Vol. 2, No. 20 – 2017
His parents named him Samson, and the Lord blessed him as he grew up. Judges 13:24
My wife and I had the privilege of seeing the musical Samson in Lancaster PA the summer of 2016. What an exciting story; what a heart-rendering epic. It is hard to imagine Samson’s name meaning “Sunny.”
Leaders often are drawn to their position because of an appetite for notoriety, opportunity to use their own creativity, and a compulsion to function as head of others. James M. Burns observes:
One of the most universal cravings of our times is a hunger for compelling and creative leadership. In the final quarter of our century that quality type leadership has given way to the cult of personality, to “gee whiz” approach to celebrities.
His parents named him Samson (sun-man, distinguished, or strong). They prepared him for a position—leadership. As a young man, “Sunny” was the instant hero through acts of strength and a supernatural stamina. The reason for this is that Samson belonged to The Leader, Almighty God; others were decisively their “own persons.” Being your own person is being a hypocrite to the One who has created you—it is an attempt to be self-sufficient.
In today’s psychology movement “Sunny” is a sanguine Type A; with adrenalin flow all the waking hours. He even killed a lion with his bare hands. He returned to the lion to discover bees had proceeded to make honey in the carcass. Wrongly, he feeds on the honey in the dead animal (he had taken a Nazarite vow). He slew 30 Philistines, absconding with their rich wardrobes to pay off a debt. Then we see him tying together the tails of 300 foxes, setting them on fire, chasing them into a field of grain ready for harvest.
Hot-blooded and impulsive.
He then takes a jawbone of a beast burden to slay 1000 choice warriors of the Philistines. The Philistines were not a happy lot. They began to plot his demise.
Samson was a man of wit, a trickster, strong, handsome, and uncontrollable. He also struggled with morals—given to license, laxity, and sensual passion. Yet, Hebrews 11:32 also pictures him as a man of faith and loyalty.
What can we learn from Samson’s leadership? That he was great, but should have been greater. His leadership did not always match appropriate values, morals, and character. He had great potential; yet, his performance was mediocre at best.
God expects better of His leaders—the story of “Sunny” ought to make us stop and take inventory of our leadership.
Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is. Romans 12:2 NLT