Be Strong, like Samson!
I, BE strong like Samson? How can that be? you may well ask. Why, Samson was the strongest man mentioned in the Bible. In fact, his name has become synonymous with strength.
True, the strength of Samson has become proverbial, and that not without good reason. Once he slew a lion with his bare hands. On another occasion he killed a thousand men, yes, a thousand men, and that with but the jawbone of an ass for a weapon. Then again, he carried away the gates of the city of Gaza and deposited them upon a hill many miles away. And to mention but one more of his feats—his most noteworthy of all—he toppled over the two pillars that supported a pagan temple. In the resultant collapse, which took his own life as well, some three thousand pagan enemies lost their lives, Samson thus killing more at his death than during his entire lifetime.—Judges chaps. 13 to 16.
Of course, if certain modern critics were right, no one would want to be strong like Samson. They would have us believe that the record of Samson is merely a compilation of exaggerated folk tales and that an “utterly undisciplined” Samson recklessly threw his weight around.” in the same way modern totalitarian dictators abuse their power. But not so. Samson is listed, at Hebrews 11:32-34, with other men of old who through faith proved valiant, and his use of strength is in keeping with the prophetic declaration at Judges 13:5, that he would begin to deliver his people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
Samson’s nation, Israel, was being occupied by hateful, oppressive pagans in much the same way as in modern times certain lands are occupied by ruthless totalitarian powers. Samson might be said to have been a one-man army commissioned by his God Jehovah to soften up the Philistines’ occupation of the Promised Land preparatory to their being expelled under the prophet Samuel and King David. This is what we should expect in view of the fact that Samson’s very birth was due to divine intervention, his mother having been long barren. It is also in keeping with the fact that Samson not only distinguished himself in warlike exploits but also judged or ruled Israel for twenty years.—Judg. 13:2; 16:31.
How can you be strong like Samson? Not in physical strength, but in spiritual strength, for that is what counts today. Remember, Samson received his strength from God and so can you. Samson was dedicated to God from the day of his birth; he was a Nazirite, set apart for God’s service. That he might carry out the work God had for him he was endowed with special strength.—Judg. 13:3-5.
If you would be strong like Samson, then you also must dedicate yourself to God to do his service. Obviously, before you could do so intelligently you would first have to take in knowledge of Jehovah God, his purposes and his will for you. You would also need to bring your life in line with God’s righteous requirements so that your dedication might be acceptable to God. As God’s spirit empowered Samson to carry out the work God had for him, so God today gives his holy spirit to those who dedicate themselves to him to do his will that they might carry out that will. As we read: “Not by a military force, nor by power, but by my spirit.” To receive that spirit, however, we must also pray for it, even as Jesus showed.—Zech. 4:6; Luke 11:13.
Jehovah God, however, imparts his spirit today neither apart from his Word nor apart from association with his organized people. Therefore, to become spiritually strong you must, in addition to praying for God’s spirit, continually feed on God’s Word and associate with his people.—Matt. 4:4; Heb. 10:23-25.
By following these Scriptural principles you will become spiritually strong, not for the purpose of showing off your strength, but so as to be a valiant fighter in spiritual warfare. As the apostle Paul notes: “The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things.” Then, like him, you will be able to say: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.”—2 Cor. 10:4; Phil. 4:13.
You can confidently expect this to be true in your case, for the Christian witnesses of Jehovah are daily showing themselves to be strong like Samson. This they are doing particularly in three respects: They have brought their lives in line with God’s righteous requirements. They are giving a great witness to God’s name and kingdom worldwide, and that even in totalitarian lands where they must work underground. And they keep holding fast to their integrity in spite of all the efforts of their totalitarian persecutors to brainwash them. By exposing false religious teachings and practices they have wrought havoc, as it were, among the modern Philistines, causing them to cry out in distress, even as did the ancient Philistines. An incident illustrating this occurred about a year ago in Eire. There the People’s Press of Donegal complained that their city had “been invaded once again by a plague of pests. . . . An army of men and women, some of them touring around on motor scooters, making house-to-house calls in town and country, leaving their free magazines, . . . which criticize the doctrine of our holy religion.” This particular “army” of men and women consisted of two women ministers!
In all this, however, we may not overlook the fact that Samson’s life also contains a warning to all who are dedicated to serve God. Because of unwise association he lost his strength for a time and came into bondage to his foes. Therefore, “do not be misled. Bad associations spoil useful habits.” Guard against coming into bondage by means of a commercial scheme, marriage to an unbeliever or an illicit relationship. Yes, be strong like Samson, but at the same time be on your guard!—1 Cor. 15:33.