The Nazirite vows included prohibitions against
- touching dead bodies,
- cutting one’s hair,
- consuming grapes in any form (including grapes, raisins, vinegar and wine); this does not include drinking strong drink that does not come from grapes - vodka is ok.
- following the rest of the Jewish Law
So, how did Samson do with all of this?
The first thing we read about Samson (after his birth) is that he wanted to marry a Philistine woman (in defiance of Jewish Law)
The second thing we read is that he killed a lion with his bare hands, but he didn’t tell anybody. A while later, he went to marry the Philistine girl and stopped to look at the corpse of the lion he had killed. Bees had made a nest in the body and Samson put his hand in and took the honey to eat (this is a violation of the vow to not touch dead bodies)
Next came Samson’s wedding feast. The Hebrew word used tells us that there would have been lots of wine involved…another violation.
He made up a riddle that nobody could have known the answer to (because he broke a vow and didn’t tell anybody), he let his wife’s nagging, pouting and whining get the best of him and he told her the answer - and she promptly told her fellow country-men. So he killed the guys and gave his wife to one of his groomsmen.
After a “cooling off period”, he went to her father’s house, with the intent of “going into her room” - but alas, Samson had given her away! He retaliated against the Philistines for his own move by setting fire to their fields. They were (in the words of Jack Bauer) “upset”. Samson’s own people tied him up and gave him to the enemy (with friends like Samsom…).
The Lord’s timing wasn’t right, so he empowered Samson to kill a bunch of men and escape - and Samson lived in the land of the Philistines for 20 years. At one point, our man Sam went to spend the night with a prostitute and “somehow” the word got out, but Samson escaped again, with a great show of strength.
It is my opinion that Samson was not the brightest candle in the chandelier.
He fell in love with Delilah and she asked him where his strength came from. He lied to her and she did what he had told her would take away his strength - and of course, it didn’t. They did this three times! And he didn’t catch on! Finally, the fourth time, he told her the truth and (big surprise) she did it and Samson was caught.
This time, the Lord’s timing was right and Samson brought down the temple.
All of this tells me that God uses the very imperfect - and sometimes plans the imperfect to be used.
Samson broke his promises - but God used him.
Samson wasn’t very bright (or maybe it’s just that love is blind) - but God used him.
I believe that it is because of our imperfections that God’s glory shines through…and through and through.
I don’t want to be afraid that my imperfections make me unusable. I’m not a member of the “I’ve lived a better life than you” club.
But I want God to use me and I want God to be glorified, either in spite of my imperfections or because of them.