[A quick explanatory note here: When I post in “fictional conversations” they are sometimes — but not always — adapted and edited from non-fictional correspondence (whether face-to-face or electronically, etc.).] The following is a little chat between Christian and Mr. Shun-Repentance.
Mr. Shun-Repentance: Samson was born unto God as a Nazarite, from the womb, and until his death, correct? He was not, as a Nazarite, to touch or eat anything unclean, such as dead bodies of any type? Samson does not honor his father and mother in Judges 14:3 and demands that they take for him the specific woman of his liking from the uncircumcised Philistines for a wife. In Judges 14:6, he rips a lion’s body apart with his hands, and withholds this information from his father and mother. He looks to the carcass in verse 8, then takes from the carcass in verse 9, and walks away eating. He shares what he is eating with his parents, still withholding his killing of the lion, and now that they are all eating from the lion’s carcass. Samson shows himself to be very prideful and deceitful through chap. 14, with his ‘riddles’.
Christian: I would remind you sir, that Samson is a JUDGE. And God had said that “he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). As a (human) judge he is also a sinner, BUT he is NOT one who makes a trade of sin. That is, contrary to what you seem to be implying, 1 John 2:4 does NOT characterize the life of Samson:
“The one saying, I have known Him, and not keeping His commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that one.”
Christian: Would you call Samson a liar, or no?
Mr. Shun-Repentance: In Judges 15:8 Samson murders Philistines in a great slaughter in revenge. In Judges 15:15 he picks up the fresh jawbone of a dead donkey, and murders a thousand more men with the unclean weapon. (And verses 16 & 17 show him to be as happy and proud of this as a football-player upon their 1,oooth touchdown!)
Christian: Not so fast. You apply a faulty standard to one whom God has appointed to be a JUDGE over Israel. When Samson kills a man (or a multitude of men), it is NOT murder. To murder is to take life APART FROM Divine sanction. As an appointed JUDGE, Samson HAD Divine sanction to take Philistine life. Allow me to educate you out of your Scripture-twisting and self-deceiving stupor:
“And it happened when he finished speaking, he threw the jawbone out of his hand. And he called that place Jawbone Height. And he was exceedingly thirsty, and called to Jehovah and said, Surely You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant. And now I am dying with thirst, and will fall into the hand of the uncircumcised. And God broke open the hollow place which is in Lehi, and water came out of it. And he drank, and his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore its name is called the Fountain of the Praying One, which is in Lehi to this day. And he judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines” (Judges 15:17-20).
Christian: Who would have (or could have) thought that a JUDGE of Israel would actually rejoice and GIVE THANKS to Jehovah for a great deliverance:
“For, behold, the day is coming, burning like a fire pot; and all the proud and every doer of wickedness shall be chaff. And the coming day will set them ablaze, says Jehovah of Hosts, which will not leave root or branches to them. But to you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall rise up, and healing will be on His wings. And you shall go out and frisk like calves of the stall. And you shall tread under the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day which I am preparing, says Jehovah of Hosts” (Malachi 4:1-3).
“And after these things, I heard a great voice of a large multitude in Heaven, saying, Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the honor and the power of the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He judged the great harlot who defiled the earth with her fornication. And He avenged the blood of His slaves out of her hand. And a second time they said, Hallelujah! Also her smoke goes up to the ages of the ages” (Revelation 19:1-3).
Christian: What is this recorded in Malachi and Revelation? Is it a shockingly sinful display of gloating saints who are, quote: “happy and proud of this as a football-player upon their 1,oooth touchdown”? Of course not.
There is a WORLD of difference between the really happy, yet less-than-thoughtful football player who so quickly forgets that what he does is meaningless, and the saints of who rejoice God over the destruction of HIS enemies (AND THEIR enemies by obvious extension).
Samson is NOT sinning to rejoice in the destruction of God’s enemies (neither are those in Malachi 4:1-3 and Revelation 19:1-3). And neither are any other saints who REJOICE in singing the imprecatory praises of God.
Mr. Shun-Repentance: In Judges 16:1 Samson goes in unto the harlot. Adultery, correct? Judges 16:4 says, now he loves a woman named Delilah of the Valley of Sorek. Adultery again, correct?
Christian: David with Bathsheba would be a similar case of saints sinning heinous sins, but not living in heinous sins.
Mr. Shun-Repentance: In Judges 16:28 Samson prays to God, asking for remembrance and strength that he might take vengeance for what the Philistines have done to his eyes. In Judges 16:30 Samson commits suicide and takes with him 3,000 Philistines for his eyes.
Christian: Samson is a JUDGE who is God’s APPOINTED DELIVERER, and as such, it is far from accurate to label his death as a suicide or self-murder. As previous chapters bear out, Samson was appointed by God to deliver Israel by destroying the Philistines (Judges 13:5; Judges 14:4). Samson clearly had Divine sanction and approval when his prayer for strength to destroy the Philistines was answered. To accuse Samson of self-murder or suicide necessarily implies there was not Divine sanction. But there was sanction, clearly.
So do not pull a wicked C.S. Lewis by a less-than-charitable interpretation of Samson’s prayer request concerning his eyes. Do not “charitably interpret” Samson’s, Paul’s, or the Revelation-six-saints’ prayers in the same manner C.S. Lewis did the Psalmists, viciously slandering them as “ferocious, self-pitying, barbaric men”:
“Alexander the coppersmith showed many evil things to me. The Lord will give back to him according to his works” (2 Timothy 4:14).
“And when He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those having been slain for the Word of God, and for the witness which they had. And they cried with a great voice, saying, Until when, holy and true Master, do You not judge and take vengeance for our blood, from those dwelling on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10).
Christian: Samson’s prayer, along with other types of imprecatory prayers and requests by God’s people, are NOT exhibitions of self-centeredness and vendetta (as though they thought themselves to be something great). Rather, these prayers exhibit a trembling and humble recognition that those who meddle with God’s people meddle with God Himself:
“For so says Jehovah of Hosts: He has sent Me after glory, to the nations who plundered you; for he who touches you touches the pupil of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8).
“Brothers, we are bound to give thanks to God always concerning you, even as it is right, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of each one of you multiplies toward one another, so as for us to boast ourselves in you in the assemblies of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions, and the afflictions which you endure, a clear token of the just judgment of God, for you to be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you indeed suffer; since it is a just thing with God to pay back tribulation to the ones troubling you, and to give you, those being afflicted, relief with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with angels of His power, in flaming fire giving full vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will pay the penalty: everlasting destruction from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His strength, when He comes to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all those who believe in that Day, because our testimony to you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10).
Mr. Shun-Repentance: Could a hypothetical man convince me that he was a true Christian by mere verbal profession, followed by 2 years of rape and murder per month. My answer is, yes. Can a good tree bear bad fruit? Yes. I am not an antinomian, though someone might use my beliefs as a license to sin.
Christian: Not an antinomian, eh? Interesting. Your surname is “Shun-Repentance,” yet you would deny that this is indeed your name. You would call a professing Christian whose life is characterized by rape and murder a true Christian. In striking contrast to your hubris the apostle John calls him an unregenerate liar:
“The one saying, I have known Him, and not keeping His commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that one” (1 John 2:4).