How to Avoid a “Less-Than” Life: A Cautionary Tale

Heroes of Faith:  Samson

The life of Samson provides a cautionary tale that can teach us how to avoid a “Less-Than” Life.


Heroes of Faith: Samson 

How to Avoid a “Less-Than” Life:  A Cautionary Tale

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – March 5th



  • 5th installment of the heroes of faith series where we looked at the lives of Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses to gain understanding and give us principles for our lives.
  • Moses leads the people out – Joshua settles them in. Period of Judges.  Pattern of Judges (Did evil, God turned them over, cried out to the Lord, God delivered them) This is where we hear the story of Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Barak, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson (which is our focus for this morning).
  • I think Samson’s life could have been much more than it was, so I entitled this message “How to avoid a “less-than” life: a cautionary tale” so that we can learn from him what to avoid so that we can make the most of our lives.
  • Unlike Moses who had a difficult beginning to life, Samson had a good home life and here is a sampling


The family background and home life of Samson (Judges 13)

  • They were believers and people of prayer
  • They experienced the presence of God
  • They experienced the power of God
  • They obeyed the commands of God
  • They had the blessing of God
  • This was a strong, supportive Christian family . . .
  • So, in this family, and many families that I know the kids did not turn out all that great, when it comes to faith and in life. So, what went wrong, and where did they miss?  


How good homes go bad – a caution to parents  

  • We miss on training the heart
    • Why would I say this? As you read his story, Samson was self-centered and selfishly motivated . . . and when he was away from his parents, he did whatever he wanted . . .
    • Why did this happen? Because they trained for behavior and not for the heart . . . Train the heart not just the behavior . . .
    • Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it (Pro. 22:6) . . . (the way of faith, the way of love, the way of hope, the way of truth, the way of the cross)
    • Form of godliness but denied the power (2 Tim. 3:5)
  • We miss on roles and respect


Judg 14:1-2 ESV

Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.”


  • Samson commanded his parents to give him what he wanted
    • How did he become like this – because they did not train him on roles and respect
  • We miss by giving in to what they want


Judg 14:3 ESV

But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”


  • They were permissive, passive and I suspect, child centered parents
  • They knew it wasn’t right, but they did it anyway
  • Give them what they need, not everything they want . . . and parents do this all the time


How the gifted and called fall short – a caution to Christians

  • Everyone has a gifting and a calling
    • God gives each of us gifts “according to the grace given to us” (Romans 12:6). They are grace gifts (undeserved) and they are for the “common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. (Rom 11:29)
  • We get trapped by selfish motives
    • This is what “I want” – I want this . . . woman (Judges. 14 – 16)
    • He retaliated out of anger and vengeance – For the answer to the riddle (Jud. 14:19-20), for his father-in-law giving away his wife (Jud. 15:1-6) for the death of his father-in-law’s family (Jud. 15:7-20) – which got, worse and worse
    • there was not nobility in the cause The difference between a hero and a villain is a noble cause
    • He was only concerned about himself, which made him isolated and venerable . . .
  • We get trapped by progressive sin
    • Sin process no matter what the issue is – Samson’s was lust, look at the progression – he goes from wanted to marry someone who was out of bounds because of how she looked (I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines, get her for me as my wife (Jud. 14:2) to then sleeping with a prostitute (Jud. 16:1-3) then to moving in with girl – Delilah (Jud. 16:4-21)
    • “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”
    • Sin blinds us and immobilizes us . . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Heb 12:1)
    • If you do not leave temptation, temptation will not leave you
    • The thing that you take, in the end, will end up taking you



  • Epilog – Hope for hairless heroes
    • But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved (Jug. 16:22)
    • God is faithful to his word, even when we are unfaithful to our word
      • God said Samson will “begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines”
    • You can still bring down the house, but it will take you down as well

Questions for the car ride home:

  1. Parents, where have you done well and where can you improve in your parenting?
  2. Honestly evaluate what truly motivates you and ask for a change of heart where necessary.
  3. Where are the area(s) in your life that you need to get back on the right track?