Sampson? Really?

I think I understand how Sampson is an exciting study for the 3rd-grade boys, but I struggle with it in an adult class. Then, the Hebrew writer includes his name in the list of the 'heroes' of faith along with Gideon, Barak, and Jephthah! (Heb. 11:32). Here is a man who had such potential: a godly mother, a providential birth, and even the promise of God that he would deliver Israel from bondage. 

Blessings often, however, turn into stumbling blocks, and so it was for Sampson. We watch as his life spirals out of control. Then, against all of our expectations, he has a final great episode of faith. 

Again we see that God was able to use even the most unpromising of people to accomplish His will. We rejoice that in the end, Sampson exercised faith in God and did deliver Israel. Yet, I continue to wonder what could have been. 

However, Sampson is not all that different from us in this regard. How many are the blessings that God has given that we either take for granted, ignore, or misuse? How many hearts have been turned away from God by lusts of the flesh and pride? How many have chosen worldly love over serving God? 

While each of us have different abilities, each should use his life to glorify God and not for self. Peter exhorts us: "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 4:11).   Hugh DeLong