Determining Our Purpose

Janet Aucoin March 5, 2011 Judges 13:

This is Session 1 from the Living Out Our Glorious Purpose series.

The Danger of Living without a Purpose: SAMSON (Judges 13-16)

(The person of Samson is the climax of the cycle of the book of judges. The “climax” is one of a great tragedy in that he is oblivious to his special calling even though God continues to give him opportunities to see what he is supposed to be. Instead, Samson is self-absorbed with his sexual appetite and his struggles with women. Samson ends up physically blind as an ironic testimony to his spiritual blindness.

Samson also represents the deterioration of the entire nation of Israel. By this time, just like their “deliverer” Samson, the nation is blind to its special calling of God and even though God has constantly prodded the nation and been gracious to the nation, they also are blind to their special calling of God).

Overview of the story:

  • Judges 13:3 Samson is miraculously born from barren woman (like Israel was—Sarah and Abraham and their promised child Isaac)
  • Judges 13:5 Samson is given a special calling and set of rules (Nazarite vow—Israel was given a special set of rules—the Law)
  • Judges 13:6 Samson is given a special purpose (deliverer - Israel was given a special purpose)
  • Judges 13:7, 8, 13, 14b; 14:4 Samson grew up without knowing the purpose of his special calling and set of rules, at least in part because his mother never informed him.

But…we do see God giving Samson many other opportunities to recognize that something is different…

Clues to Samson’s uniqueness:

14:5 Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done.

14:19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house.

15:4 Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails. 5 When he had set fire to the torches, he released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines, thus burning up both the shocks and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and groves.

15:14 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily so that the ropes that were on his arms were as flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds dropped from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out and took it and killed a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, Heaps upon heaps, With the jawbone of a donkey I have killed a thousand men.”

15:19 But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it.

Summary of the story:

  • Judges 13:25; 14:4 Yahweh stimulated Samson to begin understanding his purpose by stirring things up between Samson and the Philistines by using Samson’s attraction to foreign women.
  • Judges 14:6 God gave Samson an unusual burst of strength on the road to the Philistines to tear to shreds a lion so that Samson might get a clue as to his unique purpose as deliverer of Israel.
  • Judges 14:7 Yet Samson is unaffected and more concerned about women and the honeymoon night.
  • Judges 14:19 God gave Samson an unusual burst of strength to defeat 30 Philistines to continue to reveal to him his unique purpose.
  • Judges 15:1 Yet Samson is unaffected and desires his Philistine “honey.”
  • Judges 15:12 The children of Israel instead of crying out for deliverance from the oppression of the Philistines demonstrate their apathy by cluelessly binding their clueless “deliverer” and turning him over to the Philistines.
  • Judges 15:14 The Spirit of the Lord comes upon Samson mightily and he kills 1000 Philistines.
  • Judges 15:18 Yet afterward Samson only recognizes that he’s thirsty. He does not recognize that he is a deliverer.
  • Judges 15:19 Yahweh provides a Moses (deliverer) type miracle by giving Samson water from the rock.

Some points to remember:

Consequences of a life lived without understanding your God ordained purpose:

  1. Life of ugly self-absorption (would you say, I want to be like him!!?)
  2. Life of grasping for things that you will lose (tragedy—Samson’s wife is given away to his best friend!)

What do we learn about God

  1. God still graciously pursues us in order to get us to understand our purpose for our life.
  2. God is still sovereignly in control and using Samson as a deliverer even though Samson has no clue. GOD’S PURPOSES WILL NOT BE THWARTED BY NON-RESPONSIVE MAN.

Our unique calling:

Genesis 1:26;1 Kings 8:57-60; Deut 26:16-19; Ex 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:9

The visible representatives of the invisible God to all of creation!!

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.