However, the hair of [Samson’s] head began to grow again after it had been shaven.
(Judges 16:22, New King James Version)
I agreed, and he whispered, “I have good ideas in my curls.”
Samson, one of Israel’s judges, had more than good ideas in his curls. He had power in his hair. He also had pride in his head.
Before the strongman was born, the Angel of Lord came to Samson’s parents and gave specific instructions about how the boy should live his entire life. He was to never drink wine, touch anything unclean, or cut his hair.
But Samson liked living the way he wanted. His view was that he would decide what he would and would not do. Going against the Lord’s command, he touched a lion’s dead carcass, which was unclean according to the Law of Moses. He scooped out honey from the lion’s body to eat as well. He used several dead animal bones to beat down some Philistines, who lorded over Israel. Although not stated explicitly, theologians say he likely drank wine, since he grew up in wine country, threw feasts for weddings with Philistines, and he willingly ignored his other divine orders for living.
Yet, God stuck with him. The Spirit of the Lord filled him numerous times to defeat the Philistines. He killed 30 men who had underhandedly solved his riddle. The Spirit came on him when he took the donkey jawbone and busted a thousand men’s heads. He also had the ability to capture 300 foxes and tie torches to their tails. Then he let them go through countryside, destroying the Philistines’ food and drink supplies.
Despite his power, Samson had problems with selfishness and pride. He demanded that his father get him a wife. “And Samson said to his father, ‘Get her for me, for she pleases me well.’“ (Judges 14:3b, NKJV) He teased the Philistines with a riddle that he thought no one could figure out.
A famous part of Samson’s life happened when he toyed with the Philistines by lying to Delilah several times about the source of his strength.
Upon learning of the untrue secrets, the Philistines tried a surprise attack to capture Samson. Each time though, great strength remained in him. He broke the fresh bowstrings, the new ropes, and the loom in his hair. Indeed, he remained strong. But, when Delilah cut his hair, Samson realized what life was like without God’s close presence. He suddenly had no protection. The Lord let him attempt to survive on his own power.
The Philistines captured Samson, gouged out his eyes and forced him into hard labor in their prison. It crushed Samson’s pride.
He became blind to the physical world around him, the world he had lavished in since early in life. Yet, in his physical blindness, he saw much better spiritually. He realized he was no strongman on his own. It was God with him.
God said it best to Samuel, the last Judge of Israel before the time of the kings. “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
The Lord saw Samson’s heart change. The Philistines took him from prison to make him a spectacle. Samson called out to God for strength one last time. He prayed, “Oh, Lord God, remember me, I pray.” (vs. 28b) He asked for strength this time, instead of assuming he could push down the columns. And the Spirit of the Lord came on him.
The question is, did this superhuman strength return to Samson because his hair grew back, or did the superhuman strength come upon him one more time because Samson’s pride never grew back.
Independence is the root of sin. The self-asserting and dominate “me” becomes a person’s god. The first step to a new life is surrender to God. Our view of the world can preclude us from having full power in the Lord. If we only rely on our abilities in the natural world, we won’t see God in action in the spiritual world.
COPYRIGHT Matthew Weigelt 2014