The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi. The men of Judah asked, "Why have you come to fight us?" "We have come to take Samson prisoner," they answered, "to do to him as he did to us." Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, "Don't you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?" He answered, "I merely did to them what they did to me." They said to him, "We've come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines." Samson said, "Swear to me that you won't kill me yourselves." "Agreed," they answered. "We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you." So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock. As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men. Then Samson said, "With a donkey's jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey's jawbone I have killed a thousand men." (Judg. 15:9-16 NIV)
A Sunday school story? Perhaps. Though I have never heard the lesson explained, "And this, children, is what happens when the Spirit of God comes upon a man." Yet that is clearly the lesson of the passage. Samson becomes a great and terrible warrior when, and only when, the Spirit of God comes upon him. The rest of the time he's just short of an idiot. What does this story tell us about the God who the Spirit is? And it's not just Samson, my friends. "So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon," and Gideon went to war (Judg. 6:34 NASB). "Now the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah," and he went to war (Judg. 11:29 NASB). "And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David," and one of the first things he did was kill Goliath (1 Sam. 16:13 NASB). I repeat my question: What does that tell us about the God who the Spirit is?