“And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.” (Judges 16:30)
No one would argue against the fact that overall, Samson’s was a wasted life. Somehow, despite his disciplined upbringing, he never got a handle on self-discipline. Nor were loyalty and devotion to God ever part of his core principles. His physical strength was marvelous, but his character strength was miserable.
Samson’s story should serve as fair warning to those of us who might be tempted to think that natural abilities (or even spiritual gifts) can make up for a lack of character and devotion to God. To such an individual, living and ministering in his or her own strength minus the power of God can become an easy substitute. But as Samson found out, not only is the Spirit of God our source of true power, He is our “in-house” protector against sin, as well.
I have heard preachers say of Samson, “He was worth more to God in his death then he was alive.” I can well understand why this might be a valid observation. But I chose instead to jot this little note down next to these verses in Judges: “It is possible—though often at great cost—to make up for a wasted life at its end.” You see, besides a dire warning, I see a blessed, if faint, hope in this story.
For those who look back on a life frittered away on non-essentials, or worse, one distinguished by sin and rebellion, if in its closing days, there is true repentance, an unexpected usefulness may miraculously be realized. As I say, it will be at great cost, for those early opportunities with their fresh possibilities, can never be regained. But God has told us He is able to restore “the years that the locust hath eaten” (Joel 2:25); and in mercy He may choose to honor Himself through what is left of a wasted life. He did it for Samson, and He is still in the salvaging business. Bless His holy name!
If you are wise, let Samson’s life to be a warning to you. If you have been foolish, let his death give you hope.