The thing that stands out most to me about Samson is not that God chose to work through a hot-headed man with a weak spot for beautiful women. It is the supernatural strength that emerges from a life fully invigorated by the Holy Spirit.
It is hard to miss the Spirit’s presence in this narrative. Consider verse 6 “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands” and verse 19 “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men”. To the reader it is both simultaneously awe-inspiring and frightening. Have you ever experienced such a power within you? Who could withstand such ferocity and passion? Yet God works for good. Praise God.
In the New Testament we also see the power of the Holy Spirit at work, but not so much as to destroy as to regenerate. In fulfilment of Ezekiel 37, God’s Spirit now works within the hearts of Jesus’ followers to bring life to the death that would otherwise reign within us. Once Jesus resuscitates the life of a man his Spirit continues to bring life, renovating his character to conform it to the likeness of Christ. And God knows we need it. Without God’s power we can scarcely understand the seat of our own motives let alone attain godly virtues (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 7:15). The natural (fallen) state seeks after sin and death, but by God’s grace I can live the supernatural life. By His grace and Spirit within me I can put off sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). I can put on the new self just as God created me to be: with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (v.12). With God’s supernatural power I can have a change of heart.
Recalibration is in order. I wonder if what we regard as “natural” should be regarded “sub-natural” when mankind sought to live without God? I wonder if what seems supernatural was sometimes God’s original design for “natural”. Romans 8 seems to support this especially verse 6. To be sure God works mighty wonders at various times in particular places to usher in his Kingdom, but a part of me wonders if that Spirit-driven life full of joy and power, life and peace is the state Our Father created us to live in normally – that is “truly human”?
Reference – NT Wright, 2007, Surprised By Hope.