Introduction to the Sermon of the Mount
The great themes of the book of Daniel are driven home one last time in the final chapters: the sovereignty of God over all kings and thrones and empires, and the centrality of the Church in all God’s purposes.
The death of Samson is recorded in Judges 16:23-31. The previous passage described how Samson had been arrested, blinded, and imprisoned by the Philistines. The Lord allowed all of this to happen because of Samson’s sin (the violation of his Nazirite vow). But even though Samson suffered the temporal consequences of his sin, the Lord did not abandon him completely. In the final moments of his life, when it appeared that the Philistines were on the verge of offering Samson as a sacrifice to their god, Dagon, Samson prayed to the Lord, and the Lord gave him one final burst of supernatural strength. Samson leaned against the two load-bearing columns that supported the temple, and it came crashing down, killing 3000 Philistines, along with Samson himself. And so, even in death, Samson provides deliverance for the people of Israel. And yet, like all the other judges, Samson is an imperfect deliverer. He points to Israel’s need for lasting, permanent redemption. That redemption is found only by faith in the perfect Son of God, the perfect sacrifice, and perfect deliverer, Jesus Christ.
Following the story of Samson’s miraculous birth in Judges 13, the narrator describes the life of Samson in chapters 14-16. The picture is not altogether flattering. In fact, these chapters portray Samson quite negatively. For most of his life, Samson seems to have been guided primarily by the desires of his eyes and the lusts of his flesh. Although he was consecrated as a Nazirite from birth, we see in these chapters that Samson proves to be a very poor Nazirite. He eventually breaks all three parts of the Nazirite vow, which leads to the severe discipline of the Lord. And yet, even in the midst of severe discipline, the text indicates that Samson still has reason to hope. Despite his rebellion and disobedience, God can still use Samson to advance the kingdom.