Olympian 5: Samson

Not every Olympian exhibits wisdom.
Meet Polydamas of Skotoussa

  • He was a victor in the 93rd Olympiad in 408 BCE
  • His sport was Pankration (mixture of boxing and wrestling)
  • He once killed a lion with his bare hands on Mount Olympus
  • To prove that he could, one day he went among a herd of cattle and seized the biggest and fiercest bull and held on to its hoof, and because of his strong grip eventually the bull's hoof came off 
In the end however, his strength proved to be his downfall. One day Polydamas was relaxing with his friends and the roof of the cave they were in began to crumble. BELIEVING that his strength could prevent the cave-in, he held his hands up the roof, trying to support it. His friends fled the cave but he died there.

800 years or so earlier, a similar story is found in the book of Judges 14 - 16. 
Samson strength rivaled that of Polydamas, he killed a lion, used a jaw-bone of an ox to kill thousands of Philistines and the exploits go on. But just like Polydamas, he had one weakness. Most people like to assume that Samson's downfall was Delilah but I submit to you that Samson's Achilles heel was his belief in his own strength. 

Check this out.
20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

Samson had told Delilah the secret to his strength and yet he still BELIEVED that he could escape. He had convinced himself that his strength was not as a result of divine blessing but training and skill. Why else would he tell her the secret behind his strength and still expect to escape his bonds. 

The beauty of Samson's story is that before his death he realized that his strength came from God and not man.
28 Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”

The problem with being gifted is pride. It creeps in when you least expect it and settles deep within your being that you start to believe and ultimately convince yourself that your talent and skill is a result of your determination. One aspect of Christ's beauty is evident in His mercy. So the next time pride knocks on the door of your mind remember that ...

An Olympian is one who recognizes that their strength comes from the Lord
An Olympian is one who turns to God when confronted by their mistakes
An Olympian is one who realizes that physical prowess is temporal

Samson is an Olympian