Samson is a picture of the believer in disobedience. God did use him, but his life ended in great personal tragedy, shadowed by the waste of great potential.
His words, “Let me die with the Philistines,” rings like a suicide note, but his purpose really wasn’t to kill himself; instead, it was to kill as many Philistines as he could.
However, in another sense, Samson is a hero. Samson is even mentioned in Hebrews 11. There, he is spoken of as a person who is an example to all of us for his faith in God. Even in Hebrews, however, there are no extra kudos, neither for Samson nor his end. No, Samson is not portrayed as a glorious hero whose life is to be emulated. Instead, Samson was a tragic hero, whose life should have ended much differently. Yes, Samson is an example of how one may have faith in God’s providence, even when one has messed everything up really badly. In fact, we find God’s providence coming to Samson at the end of his life after badly messing up…an opportunity that came to him tragically.
The fact that Samson was able to destroy the heathen temple simply by pushing on the main columns could only happen with God supernaturally empowering him. Yes, this circumstance shows that God never forsook Samson, even when he was disobedient. And yes again, God’s mercies were ever there for Samson, even in a Philistine prison. All Samson had to do was to turn his heart back towards God and receive them. But the sad news is that God had to break Samson and discipline him severely before he could submit to God and humbly receive God’s power for his last great task.
It has been aptly pointed out, “This last great victory came only as he was broken, humiliated, and blind. He could no longer look to himself.” Prior to this event, we don’t see Samson as a man of prayer, but here he is praying. Here he has been humbled enough for God to use him again.
-- Michael Pursley (Guest writer for Life Assurance Ministries, a ministry to former SDAs)