Samson the Startup Savior Part 1

Pastor Tom Ascol, in his series on Judges, begins the first of a two part explanation of Samson. Samson’s life can be divided into four parts; A Bright Beginning, A Marred Manhood, A Deteriorating Devotion, and An Excellent End. It is the first two portions that are dealt with here.

Samson, like many of the other judges was flawed. As an imperfect savior who was to free Israel from the Philistines, Samson points to a later coming perfect Savior who frees His people from their sin. Missing from the biblical text are any laments or prayers from deliverance. It seems as if the Israelites had made their peace with their oppressors and were contentedly living in their midst. In fact, as Samson started his work of deliverance 3000 men from Judah complained of his stirring up trouble. Still, this imperfect man had a bright beginning. He was born to godly parents in a time of spiritual darkness in the nation. Manoah and his wife lived for the Lord, and so much so that when visited by the Lord they feared for their lives. They recognized God’s holiness, their sinfulness, and the great gulf between these two estates. Godly parents are a great blessing, then and now. Children should consider that blessing and what God’s purposes for it are. God is reaching out to them.

Samson’s parents consecrated him to the Lord from birth. They carefully adhered to the strictures of a Nazirite vow. This vow consecrated a person to God, setting aside a time or life of intense seeking of the Lord and dependence on Him. Even as they recognized Samson as a savior to his people, Samson’s parents had a special revelation of a coming Savior. The angel of the Lord was really a theophany, an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. Furthermore, in His ascending from the fire of the offering there is a shadow of Christ’s offering of Himself and His subsequent ascension to heaven. Observing this picture and its fulfillment ought to impress the observer, as it did Manoah and his wife, of God’s holiness and our sin and need for a Savior.

Samson, however, had a marred manhood. His uncontrolled sexual desires always led to dire consequences and were contrary to the expressed will of God. He ought to have married within the body of believers rather than to a non-believer. The consequences of that marriage should serve as a warning to today’s young people. While God does not forbid interracial marriage for Christians; he forbids interfaith marriage for Christians. Even so God overrules and uses evil for His own purposes in freeing the nation as shall be seen next week.

Nonetheless, it is important to remember the inevitable consequences of living on the basis of what is right in our own eyes. We are Christ followers. What is right in His eyes should be our guide. Spiritually speaking, a believer has little in common with a non-believer. Remaining true to God, the God who saves, and contrary to what we repeatedly see in Judges, should be the believer’s priority.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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