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Facing The Lion, Like Samson

Samson was a miracle child (Judges 13:2–25). A gift of God to Manoah and his barren wife, he was endowed by God with special power to fulfill divine purposes. God used Samson to defeat the Philistines, the sworn enemies of Israel, and to establish God’s purpose for His people. Samson saw in life how God could give power to His chosen ones to experience His guidance and deliverance, such as when he tore apart an attacking lion, using no tools but his bare hands (Judges 14:5, 6).

In life, we confront Samson-like situations. Life without struggles, without dangers, is never promised in God’s plan. We continually face perils and challenges, some of which may be simple and others equivalent to facing lions. Whatever life’s incidents and accidents—be they sickness, betrayal, hatred, misunderstandings, loss of jobs, Sabbath exams, loss of loved ones, etc.—it is for us to discover God’s purposes behind them.

Ellen G. White wrote, “The very ones whom God purposes to use as His instruments for a special work, Satan employs his utmost power to lead astray. He attacks us at our weak points, working through defects in the character to gain control of the whole man; and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. But none need be overcome. Man is not left alone to conquer the power of evil by his own feeble efforts. Help is at hand and will be given to every soul who really desires it.”1

Satan knew that Samson had weaknesses and flaws in his character and endeavored to exploit them. While preparing for a wedding feast to marry a Philistine girl, a marriage his parents had not approved, Samson faced another challenge. A band of 30 people came to him as companions. Since these were Philistines, Israel’s sworn enemies, it is highly unlikely these men were there to encourage Samson—an Israelite—to marry a Philistine woman. Their objective was to watch him, and possibly trap him, and carry out their negative mission. Apparently realizing their sinister motive, Samson gave them a riddle to solve as a test: “‘Out of the eater came something to eat, And out of the strong came something sweet’” (Judges 14:14, NKJV).2 The riddle, coming out of his personal encounter and victory over a lion, was used as a warning message to them: out of difficult circumstances (an attack by a lion) can come blessings (tasting something as sweet as honey).

We often face in life fierce and terrifying situations. We may not confront a lion, but we often encounter trials for which we feel inadequate and sufferings that are unbearable. A lion, often called the “king of the jungle,” is a strong animal and is extremely fierce and brutal. Lions are not animals to play with. A Google search produces a list of some of the traits of lions— majestic, extremely strong, fierce, courageous, and possessing great power. Coming face to face with a lion would indeed be scary and terrifying.

The COVID-19 pandemic that we recently faced was one such situation, in which a lion of a different kind brought the mighty “to their knees.” The pandemic came in very strong and was brutally scary. It was destined to consume and did so. We hid from it as if we were hiding from a roaring lion. Even those who escaped its wrath know how serious the epidemic was. This is but one example of how Satan tries to bring us down. But there are other scary situations we face continually. How should we deal with them?


First, “fear not.” That’s how the Bible begins its message on what to do in life’s scary emergencies. (See Genesis 15:1; 21:17; Revelation 1:17, etc.) Life has never promised us a comfortable journey. Unexcepted, unknown, and often sudden, challenges and perils pounce on us like lions, and when they do, they upset our plans and goals. Some of them may be to the result of our poor choices, while others may not be related to any overt actions we have taken. Whatever the lion we face may be, we are not left alone, even though we may suffer bruises. Help is at hand and available to all who claim it. This can turn out to be some sweetening arising from the terrifying situation. In the case of COVID-19 pandemic, some positive situations were reported, such as these:

  1. A number of individuals acquired new skills, such as learning to use a computer, learning to drive, playing a musical instrument, using better gardening methods, etc. Some had struggled to achieve these goals for a long time but finally have achieved success, and are thus relishing a sweet experience.
  2. Some family relationships improved. Families know one another better as a result of spending more time together and being intentional about doing things that improve relationships, such as praying together, studying the Bible together, eating together, doing household chores together, following and participating in Zoom meetings together, exercising together, and more.
  3. There was a reduction in the incidence of respiratory diseases, with fewer reports of coughing, flu, and related ailments, possibly due to wearing masks, washing/sanitizing hands frequently, and taking extra care in hygiene and health-related matters. Also important was the fact that air was fresher, since the sources of many pollutants, such as industries and travel, were non-operational or functioned at reduced levels.
  4. Some people started and/or completed an educational qualification (degree, diploma, certificate) the study for which they could not have fitted into their schedule during normal times.

Second, face your lions with God. Samson’s victory in facing the lion was through the power of God—facing boldly and resolutely, The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and enabled him to overcome the terrifying beast. Whatever the lion in our path, it is only as strong as we let it be. The one on our side is the empowering one. He has already conquered, and His victory is our victory.

The amazing strength of Samson is not something that he developed on his own. It was by the Spirit of the Lord that he overcame. By the same power we can overcome. God sends His power to enable all of us to face the lions in our lives and turn such encounters into triumphs.

Therefore, claim the courage to face the lion, by knowing Jesus, studying His Word, and claiming His promises. He can us save us from all enemies, including lions. His is always the victory.

Face the lion with prayer, first and foremost. Prayer the key God has given us that will unlock heaven’s treasure house and equip us with all the tools we need for spiritual victory.

Face the lion with God’s Word. We have the assurance, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).

Face the lion, knowing God’s promises. They are the source and basis of victory over every challenge.

Face the lion, aligning yourself with the greatest force you have in your arsenal to fight the enemy. In Christ we have everything we need to sustain us. “For whatever is been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). Ellen White’s counsel is timely: “The history of Samson conveys a lesson for those whose characters are yet unformed, who have not yet entered upon the stage of active life. The youth who enter our schools and colleges will find there every class of mind. If they desire sport and folly, if they seek to shun the good and unite with the evil, they have the opportunity. Sin and righteousness are before them, and they are to choose for themselves. But let them remember that ‘Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.’”3

Hudson Kibuuka (DEd, University of South Africa) is an Editor of Dialogue, and Associate Director of the General Conference Department of Education, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

Recommended Citation

Hudson Kibuuka, "Facing The Lion, Like Samson," Dialogue 35:3 (2023): 3-4.

Notes and references

1. Ellen G. White, Conflict and Courage (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1970), 132.

2. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references in this editorial are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

3. White, Conflict and Courage, 135.

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