“Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven” (Judges 16:22)
As children, we often had certain characters or “superheroes” that we looked up to and dreamed of one day becoming. What young boy doesn’t want to dress up like Batman, Superman, or even Spiderman? Or what young girl doesn’t admire Wonder Woman, Batgirl, or maybe even Xena, the warrior princess? Having these role models is normal and even healthy as a child.
As we grew older, we realized that maybe Superman was too lofty a goal; and we decided to hang up our bath-towel capes and pretend utility belts in exchange for a business suit or even a plumber’s belt. We “put away childish things” as Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 13:11).
I can’t help but think of the passage of Scripture where Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15). As children of God, we have been given “heroes of the faith” who we can now look up to and dream of one day becoming (Hebrews chapter 11). The difference between these heroes of the faith and the superheroes of our adolescence is that our Biblical heroes are like us. James 5:17a says, “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are…” The heroes in the Bible demonstrate how God is powerful enough to take flawed humans and do superhuman things through them. If we study the lives of the Biblical heroes, we may be surprised to see how much they are like us – imperfect.
Consider Samson: Samson was raised in a Godly home, where his parents were concerned about his upbringing (Judges 13:12). He was brought up in the admonition of the Lord, and trained in the way that he should go. Samson was a Nazarite; which means he took a vow to devote himself to God and abstain from drinking alcohol (Judges 13:7; Numbers 6:1-5, 8). He was a man of God; and it was said that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him” more than any other character in the Old Testament. In matters of war, he was a brilliant tactician; once using foxes to destroy his enemy’s supply line (Judges 15:4-5). He was incredibly strong. His enemies couldn’t bind him; he once slew a thousand men with nothing but a donkey’s jawbone (Judges 15:14-16). Samson was also a great leader who ruled Israel for 20 years (Judges 15:20).
Many of us may have had similar lives. Maybe we were brought up in a good home by loving parents or even a caring relative; taught right from wrong; taught the ways of God. Some of us may have even devoted our lives to God, giving up drinking, or maybe some other sinful habit. We may think back to times when we strongly felt the Spirit of God enable us to achieve great things for the Glory of God. But somewhere along the way, things changed. They did for Samson. Why? He took his eyes off God and fell into sin, “Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her” (Judges 16:1).
Maybe that has happened to you. You were going strong for the Lord, but you somehow lost focus and allowed sin to creep into your life. Maybe not a sexual sin like Samson’s, but sin nonetheless. After Samson fell into sin, his life took a downward spiral. He lost all his strength (Judges 16:16-19); was captured by his enemies; had his eyes gouged out; and became a laughing stock to those around him (Judges 16:21-25).
Has that happened to you? Because of some sin in your life do you now feel powerless? Does it feel like the world is prevailing against you? Have you suffered physically, or even emotionally, as a result? Are people pointing to your faults in ridicule, making a mockery of what you once stood for? If so, take heart.
Samson messed up and suffered greatly because of his poor decisions. “Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven” (Judges 16:22). Samson sat in his prison house day after day, while little by little the source of his strength returned to him. His hair represented his pact and relationship with God. When his enemies shaved his head, they thought they permanently destroyed God’s ability to use Samson. But his hair slowly started to grow back. With each passing day, he grew stronger and stronger.
While it is true that Samson would never be able to undo his mistakes and be the same as he one was; by the grace of God, God used him again in a powerful way. Maybe sin has taken you to rock bottom; taken everything from you. Hold onto God. Trust in His redeeming Power. Ask God for forgiveness and begin to grow again. Feel His Presence slowly return to your life and with it, His Power. In the end Samson had the last laugh over his enemies; having the victory over them (Judges 16:26-30).
So whether you are like Samson, who was once disgraced by sin, only to later have victory over it; or Peter, who once cursed and denied Christ, only to later be used of God to save thousands; or Jonah, who once ran from God, only to later preach one of the greatest revivals in history at Nineveh; or even David, who once committed adultery with Bath-Sheba, only to be later called a man after God’s own heart – you can know that God is greater than our faults. When we are weak, then are we made strong. For God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. God’s grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2a)