Almighty God intervened on behalf of His people throughout the book of Judges. He raised up Israelite leaders to rescue them from the bondage of their enemies.
Samson was one of those leaders.
Announced by the angel of the Lord, Samson’s birth was a miracle of great proportions. His mother was barren. Jesus’ birth was pre-announced too, by God’s angel, Gabriel. And, although Mary’s young womb was virgin for a much different reason, neither Mrs. Manoah nor Mary conceived without the personal work of God’s intervening hand.
But the foreshadowing of things to come, the glimpses of Jesus the Messiah Who would eventually come to earth on the biggest rescue mission ever, didn’t stop with the prophecy of Samson’s birth.
Samson had one mission in life. To begin to deliver Israel from oppression. (See verse Judges 13:5.) Jesus’ mission was to finish that deliverance.
If you know anything at all about Samson’s life, you know him as a prideful, selfish man who did not follow God’s ways. It seems difficult to see the Jesus-glimpse that God wanted to give us through him. Still, even as messed up as Samson was, God fulfilled His plan to rescue His children from their enemy.
Our enemy is sin. Death. We are slaves to them without God’s intervening. But Jesus Christ conquered that enemy when He came to earth and gave His life on our behalf, so we could live.
It’s a crazy foreshadowing that God would use Samson, the messed-up man, in much the same way.
You see, when all was said and done, God used Samson’s death to rescue Israel from the Philistines. Just like God rescued you and me from our enemy, sin and death, through the death of Jesus Christ His Son, Samson gave his life so his nation could go free.
So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. (Judges 15:30)
Samson’s story is hard for me because it’s hard to find redemption inside all that he did wrong. But God provided the redemption for Samson’s story, when He saw Samson’s humble and repentant heart and used him to rescue His people.
And just like He did with Samson, God can redeem our stories too. If we humbly repent and let Him be the Lord of our lives.