It seems you are asking: ‘How do we adjust our view of the ‘unchanging God’, during the ups and downs of apostasy and faith in which each generation lives?’ Also, ‘How does this affect our view of our own self in the current state of affairs in which we live?’ If we are at a highpoint how does this reflect on us, what about a low-point or mid-point? This is a very good question.
Some more examples just like the one you mention: At the time of Samson ‘the LORD gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years (Judges 13:1). Samson seems to have been a bit of an inconsistent believer. Sometimes Samson was fighting God’s war. Things were great as ‘the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him’ and when he ‘found a fresh jawbone of a donkey’ and ‘struck 1,000 men’. (Judges 15:14–15). But as Samson represented the highest point of the ‘low period’ of the judges, he also represented it lowest point in parallel with Israel’s Apostasy. We even see that ‘Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her’ (Judges 16:1).
What is going on with this hero Samson? Why is he considered great by God (Hebrews 11:32) but not so great at all? I thin it is clear he is like a David but as he lived in a ‘low point’ of Biblical history his behavior does not fully vindicate his faith. There are low points where a person seems to stand up well like Noah.
Lot on the other hand is another righteous man but made a selfish and sinful choice in seeking out ‘the best portion of the land’ seeking a place in this world. Here he finds himself not only a fairly low point of history but in a ‘low locality’ in an utterly perverse city. How did this righteous man react to his low environment? His soul was ‘greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked’ (2 Peter 2:7). We not have the idea of location. A Christian living in one part of the world may be at a low-point of God’s kingdom and a person living somewhere else may not.
Another kind of low point is an entire dispensation. Christians often understand the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as ‘raising the bar’ as it were both for the level of glory in God’s manifestation on earth and correspondingly a higher expectation on the holiness of those in that era. We can see this even in the Apostles. Before Pentecost they were bungling around, making mistakes everywhere, always misunderstanding, almost pathetic. After Pentecost Peter (who before denied Christ) now ‘standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them’. The ending of his sermon indicates he lived in a ‘low point’ among a ‘crooked generation’ but was suddenly experiencing a step-change towards a ‘high point’ fulfilling a prophecy of Joel and resulting in immediate conversion of many souls:
“Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:14, ESV)
Before the New Testament one could be considered a fairly good and wise believer even with many wives like Solomon. Under the New Testament this is really not the case. In summary, our perspective of God may change based on the overall progression of God’s kingdom, based on our own generation of faithfulness or based on our own locality in which we live.
So what? This knowledge can be applied how? What is important is for us to at least obtain a clue as to where we personally fit into the scene. Some preachers use the story of Acts and create an expectation that only constant perfection is the norm and that the low days are over. There is no longer such a situation where a modern version of Samson, or Lot is to be found. I find this rubbish. If Paul had to rebuke the Apostle Peter on a very serious matters after Pentecost (Galatians 2:11). Even the almost seemingly perfect Paul had a ‘sharp disagreement’ with is good friend Barnabas. The argument was so bad they parted ways.
Barnabas did not agree with Paul in judging the conduct of Mark with such severity; the latter was, besides, his nephew, Col. 4:10. [Ἀνεψιός, consobrinus, Vulg.; relative, de Wette; cousin, Robinson: Meyer.—TR.]. A discussion, conducted with great warmth,—a sharp contention (παροξυσμός)—ensued, and the result was that the two men parted, and took different roads. [“There is little doubt that severe words were spoken on the occasion. It is unwise to be over-anxious to dilute the words of Scripture, and to exempt even Apostles from blame.… We cannot, however, suppose that Paul and Barnabas parted, like enemies, in anger and hatred. (Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Gotthard, V. L., Gerok, C., & Schaeffer, C. F. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Acts (295). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.)
Clearly the idea that we now are among a constant high standard after Acts is implausible, when at the very high point perfection is not to be found. As we progress after the first generation of Christianity we see many, many troubles. I will not even mention all the Apostasy and low times as Christians are so divided on how to interpret the chaos. Needless to say to large division occur among Protestants and Catholics on how to determine what the lows and highs are, and who were the Samsons and who were the Delilahs of church history.
To your question: We must soberly try and evaluate our circumstances and discern where we stand among them. A good gauge on where we are in history is how do we respond to the basic bread-and-butter gospel. If you read history the up-times of the church occurs when people defend original sin, justification by faith and an assurance of salvation by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Love for our neighbor and our enemy, out of a love for God is the drumbeats of morality preached during those times. Does our locality or generation focus on the cross and grace of God? Does our nation? Where do we fit into this? In my own private world I identify with Lot and Samson more than David. I groan inside at what I see. Maybe others are in better surrounding then me. I identify with Luther as a Samson at a low point in history. I think we are approaching a similar point but not that bad yet.