Day 4 Judges 16:1-30 .. Superman's Weakness

The most famous of all the judges makes an appearance toward the end of the book, and the Bible devotes four chapters to the dramatic events of his life. If Gideon shows how a person with limited potential can be greatly used by God, Samson illustrates just the opposite: a person with enormous potential who squanders it.

When Samson entered the picture, the Israelites were once again suffering under foreign domination. An angel announced his birth, making clear that God had great things in store for Samson and wanted him specially set apart.

Indeed, Samson was blessed with extraordinary supernatural gifts. When the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, he could tackle a lion or single-handedly rout an entire army. And yet, as the stories from his youth reveal, Samson wielded that strength in ways more befitting a juvenile delinquent than a spiritual leader.

Like any rebellious teenager, he chose for a wife the kind of woman sure to cause his parents-and God-the most grief. That marriage barely survived a week, and next Samson took up with a Philistine prostitute. This chapter describes how he, stupidly, forfeited his great strength in a dalliance with a third woman, the seductive Delilah. Samson's story is like a morality play. No one in the world could match his physical strength; just about anyone could match his moral strength. His moral lapses would seem almost incomprehensible were they not repeated by spiritual leaders in almost every generation.

In the end, Samson, the designated savior of his people, was led out to perform like a trained bear for his captors. It appeared that the god of the Israelites had been soundly defeated by the pagans and their gods. But Samson, and God, had one last surprise for the Philistine oppressors.

Point to Ponder: In what areas are you living up to your potential? In what areas are you falling short?