Art of War: True Strength

Judges 8 – 1 Sam. 4

[True strength comes when we place ourselves entirely under the control of the Holy Spirit]


You can’t hear the name Samson, and not think of brute strength! If you close your eyes and describe the picture of what you see, it is likely a tall man somewhere between six and seven feet, broad shoulders, massive biceps and forearms, huge strong hands, a torso like sculpted steel, and massive legs of iron attached to the solid base of his Shaquille O’neal sized feet.  

Now don’t forget the long black warrior hair reaching down to his massive waste, because remember Samson was a Nazarite who was told to never drink wine and never to cut his hair.

Samson was actually one of the miracle children of the Bible, and a gift from God to a childless couple. Now the Bible doesn’t say it, but maybe like the mother of Samuel, Samson’s mother had been praying for a child, begging God for a baby that she could hold and love and bring up as her very own. This wasn’t the first miracle birth in the Bible:

— Abram and Sarai also had no children — God gave them Isaac even when they were old — Same story is repeated with Isaac and Rebekah — Again Bible said the baby came in answer to prayer:

[Gen 25:21 NKJV] 21 Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she [was] barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

— Then you have the story of Hannah and Elkanah — Hannah prays and God gives her a child of promise

— Then you move to the New Testament and there you find Elizabeth & Zecharias, elderly people, and living there entire life without children — God gives Elizabeth a baby, called John the Baptist, a miracle baby

and notice the Bible says John the baptist also came as a result of prayer:

[Luk 1:13 NKJV] 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.

I want to pause here and just recognize a pattern — children were born throughout the Bible, who grew up to be the hero’s of scripture — men who changed history — and each one of these people where born to families who were praying for them! Some of these families prayed their entire life, daily pouring out their souls to God and God brings a miraculous answer to their cries.

  1. God hears your prayers when you let them ascend to Him
  2. God has a track record of answering prayers — He answers them at times and ways we don’t anticipate, because He sees the stream of time from eternity past and knows just when, where, and how best to answer our prayers
  3. God loves providing children to families who have none — children are part of God’s plan, loved by God and are an important part of the family circle.

We live in a world that says our planet is overpopulated[1], a world that promotes the voluntary extermination of the most vulnerable of humans (the unborn fetus) — and in this cultural cloud of confusion the stories of these miracle children speak that God values them, loves them, wants them, and it is His will that we pray for them.

Don’t just leave your life to chance — pray for it….  

Don’t just live your life on luck — pray for it

Don’t just depend on skill, brilliance, and determination — pray for it

[Jer 33:3 NKJV] 3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

[Mat 21:22 NKJV] 22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

[Luk 11:9-10 NKJV] 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

The Bible reveals that God wants to answer your prayers, tells us of His miracles so that we will pray more, and calls on us over and over in scripture to seek Him in prayer  — and I wonder where Isaac would’ve been had Abraham  not prayed. Would we have a had a prophet Samuel, had Hannah not cried out to the Lord with tears? Would John the Baptist have shaken the world with his forerunner preaching had Zecharia and Elizabeth not prayed? Would God have sent the angel of the Lord to announce the birth of Samson, were there not some righteous soul praying in Israel?

Let me insert here, that this was no ordinary angel either.  

  1. The angel is called “The Angel of the Lord”, which frequently is a reference not to an ordinary angel, but to God Himself — what theologians call a Theophany or a Theophanic Angel… It is when God divinely manifests Himself.
  2. The angel identifies himself by a name given to Jesus:

[Jdg 13:17-18 NKJV] 17 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, “What [is] Your name, that when Your words come [to pass] we may honor You?” 18 And the Angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it [is] wonderful?”

[Isa 9:6 NKJV] 6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Think of it, in answer to the prayers of a mother, a father, maybe the righteous in Israel who are crying out to God for deliverance from the Philistines whose cruel rule Israel is under — God sends the highest abassador of heaven, His own Son… Another miracle baby who would be born through the Holy Spirit in Bethlehem many centuries in the future.

It’s intriguing to me that the birth of Samson was announced twice by Jesus who appears as the Angel of the Lord to Manoah and his wife… That Jesus the messenger sent… Samson in a number of ways prefigured Christ — the ultimate deliverer of God’s people:

  1. Miraculous birth
  2. The Angel of the Lord said he would deliver his people
  3. The Nazarite vow symbolized total dedication to God — Jesus as one without sin was symbolized in the Nazarite vow
  4. Both Jesus and Samson were filled with the Holy Spirit right before their full ministry began (Jesus at his baptism, and Samson before he judged the people)

[Jdg 13:24-25 NKJV] 24 So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon him at Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson was no ordinary man! We often think of his massive strength, but an even more important identity that Samson bore was that he was destined to be an example of the Christ to come — one of the forerunners who was to represent Jesus the Messiah.

Samson’s own name means “Little Sun” — or “Little Ball of Light”, Malachi the last book in the Old Testament uses the sun to illustrate the coming of Jesus:

[Mal 4:2 NKJV] 2 ….The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings…”

Samson had a bright future, and His greatest goal was to reflect the Savior, called Wonderful, who had brought the message of hope, the message of a deliverer to a childless couple in Northern Israel… How would Samson accomplish God’s purpose for his life?

Let’s get into the secret of Samson’s strength! So what was his secret?

Let me take you to the end of the story to discover his secret, which he divulges on the lap of


[Jdg 16:17 NKJV] 17 … If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any [other] man.”

Was the secret his hair? It had to have been much more than his hair…. There have been many people in the Bible with long hair, but none of them derived their strength from their length of their hair….. The long hair was part of a covenant with God — called being a Nazarite! In this covenant Samson was not to cut his hair, and in return strength would come from God!

[Jdg 13:5 NKJV] 5 “For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

What I want you to see is that Samson is an ordinary man — with an extraordinary gift… And that gift is contingent on his walking with God…. This becomes more clear as we look as Samson’s life and the catalyst to his incredible feats:

Spirit of Lord The Secret of Samson’s Strength:


[Jdg 14:5-6 NKJV] 5 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now [to his] surprise, a young lion [came] roaring against him. 6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though [he had] nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.


[Jdg 14:19 NKJV] 19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave the changes [of clothing] to those who had explained the riddle. So his anger was aroused, and he went back up to his father’s house.


[Jdg 15:14-15 NKJV] 14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him; and the ropes that [were] on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out his hand and took it, and killed a thousand men with it.

Other Notable Actions

  1. Caught 300 Foxes
  2. Lifted up the city gates on his back
  3. Pushed over the Pillars

— In this last case, Samson had lost all his strength and became as he said to Delilah

[Jdg 16:17 NKJV] 17 “… like any [other] man.”

But when the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson once more at the end of his life — as a result of his rededication to God, his strength returned again

[Jdg 16:28 NKJV] 28 Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one [blow] take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”

I want to distill the secret of Samson’s success, power, and strength to the power of the Holy Spirit poured out in Samson’s life. Yes, we often credit Samson’s great feats to his muscular masculinity…. It was the bulging bicep that struck down a lion or it was the brutish back that hauled the gates off the city wall and up a hill, or, it was the hands of steal and the arms of oak that slaughtered a thousand men with only a jawbone of a donkey… But the Bible paints a different picture:

[Psa 33:16 NKJV] 16 No king [is] saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.

[Zec 4:6 NKJV] 6 So he answered and said to me: “This [is] the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.

The story of Samson rather than being a Christian rehearsal of hercules — and the great strengths of men — is really a rehearsal of the power that can be brought to the life of one so completely filled with the Holy Spirit… The story of Samson should cause the weakest man or woman to trust in God, because real strength comes from Him.

[2Co 12:10 NKJV] 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. [1Co 2:4-5 NKJV] 4 And my speech and my preaching [were] not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

[Psa 20:7 NKJV] 7 Some [trust] in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

[Phl 4:13 NKJV] 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

So how do we get the Holy Spirit? — ASK!

[Luk 11:13 NKJV] 13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

And then we must believe that God hears us — How often should we pray for the Holy Spirit?

As long as we sense our need of the Spirit, and when we cease to sense our need for God’s Spirit then our prayer should change to “Lord help me to sense my need of your Spirit, and then give me your Spirit in proportion to my need”…..

What comes through the Holy Spirit?

  1. Conviction of Sin
  2. Instruction in Righteousness
  3. A Transformed Character that bears fruit
  4. Spiritual Gifts needed to evangelize
  5. Spiritual Gifts needed in God’s church
  6. Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding
  7. Physical strength, Mental Strength, and Emotional Strength
  8. New Visions and Views of others and God

When the Spirit comes, everything becomes new…  

[Rom 8:11 NKJV] 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

[2Co 5:17 NKJV] 17 Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

But the story of Samson is not just the story of one who was filled with the Holy Spirit and did mighty deeds for God — Unfortunately the story of Samson is also the story of one who was overcome by the enemy and destroyed with his enemies….  

What was the one point where Samson fell?

[Jdg 16:1 NKJV] 1 Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.

Samson’s downfall was in not taking care to guard the avenues to his soul…

Why did Samson go to Gaza? What business did he have there? Did God call him to go to Gaza or did he do it for entertainment? Did Samson suspect that as he walked down Gaza street that he would encounter a temptation that would so sidestep his leisure stroll as to case his eventual downfall?

[1Pe 5:8 NKJV] 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

I want to speak for a moment about the perils of just letting the mind and body wander… To seek entertainment for entertainments sake…

As easily as Samson wandered down Gaza street — so much or easily we find ourselves wandering the pages of the internet — or wandering the pages of a magazine or book or the leisure stroll through the scenes of a movie… Little do we think or realize that Satan is watching what we watch, and waiting like a crouching lion to spring upon us in a moment….

How often do we need the Spirit upon us?

[Phl 4:13 NKJV] 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Appeal:

[1] Almost 50% of the total land mass on planet earth is totally uninhabited — this true of the US, around 45% of the United States has no one living in it at all.