The following Bible lesson from the life of Samson was created to teach older students. Students will discover that believers are chosen by God and set apart for His work.
Bible Passage: Judges 13-16
Bible Story Title: Samson-God’s judge chosen before birth
Target Age Group: Ages 10-12 (5-6th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Supply List: Bibles
Learning Goal: Students will learn that believers are chosen by God and set apart for His work.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: Ephesians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”
Bible Lesson: Samson-God’s judge chosen before birth
As we have been studying the Book of Judges we have seen the continuous cycle of God’s people abandoning Him, being punished by God (becoming slaves of the enemy), crying out to God, God delivering and then having ease (peace) in the land. (ABCDE)
Whether in the time of the Judges or today we all are great sinners and need a Great Savior. The Book of Judges is a picture of the ugliness of the sin of God’s people and His faithfulness to deliver them.
God didn’t deliver His people because they deserved to be rescued. He is faithful to His covenant promise to Abraham. He promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and out of this family a Savior would be born. God’s covenant with Abraham was not dependent on the actions and attitudes of Abraham or his descendants. Abraham believed God would do what He said He would do and was made righteous before God for his faith in the deliverance of sin through God’s promised Savior. (Genesis 15, 17)
Samson chosen before birth (Judges 13)
Let’s turn to Judges 13. Read verse 1 “And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.” Where are God’s people on the cycle of Judges we have seen repeatedly in our study? (A-Abandon, B-Bondage)
A man named Manoah and his wife were living in Zorah. Manoah’s wife was barren (Unable to have children). One day the angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife. Let’s read what He said to her in 13:3-6.
What did the angel of the LORD tell her? (Allow responses. Conceive and bear a son, do not drink wine or strong drink, do not eat anything unclean)
Why was she told not to drink wine or eat anything unclean? (The son would be a Nazarite from the womb and he will begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines)
Numbers 6 tells us about the vow of a Nazarite. People could choose to take a Nazarite vow which was a period of time that the person was separated unto the Lord. They could not drink wine or beer; couldn’t eat grapes or raisins, not shave their hair and not go near a dead body during their time of separation.
Read Judges 13:7. A Nazarite was set apart to God for His purposes. In Numbers 6 it talks about a period of time that a person could choose to take the Nazarite vow. How long would Manoah and his wife’s child be a Nazarite to God? (From the womb to the day of his death)
- You and I do not have to take a Nazarite vow to be set apart to God. A believer in Christ is set apart to God to do His work. Let’s turn to Ephesians 1:4. Similar to Samson, a Christian has been chosen by God before the foundation of the world, to be holy (set apart) and blameless before God. Paul wrote in Romans 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” In his letter to the Galatians he wrote, “but when He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace,” 1:15
Manoah and his wife gave birth to a son and named him Samson. Many of you have heard or read Bible stories about Samson. What comes to your mind when his name is mentioned? (Allow responses)
When we read the passages of Scripture about Samson we might find him not really likeable. He seems like a selfish and sinful man. But when we study God’s Word and approach Him with a teachable spirit we can learn new insights from a passage of Scripture. It is important to continue to study God’s Word and pray for Him to teach you each time you read His Word. His Word is alive and when we read His Word with a teachable heart we will learn who God is and our desperate need for Him.
From the life of Samson we are going to look at his life remembering before he was born God set him apart to do His work.
God’s plan to begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines (Judges 14)
When Samson was an adult he told his parents he wanted to marry a Philistine woman. They told him that he should choose a wife from God’s people not from His enemies. (Verse 3) Samson’s parents knew that God Word’s taught about marrying someone who is not one of His people (Deuteronomy 7:3-4). God’s plan was for His people to be set apart from sin so that those who do not believe in the One True God could see His greatness through His people. Through Moses, God gave His people laws and instructions how to live a life set apart for Him. He told them to drive out the enemies living in the land He promised them and not to make any covenants with them or to be married to them. God loves His people and always knows what is best for them. He knew that if His people married His enemies, they would turn their hearts away from Him.
A key phrase about Samson’s desire to marry this Philistine woman is at the end of verse 3. “But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.” As a man who was chosen by God before birth to be set apart for His work, Samson should have been looking for a wife who was right in God’s eyes.
God’s love for His people is greater than we can ever understand. Despite Samson’s rebellion or ours, He will still accomplish His plans through our lives. God was going to use Samson’s choice to begin to destroy the Philistines. (Judges 14:4)
Samson and his parents began their trip to Timnah the place where the woman Samson wanted to marry lived. Samson must have left earlier than his parents and they were following him to Timnah. While on the road to Timnah a young lion came toward Samson roaring. “Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon Samson, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat.” (Judges 14:6) He did not tell his parents about this event.
After Samson and his parents met with the woman he wanted to marry, they returned back to their home. After some days they went back so that Samson could marry the Philistine woman. The lion’s body that Samson killed had a bees nest growing inside. He reached in and took some honey and gave some to his parents and didn’t tell them where he found the honey.
Samson married the woman from Philistine and told a riddle to 30 Philistine men. He said, “If you can answer my riddle by the end of this 7 day feast, I will give you 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes. If you can’t answer the riddle you will have to give me 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes.” Read Samson’s riddle in Judges 14:14.
Three days had passed and the men could not figure out Samson’s riddle. They went to Samson’s wife and told her that she needed to get the answer from him or they would burn her and her father’s house. She wept and cried to Samson because he had not revealed to her the answer to the riddle. He told her on the seventh day. She told the men and they gave Samson the correct answer.
Read Judges 14:19. How many Philistines were killed? (30) God had begun to rescue Israel from the Philistines through Samson.
In chapter 15 we see a glimpse of Samson’s faith in God. Read Judges 15:18-19. What is happening in these verses? (Samson is thirsty, calls upon the Lord, acknowledges He has granted salvation by his hand)
Samson set apart to God unto Death (Chapter 16)
Samson again falls in love with a woman named Delilah who is a Philistine. When the Philistine rulers saw they had an opportunity to destroy Samson they went to Delilah and bribed her to find out how they could overpower him. (16:5)
Three times Delilah asks Samson where he gets his great strength. Three times he misleads her to how he can be overpowered (7 fresh bowstrings, new ropes, weave 7 locks of hair and fasten tight with a pin). Each time she tried the ways he told her there were men waiting to attack him and each time he was not overpowered. Delilah nags Samson every day that he really doesn’t love her or he would tell him where he gets his strength.
As a man who was set apart for the Lord before his birth, what should Samson’s answer be to this question? (Allow responses. His strength is from the Lord. He belongs to God and God fights for Him.)
Read Judges 16:17-20. Samson’s strength was not in his hair. His hair was only a symbol that he was set apart for the Lord according to the Nazarite vow. When his hair was cut, the vow was broken and the Lord’s strength was no longer with him.
(Judges 16:21) Samson was humiliated before God’s enemies. They took away his eyesight, bound him with shackles and made him work in a prison.
Samson was chosen by God before birth to be set apart for Him until his death. While Samson was in prison his hair began to grow.
The Philistines were throwing a great party to worship their false god Dagon for giving them victory over Samson. While celebrating they brought Samson from prison to entertain them. Samson was led by a young man to the place where they were celebrating.
Let’s read Judges 16:26-30. What do you discover about Samson from his prayer (Verse 28)? He acknowledges God, asks Him to remember him and asks for strength one more time to punish the Philistines for his eyes. Looking at Samson from our perspective it appears that Samson is more interested in his own name (let me avenge for my two eyes) and not bringing honor to God’s great name. Even with what appears to be wrong motives God hears and answers Samson’s prayer and allows him to kill more Philistines in his death than while he lived.
God set Samson apart before he was born to do His work. What we have recorded about Samson’s life doesn’t make him an example we should follow. What we do have to remember is that Samson was a man of faith (Heb. 11:32) and God used him for His purposes despite his sins.
Jesus is our perfect deliverer. He came to this earth as the Son of man and lived a perfect sinless life. He came to fulfill God’s plan to rescue all mankind from the punishment of sin. He died on the cross, was buried and rose again the third day. All who believe in Jesus are forgiven for their sins. Believers are set apart for God to do His Work.
God can bring about good from our sin but our daily desire should be to allow Him to work through a life lived for Him. We have the power of His Holy Spirit living inside of us enabling us to live a holy and blameless life. As believers we will sin but we do not have to be overpowered by sin. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
As people set apart for God to do His work let’s remember to ‘lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us’ (Heb. 12:1)
(Close in prayer)
1. Who was ruling over Israel in Judges 13? (Philistines) Why? (They were doing what was evil in God’s sight)
2. Who appeared to Manoah’s wife? (The Angel of the LORD)
3. What was His message? (She would have a son who would be a Nazarite from her womb to death and God would begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines)
4. From our lesson give examples of Samson’s faith in the LORD. (Responses will vary: Called upon the Lord when he was thirsty, asked for strength one last time)
5. Why do you think it is better to allow God to work through our obedience to Him rather than through our sinful choices? (Sin has consequences and believers will be disciplined, God is glorified through a life that reflects a holy and blameless life (a life that repents of sin and does not continue in sin))
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