failure that ultimately matters to those in the faith,
is the failure to have faith.
little shocking: Joseph and Samson in the same chapter
(Hebrews 11) touted equally as heroes. Both appear as models
of faith, but their lives contrast radically.
Joseph -- a
paragon of moral purity, flees the seductive
advances of Potiphar's wife.
-- a picture of
moral laxity, resorts to prostitutes for company.
Joseph -- a man of
integrity and honesty, speaks the truth at all
Samson -- always ready to
lie and deceive to serve himself or save his
Joseph -- an example of
forgiveness, even for those who have personally
a portrait of vengeance and violence with complete
How could these Old Testament figures share the same
The shaggy Samson, wild-eyed and lonely, jilted and hunted,
humiliated and abandoned, fails in every way. His wedding plans
fell to pieces; his "friends" turned out to be
double-crossing thieves; he battles loneliness; he falls
from regional ruler to local prison inmate; and he
dies under a pile of rubble in an horrific
represents virtually everything we would NOT want for our
children. However, he gets specifically
named among the faithful in Hebrews 11.
His inclusion highlights several truths for our
First, faith does not protect us
from failure. Samson's story defies the common
teaching today that people with heroic-sized faith can
routinely conquer disease, avoid disaster, and
experience prosperity. Faith does not give us control of
the universe; nor does it give us control of
Second, failure does not suggest
a lack of faith. "If I only had more faith ...
I could have been healed; my marriage could have been
saved; I would not have been bankrupted." Our failure to
succeed in every venture of life has little to do with
our level of faith.
Does the Father
really measure our level of love or trust and hand
out rewards accordingly? What sort of love is
Samson deserves his place in the Hall of Faith,
not because he shines so brightly but because God
shines brightly at the end of his life. Blinded, humiliated,
shamed, and degraded, he calls out to the Lord
for the strength to perform one last mighty feat. It's
the only prayer of Samson's that the Bible records.
And God in His grace hears and responds. Isn't that just
The Hall of Fame describes the faith of men and
women in the past, but also the great faithfulness of
the Father throughout the ages. The only failure that
ultimately matters to those in the faith, is the failure
to have faith.
In HOPE -