Samson and Delilah

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I’ve heard many church sermons; few have been about the strange tale of Samson and Delilah…

Strength: Samson’s known for his physical strength – killing a lion with his bare hands, killing 1000 Philistines with a donkey’s jaw-bone, carrying the city gates on his shoulders… Despite phenomenal physical strength his moral judgements, emotional stability, social skills and spiritual integrity showed huge weaknesses.

Yesterday we remembered that it’s a year since lockdown restrictions started. Covid-world has reminded us that strength is related to more than the visit to the gym. Physical fitness hasn’t guaranteed survival; the strength of doctors and nurses, those running foodbanks and care-home workers hasn’t been measured by the size of their muscles.

Exploitation: Samson was a ladies man. He had relationships with a number of women and happily visit the local prostitute. Samson certainly was able to use his physical presence and power to deceive, bully and exploit anyone…

The tables were turned. He fell in love with Delilah who deceived, betrayed and exploited him. Discovering his weaknesses she betrayed him for a lot of money.

There continues to be much news of the strong exploiting the weak, the powerful abusing the powerless. Often those who have been exploited are the ones who exploit others…

Redemption: At the end of a life of selfishness and moral failure Samson finishes alone, humiliated, losing his strength, his sight and his freedom. Then Samson comes to his senses. For the first time he thinks of someone other than himself, praying, ‘O Sovereign Lord, remember me…’ He dies acknowledging a God who is stronger than he is.

Over the past year we’ve seen death, the great leveller that points to a bigger picture and powers beyond ourselves.

Samson’s was a similar prayer to the thief on the cross next to Jesus… ‘Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.’… another man who found peace and redemption in his death…

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