The Bible is full of characters that served the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength. They were people we want to emulate, whose lives are examples of how we ought to serve the Lord. However, there were also people whose lives show us how to mess things up royally, and whose stories paint a perfect picture of what NOT to do. Such an example is Samson.
Samson started off in the right direction. His parents had a visit from an angel before his birth, telling them certain things their son must observe all of his life. Samson was to be a Nazirite from his mother's womb, which meant he had to abstain from certain foods and drink. He also couldn't touch anything dead, and couldn't cut his hair. For most people this vow was for a short period of time, but Samson was to be a Nazirite for his whole life. His life was to be one of dedication to God, a commitment that would be shown outwardly by his vow.
God wanted to use Samson to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines, their enemies. When the Spirit of the Lord would come upon Samson, he had unusual physical strength. God allowed things to happen in Samson's life that caused him to rise up against the Philistines. However, even though God used Samson in such an extraordinary way, Samson broke his Nazirite vow several times.
Samson's casual attitude towards the Nazarite vow was a symptom of his rebellious attitude. He wanted to do things his way rather than God's way. He made a lot of bad choices, such as his insistence on marrying a woman from Timnath. He allowed himself to be influenced by people who didn't have his best interests at heart. The real irony in Samson's life is that even though he was a man of great physical strength, he was weak when it came to dealing with women.
For example, Samson loved a woman named Delilah. He allowed both his wife and Delilah to manipulate him. Because they nagged him incessantly, he gave in, and told them things he should have kept to himself. The lords of the Philistines promised Delilah a lot of money if she could learn the source of Samson's strength. Delilah didn't really love Samson, so she began to question him about his great physical strength. Samson played a dangerous game with her, telling her three different things that were the source of his strength. Each time, Delilah tried to destroy that thing he said was the secret, but each of her attempts failed. Yet Samson was stupid to continue to trust this woman who obviously was bent on destroying him! Samson should have been smart enough to realize Delilah's deceptions, but he wanted to believe that she loved him. She nagged and pestered him so much, he finally told her the truth - that if his hair were cut, his strength would leave him. Not surprisingly, she had his hair cut off, and Samson lost his strength.
Even though God used Samson against the Philistines, his story is not a good example to follow. We must be wise about whom we trust. We must not give in to others' manipulative ways for any reason. Some secrets should remain hidden in our hearts. Samson failed to follow God's instructions concerning the Nazirite vow, but more importantly, he allowed his connection to God to be severed by breaking the last part of his vow.
Samson's hair was not his strength; rather, it was merely the symbol of his dedication to God. Because Samson failed to guard his secret, he was betrayed and taken captive by the enemy. We can see from Samson's life that he trusted the wrong people and paid dearly. Let's not make the same mistakes as Samson, but rather, let us be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16)