In this short book, John Benton walks us through the life of Samson. While the wider context and general teaching of Judges 13-16 is outlined, the focus is specifically on lessons in leadership.
Samson is an enigmatic character. His inclusion among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 can seem surprising in view of the record we find in Judges. Benton writes sympathetically and does not minimise the way the Lord used Samson. He is less interested in reaching an overall verdict on Samson’s life than in learning from his failures.
The basic premise is that, even when he is fulfilling his God-given role as deliverer of Israel, Samson is an idolater, a resentful outsider seeking success and power over others instead of submitting to the Lord.
Benton analyses Samson’s background, birth and upbringing to support this position and seeks to draw a consistent portrait of his personality from the scriptural data. Some of his inferences verge on the speculative, but there is a discernible trail from the source material to his conclusions. The applications are certainly scripturally warranted, as Benton points us back to the gospel, grace of Christ, love of God and fellowship of the Spirit.
Benton’s account of Samson’s end — humbled, repentant and finally looking in faith to the Lord — draws the book to a close.
This book tackles the important issue of sin in Christian leaders directly, digging below the surface to uncover where the problems lie. It should encourage any Christian in a position of leadership to honest self-appraisal, hopefully before they head as far as Samson did down the wrong path. For this purpose, it should prove a valuable, if brief, resource.