Human Frailty Meets Divine Strength

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

The church of God represents the redeemed community that God uses to fulfill His purposes on earth.  Heb 11:32-34 mentions about two individuals who are fascinating and had unique character. Gideon and Samson displayed how human frailty meets divine strength.  Gideon goes from weakness to strength and Samson goes from strength to weakness. In both cases they become useful to God. 

Gideon and Samson are identified as ‘judges’ which in Hebrew means deliverer in the Book of Judges. After the time of Moses and Joshua, before the reign of the kings, beginning with Saul, David, Solomon and then the divided kingdom was the period when God used the ‘judges.’ They were chosen by God to protect, to preserve and deliver Israel from its formidable enemies. There were 14 judges whom God used during the span of 350 years. During this time, Israel constantly disobeyed and strayed from the will of God. They committed the ultimate evil in God’s sight by worshipping foreign gods and succumbed to the influences of the pagan world. It was a cycle of rebellion, punishment and deliverance by God.

It was during this period that God raised Gideon and Samson who had contrasting personalities to fulfill His purposes. Gideon was too weak to be used by God where else Samson was too strong for any use. Gideon did not believe that he could accomplish anything but Samson believed he could accomplish anything with his supernatural strength. Neither made good leaders. However, God turned their human frailties with His divine strength.  

In Judges chapter 6 the Midianites and the Amalekites  who were enemies of God constantly terrorized and  harassed the Israelites for seven years. It was their rebellion that God allowed such punishment against them. However, when they cried out, God usually raises His ‘judges’ to deliver His people. In this instance, chapter six and seven portrays Gideon to be a coward and a weakling. God demonstrates His supernatural strength to turn a cowardice like Gideon to do great exploits.  

In Judges 13, we find Samson who was raised as a Nazarene from his tender age and bestowed with supernatural strength. After several generations, Israel continues the cycle of rebellion and invoked God’s wrath. As usual, when they are desperate, they cried out to be delivered. In this instance, Samson opposite to Gideon who was weak and timid was raised as a brash, reckless and indomitable personality.  Gideon saw himself as inadequate but Samson saw himself as invincible. Samson did not keep his vow and was driven by fleshly desires. He had an unrestrained passion, a stubborn will, violent temper and a volatile personality. However, God still had a purpose for him to rescue Israel from the Philistine oppression.  His aggressive personality was needed to keep the violent Philistines at bay. Thus, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him often supernaturally to confront the Philistines’ onslaughts. The strength of Samson though misplaced but was still used by God to restrain the marauding Philistines. 

In Judges 16, the Lord delivered Samson from a life threatening dehydration. For the first time Samson experienced weakness. It resulted in his willingness to spare his life to protect his people and to serve God from Israel’s deadly enemies. Samson died penitent, broken and humble. He died for the cause of his nation and the cause of his God. Samson’s greatest feat was the strength that came out of his weakness.  

It is only when we see ourselves as weak that we can be made strong in the Lord. Gideon was weak, weak enough to become strong in the Lord. Samson was strong, too strong to really be everything God wanted him to be. However God’s purpose was fulfilled when he got his spiritual act together in the very end. 

Dear friends, the testimonies of Gideon and Samson are depiction of what God can do through the redeemed community who walk by faith. God is not looking for perfect people because there are none. He is looking for those who are broken and weak in order to make them strong in Him. 

God is faithful to protect and keep His everlasting covenant with His people.


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