'And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.' - Judges 16 v 30
The account of Samson is a bit of a Sunday School classic. Those of us who grew up in Church will remember hearing about his amazing strength, his great hair and how Delilah betrayed him to the Philistines. As we got older, we quickly realised that some details in the story were understandably held back! Nevertheless when we think of Samson we still tend to think of his physical strength. Some cartoon versions or picture bibles will show bulging biceps, massive pecs and a general physique that would put modern body builders to shame. We don't know what he looked like but he was certainly gifted with remarkable strength. Examples of his strength include tearing a lion apart (14 v 6) and taking out a thousand guys with the jawbone of a donkey! (15 v 15). chapters 14- 16 are littered with Samson's remarkable feats.
While we remember Samson for his physical strength, we often forget that his finest moment came from a place of weakness and vulnerability. We are told that after his hair had been cut, he did not know that the Lord had left him (16 v 20). Therefore his true strength had left him. Samson had misused his strength to indulge his sins and passions. He was supposed to lead God's people in Holiness but like his generation he was characterised by sin. He too did what was right in his own eyes (14 v 3) and not in God's. It was only once those eyes had been removed and his strength gone that we see him calling upon God to help him defeat the philistines.
In this place of weakness where he is being used as entertainment for his enemies, he prays to God and is strengthened once last time to kill his enemies (16 v 28 – 30). Fittingly, verse 30 tells us he actually killed more there in that moment than he did in the rest of his life. In his weakness he was strong.
First of all does this not give us a picture of the Lord Jesus? The one who chose the way of weakness, servanthood and sacrifice and gave himself for his people. The one who unlike Samson always did what was right in the eyes of his Father. The one who served others and not himself his whole life. The one who was obedient to the point of death even death on a cross (Philippians 2). Jesus is the one who was 'crucified in weakness but lives by the power of God' (2 Cor 13 v 4). He sacrificed himself so that we could be saved from our sin and Hell.
Secondly be encouraged in your own weakness. We don't often feel strong or significant. In our evangelism we can be nervous or not know what to say. We don;t think God could use us because we are weak or don't feel very clever. Perhaps we don't feel good enough to serve God in the Church. We don't like to feel vulnerable and exposed. Yet god uses us in our weakness and humility that is in fact a place of strength. Paul often ministered from a position of weakness and yet the Spirit was at work through him (1 Cor 2 v 1 – 5). He even said he would boast all the more gladly of his weaknesses that Christ's power may be at work in him (2 Cor 12 v 9-10).