Thursday, April 18 2024 - 9:57 AM
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The Strongest Thing

This morning I was rereading the story of Samson in the book of Judges for the first time in a very long time. In my most recent reading, I felt like I was seeing the story with fresh eyes and I couldn’t help but wonder: Why do we treat Samson like he was some great hero?! Samson was a big jerk. There, I said it. Phew! It feels really good to get that off my chest. This guy was terrible! No one is more shocked at this realization than I am. You see, when I was a kid my favorite children’s song was a song about Samson’s muscles. My favorite part of the song was at the very end when all the children would yell out “POW!” five times while punching imaginary Philistines. Yikes!

The Samson I read about today, however, was a far cry from the hero of my childhood. He did some terrible things, including but not limited to, abandoning his wife on their wedding day, making his (very religious and faithful) parents eat unclean food without their knowledge, and killing loads of people for very frivolous reasons. Some Biblical scholars point to the fact that the presence of a vineyard is mentioned several times in the story, indicating that he may have been drunk when he made all of these terrible decisions.

Drunk?! Samson was a Nazarite! He had taken a vow to be consecrated to God and, as such, follow some very specific rules, including not cutting his hair, drinking wine, or touching grapes! But over and over again, he broke his vows to God. Samson wasn’t the superhero I had believed him to be. He was a human being.

So it turns out that the real hero of Samson’s story is God. Despite all of his deliberate disobeying of God’s commands, God is merciful. Over and over again. God’s mercy remained through Samson’s disobedience, pride, and frivolity. So if there’s hope for someone like Samson, there’s hope for someone like me.

The strongest thing in the story of Samson wasn’t Samson. The strongest thing is the mercy of God.

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5, NIV).

If you liked this, you might also enjoy Saved By His Mercy | Have Mercy on Me: Four Glimpses Into the Heart of God 

Jael Amador writes from New York.

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About Jael Amador

Jael Amador

writes from New York, New York.

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