Day 93: Strengths and Weaknesses

Judges 13:1-25 When Israel fell back into their sinful ways, the Philistines conquered them and began a forty-year occupation of the region. As an angel foretold, Samson was born of a woman thought to be barren. Following the indication of the angel, he was consecrated to God as a NAZIRITE from birth and lived according to the Nazirite vow, which included not cutting his hair, and not taking strong drink (POP QUIZ!! What was the final component of the Nazirite Vow? Answer in the comment section of the Facebook Post 🤓)

Why do you ask my name?: God revealed his name to Moses, but his name remains mysterious because he transcends our human ability to comprehend him. He is thus always the “hidden God.” (CCC 206, 328, 332)

Ch 14:1-19 Samson was not without faults. For example, he married a pagan woman against the Mosaic Law and without telling his parents. The anecdote about the honey and the dead lion is symbolic of his marriage: he touched a dead lion and gave honey to his parents without telling them it was unclean and then became unclean himself by eating some of the honey. His violent action in killing thirty men to obtain the garments needed to pay off a bet over a riddle is also unjustifiable. (CCC 306-308)

Psalm 146 This litany of praise calls to mind God’s works of salvation. As in other psalms, this one encourages every individual to put his or her trust in God over earthly powers. An essential part of counting on God’s help and protection is to love him by keeping his Commandments. An important aspect of being faithful to his will is a special concern for the poor and downtrodden. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, July 2, 2003) (CCC 150)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Samson and Micah

  • Samson is likewise a tragic figure, more antihero than hero.

  • His story begins well.

  • As with Abraham and Sarah, an angel appears and tells a barren couple that they will have a son, but this son must be perpetually dedicated to the Lord in a Nazirite vow.

  • This vow entails three key conditions that are essential for reading the Samson story: avoiding alcohol, avoiding contact with dead bodies, and, finally, refraining from cutting one’s hair (Nm 6).

  • On those conditions, Samson is blessed with great strength.

  • Samson’s story continues abruptly when he asks his father to arrange a marriage with a Philistine woman who “pleases me” (Jgs 14:3).

  • As Samson travels to his wedding, he goes through the vineyards of Timnah.

  • This detail is significant, because the Nazirite vow against alcohol goes so far as to prohibit any contact with the fruit of the vine whatsoever.

  • Suddenly, a lion attacks him in the vineyard (a sign perhaps that Samson shouldn’t be there), and Samson slays it with his bare hands. (MUFASA, NOOOOOO NOT AGAIN!!!!! 😉)

  • The narrator makes a point that Samson did not tell his father or mother about it—probably because he was in a forbidden place, a vineyard!

  • The next day, Samson passes by the carcass and finds it full of bees and honey.

  • Besides the subtle note that Samson returns to the forbidden place, Samson’s eating honey out of the corpse of the lion is yet another, and more obvious, violation of his vow, due once again to his lust for pleasure (Now, wouldn’t a day-old decomposed Mufasa carcass stink to high heavens? No amount of honey is worth that to me… was in BAKLAVA!!! 😋😋😋)

  • Immediately after this, Samson holds a feast in Timnah for his wedding.

  • The word for “feast” literally means a drinking bout, and surely implies that Samson is drinking wine, suggested by his recent and repeated trips to the vineyard.

  • Samson makes a bet and humiliates thirty Philistine men from Timnah, leading to a spiral of violence in which Samson’s wife dies and he avenges himself on the Philistines.

  • After this, Samson pursues a harlot in Gaza, a location that indicates she was a Philistine.

  • This liaison increases the conflict with the Philistines, but they cannot overcome Samson’s strength.

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

  • So we heard from a couple different Judges

  • Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon

  • And finally, we have Samson

  • Samson is probably the most famousest (Fr. Mike’s word, not mine 😉) of all the Judges

  • Keep in mind the THEME of couples who long for a child

  • Samson’s story is no different

  • We will hear this again in 1 Samuel with Hannah, the mother of Samuel

  • Manoach and his wife long for a child

  • The Lord God blesses them with Samson

  • Whenever we have this theme it is SO IMPORTANT TO STOP AND PRAY


  • We need to PRAY FOR THEM




  • Samson is consecrated from birth as a NAZIRITE

  • Remember, for a Nazirite Vow, the one making the vow would go on a “retreat”, abstain from alcohol, not cut their hair, and not come into contact with dead bodies

  • It is VERY RARE that someone is consecrated as a Nazirite from BIRTH and remains that way FOR LIFE (I was consecrated as a Washington Redskins fan from birth and even THAT is proving difficult to hold onto my entire life 😉)

  • We have three famous examples of Nazirite: Samson, Samuel (but we don’t know for sure about him), and John The Baptist

  • Samson is NOT a good guy

  • Samson is an action hero

  • Fr. Mike’s favorite stories in his Action Bible were the stories of Samson

  • But when you get to know Samson’s full story, you realize something

  • Samson is STRONG, but he is NOT WISE


  • Samson killed MUFASA and eats honey from MUFASA’S carcass

  • He broke his VOW to not touch a dead body

  • He also shared that honey with his mom and dad, and made them unclean

  • Even when he defeats the 1,000 people at Lehi, he uses the jawbone of a DONKEY (I’m guessing it’s not DONKEY FROM SHREK, that would be TOO powerful a weapon since Donkey could never shut up 🤪)

  • This jawbone was an UNCLEAN OBJECT (dead animal)

  • Samson may be strong, BUT HE HAS A LOT OF WEAKNESSES

  • Samson’s weakness is his PASSION

  • Samson’s weakness is his ANGER

  • Samson’s weakness is his LUST

  • Boy, does his LUST get him into trouble

  • One thing we recognize for ALL OF US is that all of us have CERTAIN STRENGTHS

  • BUT....

  • All of us have CERTAIN WEAKNESSES

  • Those strengths DO NOT MAKE UP FOR those weaknesses

  • We MUST address the weakness

  • We can’t just say, “Well, I’m strong in this area so I can tolerate the weakness.”

  • What we must do is say to God, “Ok, Lord, I am strong in these areas. And yet, I also recognize that I am in great great need of purification. I am in great need of strengthening in a number of other places.”

  • So rather than despairing over our weakness, we come to The Lord with them

  • Or…

  • We should not dismiss those weaknesses so we come to the Lord with them

  • Fr. Mike invites us to acknowledge your strengths by PRAISING GOD for them



  • Neither DESPAIR because of your weakness

  • Nor DISMISS the weakness

  • Bring them and entrust them to The Lord

  • Say to God, “Lord, whatever you want to do with this weakness, I give you permission to purify it from my life. I give you permission to release me from my weakness. I give you permission to heal me of this weakness. I give you permission to give me the strength to not let these weaknesses become my downfall.”

  • The weakness will be Samson’s downfall

  • Is it really a spoiler alert if we all know what’s about to happen to him? 🤔

  • Keep praying for Fr. Mike

  • Keep praying FOR EACH OTHER

  • Pray for couples who are having difficulty conceiving a child, for couples who are having difficult pregnancies, couples who have lost a child from pregnancy to any age, pray for couples who have lost multiple pregnancies and children no matter what age


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we do give you praise and glory. We thank you so much for the gift of yourself, the gift of faith, the gift of your Word you have given to us every single day these last 93 days. Lord, you keep speaking to us and you keep teaching us. You teach us not only about ourselves and about our history, but you teach us about your heart. You teach us about YOUR SELF. So we ask that you please continue to allow our ears to be open, our hearts to be open, our minds to be shaped by who you are and what you call us to. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”