Coffee Chat 6 – I don’t get it…

coffee chat

I love a good discussion with a friend over a steaming cup of chai, but since I can’t gather all of you at a comfortable cafe, I’ll have to be content with this little corner of the Internet.

I want to thank each and every person who has come to these coffee chats and commented. I have thoroughly enjoyed your insights and inspiration! Thank you for your time.

This week, I want to talk about Samson.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Hebrews 11.32-34

 

I often wish that the Hebrew writer had elaborated more on Gideon, Barak, Samson etcetera.

I am reading through Judges at the moment, and I just finished the Samson saga.

There is a question that has always nagged at me, and while I plan to do some digging tomorrow, I thought I would pose my burning question to you:

How on earth did Samson make the list of the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11???

I am confident that God knows the hearts of people far better than any human ever could, yet when I look at the information supplied on Samson, all I see is a man who was unstable, selfish and extremely foolish when it came to beautiful women. How on earth did he rate as a man of faith?

The account of Samson is in Judges 13-16.

Initially, when he goes to marry the Philistine girl in chapter 14, it says that this was “from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines.”

I see obedience and faith there. So far so good.

Then it says he went in to a prostitute. I don’t see God approving that…

[gritting teeth in confusion!]

Then, there is Delilah, an infamous name synonymous with deceitfulness and duplicity.

And Samson fell for her, hook, line and sinker. And literally, it sank him.

Delilah used the oldest trick in the book, the “You must not really love me if …” The truth was, she did not love him. It surprises me how gullible he was. I mean, it took persistence and persuasion on her part. He didn’t instantly give in, but still, he divulged the secret of his strength and the Lord left him.

At the end of his life, when he is blind and imprisoned, he makes one final plea to God. I’m not sure if his time in prison humbled him and his faith grew in the jail cell, but he calls out to God, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” (Judges 16.26)

I suppose that could be the faith spoken of in Hebrews… and yet, it seems to me a very self-centered request that fits in with his behavior pattern.

This is one of those things in scripture that I have always struggled to understand.

I would love some insight here! Can you help me?

Please leave a comment below while you sip on your favorite cup of tea or coffee!

If you have some time after commenting here, please visit this previous coffee chat and share your reason for being a Christian.

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18 thoughts on “Coffee Chat 6 – I don’t get it…

  1. Wally Fry July 24, 2015 / 08:07

    Coffee here! If not for coffee I could not write LOL.

    That is an interesting verse and I never thought about the request from Sampson simply being another example of his own selfishness. Good thought to ponder. But it may illustrate the simple fact that God can use anything for His own ends, even bad things.

    I don’t remember the exact place, I suppose I could find it. But Paul made mention once that some preach the Gospel for the right reasons, and some for their own selfish ends; but the end result is that it still is being preached.

    Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elihu July 24, 2015 / 09:05

      Great comment, Wally! I agree, God often uses people for His purpose even if their motivations are no good. The first person that comes to mind is Balaam.

      It is possible that some deeper meaning is lost in translation from Hebrew to Greek to English. I need to look at it more closely. I just see many of the heroes of faith demonstrating more confidence in God than Samson, but I am confident that everything in the Bible has a reason for being there and this has always been a bit of a conundrum…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wally Fry July 24, 2015 / 09:14

        You know, it is worth more study. It does seem sort of a conundrum when you look at Sampson appearing in the list over in Hebrews. Hmmm. Good thought provoking stuff Elihu

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jason July 24, 2015 / 08:26

    That’s a serious question there Elihu…. I wish I had some super insightful answer for you but I don’t 🙂 maybe God just used him as a tool to show His power.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. samaritansong July 24, 2015 / 09:10

    Ohhh, cool question! I want to take a crack at it.

    So for me what jumps out is that God tends to assess faith relative to the individual and the moment. In the Hall of Faith, the list of “faith actions” really vary: everything from “speaking about the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt” to remaining steadfast under torture to being willing to sacrifice a son. The only criteria of faith is that it must be “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

    The Lord left Samson, but Samson still believed it was possible that God could intervene. He believed that God could and would remember him, could and would strengthen him. It *is* a self-centered request, but it’s quite possible that it’s the most faithful request he could make in the circumstances in which he found himself. He limited himself certainly, and yet even within the limitations he made for himself, he believed God could and would work.

    I guess what I’m theorizing here is that what makes faith “Hall of Faith”-worthy is not necessarily the magnanimity of the action or the selflessness of it, but rather how much people will trust in the unseen God and lean on his ability to do what he says he will do in spite of potential evidence to the contrary. For some people, the faith that they can scrape up may be small in comparison to someone else’s – it may seem self-centered and desperate – and yet, since the Lord knows these people and their capacity, it may be the mustard seed required to move a mountain.

    In the same way we don’t expect a child to be able to lift a 12-pack of soda, maybe God judges our faith relative to our circumstances – all he wants is for us to have the most faith that we can in that moment, at that time, and maybe for Samson, that was it.

    That’s just my hypothesis, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Elihu July 24, 2015 / 09:27

      Excellent comment! Love the way you explained this. It’s similar to the faith of a mustard seed, right?

      Like

      • samaritansong July 24, 2015 / 09:32

        Yeah, I think so! We only need that teeny tiny bit of faith – even if it does come in self-centered circumstances we basically brought on ourselves. It might be small compared to what somebody else can do, but if it’s all we can muster in the moment, then it’s huge.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Papa July 24, 2015 / 09:17

    The fact that he was CERTAIN that GOD was listening and might answer his request demonstrated his belief/faith that his GOD is ever present and listens to those who call upon HIM, in faith. Would that we would be so confident in our GOD’s answering our petitions to HIM. Praise GOD that we don’t have to be perfect to call upon HIM in our time of need, and that is a very personal thankfulness on my undeserving self.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Elihu July 24, 2015 / 09:31

      Great point! We need to have that extraordinary faith that God will answer…

      We had this discussion on Wednesday night too with regards to the Christians praying for Peter to get out of prison. They prayed, but seemed surprised when God answered their prayer.

      We do need to make our requests to God, knowing He will do something about it (even if his response doesn’t exactly mirror our expectation)!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kara July 24, 2015 / 10:31

    I don’t feel like I’m going to dig as deep as some here, but the history of Samson has consistently served as an example to me that God has never expected us to live our lives perfectly; He has always been prepared that we won’t. (Through the scriptures, He has shown over and over again that although people constantly mess up, “BIG and small” sins alike, God is always ready to forgive and grant mercy to those who have seeking hearts). So when I read about the struggles that I may or may not easily relate with, from pridefulness to murder and beyond, I am confident that God is ready to forgive and grant mercy to me as well. In that, I have a peace that I am clean and welcome to be his child. As much as He hates my sin, His love for me is so much more, and He will always be there for me when I call out in desperation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Elihu July 24, 2015 / 12:35

      So true! I often have considered that David—who not only committed adultery and killed the woman’s husband—is an example of God’s great mercy and love. David messed up and when Nathan called him out, his grief and sorrow over his sin was deep. He repented and he continued serving and praising God to the end of days (with plenty of mistakes in between). In spite of his failures, he is called “the man after God’s own heart.”

      Thank you, Kara for your reminder of God’s mercy. It definitely comes into play with Samson. It also reminds us of God’s unchanging nature—slow to anger, abounding in mercy and steadfast love. He is also a God of justice, and we are fortunate that He extends mercy to those who repent and obey.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. tabitha59reachingout July 24, 2015 / 13:01

    Great blog! So thought provoking. Thank you. I have often wondered the same things as you say, but enjoyed reading the comments of others over it. They make sense. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elihu July 24, 2015 / 13:06

      Thanks, Debbie! Everyone has had great input and I’ve appreciated the perspective immensely. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  7. artministryfpch July 25, 2015 / 05:39

    Great questions. To add to the mix and stir it a little, I can only say that Abraham is supposed to have been a man of faith. God promised him offspring but Abraham could not wait to give his wife away to two different pharaohs, which means he is giving away his ability to have offspring. Not to mention Hagar. So where’s the faith?
    Samson is presented as a character without any of Abrahams virtues, and God doesn’t seem to have singled him out as a faith hero either. Still, he had a purpose, though we might have to dig a little to really understand it. Just goes to show that God uses us broken vessels to carry the word. Maybe just to make it obvious that it couldn’t be us who are doing this, it’s Him.

    Like

  8. Samantha July 25, 2015 / 13:59

    One of the things that I think is interesting about Samson and the only thing I can think of to say in response is that I think his life displays someone who in the beginning of his life walked by sight and not by faith and it wasn’t untill his eyes were plucked out-by Gods grace-that Samson could finally walk by faith and not by sight. 2 cor 5:7

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Elihu July 25, 2015 / 17:33

    Wow! How eloquently stated! I never considered that aspect of it. Great perspective, Samantha!

    Like

  10. dione913@cox.net July 30, 2015 / 15:04

    I have pondered this all week, and now I want to look more at Barak as he is mentioned along with Gideon and Samson. I attached what I distilled this morning. I guess I have a pet peeve about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. In other words for some reason, we think that we are the ones that can change our lives and we leave God out of the equation and neglect to give Him thanks for our victories. It seems like I am still missing something though. I sure apprectiated everyones comments so that might be why I came to my conclusions…

    Like

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