcome our sins and weaknesses.


Let us today make a commitment to God – a new commitment with our hearts and hands. Let us trust the grace of God to bless us, even in the midst of our failures.

Pray, "O Lord, cleanse me, for I have sinned!" Who among has not done so.

Pray, "O Lord, help me with my weaknesses." It may be pride, materialism, money, gossip, lust, selfishness, and number of things, but you can pray to the Lord for divine strength so that you become an overcomer. You can pray, "Lord, lead me not in the path of tempation but deliver me from evil!"

Pray, "O Lord, by faith I accept your forgiveness through the blood of your Son, Jesus."

Someone needs to pray, "O Lord, save me. I turn from my sin to trust you as my Lord and Savior. I am ready to make known my faith in you and to live with your help the Christian life."

You see, God's grace is sufficient for your need, whatever it may be. It is amazing grace. Even after Samson's terrible journey through failure, he found grace to help him discover victory as the last act of his life. God's grace is available to you right now.

So, let us respond. Christian, you may come. My lost friend, you may come. Anyone who is willing, that one may come to God this moment.