TEXT: Judges 13:1-5,24; 16:18-30
- supplemental scriptures
The students will be able to tell the story of Samson and how God used him.
- memory verse
The Lord will give strength unto his people. — Psalm 29:11
- bible lesson outline
Introduction: Bring to class some articles used for weight lifting, as suggested under In-Class Activities. Talk about how people work out for long hours to develop their muscles and their strength. Tell your class that today's Bible lesson is about a man to whom God gave an exceptional amount of strength—a man by the name of Samson.
- The birth of Samson is foretold with instructions that he would be a Nazarite from birth. Explain that part of being a Nazarite was that the hair would not be cut.
- Samson revealed the secret of his strength to a woman who was an enemy of Israel. She had his hair cut, and the Lord took away his supernatural strength.
- He was captured by the enemy, bound, put in prison, and blinded.
- As his hair grew out, God returned his strength.
Climax: Samson was brought into a great hall filled with people. He prayed, and asked to be led to the pillars of the building. He pulled down the building through the power of God, destroying many of the enemy.
Conclusion: Samson failed God, but the Lord restored his strength, and used this strength to destroy many of the enemies of God.
Response: The students will be able to tell why it is important to use whatever strengths and abilities the Lord has given us for Him.
- background information
Samson was born as a result of a promise of God to a barren couple during that turbulent time of Israel's history between their entrance into the Promised Land and the rule of King Saul. According to the Word of God, he was to be a Nazarite from his birth until his death. A Nazarite was one set apart to God by a vow of abstinence from strong drink and refraining from cutting the hair.
In contrast to the other judges, Samson never rallied the forces of Israel but single-handedly engaged the enemy by his own supernatural strength. As long as he remained a Nazarite he was invincible; however, his physical strength was a striking contrast to his moral weakness.
Although the story of Samson's death is a sad one, it shows Samson's true heroic spirit and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice to honor God. Samson, too, is mentioned as one of God's faithful in Hebrews 11.
- in-class activities
- Show your arm muscles and your hair, as you describe how Samson was weak, then became strong. Relate how his hair grew back after it had been shaved and his strength returned when he prayed to God. A bald sad face and a long-haired happy face could be used (see Patterns).
- Bring some items used for weight lifting. Talk about how people work out for long hours trying to develop their muscles and their strength. Samson hadn't been able to spend a lot of time (in prison) strengthening his muscles. But God gave him strength when he needed it to do something for the Lord.
- Bring a He-Man or Superman doll and/or comic books describing the exploits of super heroes. Explain to your class that these characters are only pretend. Their strength is just make-believe. But Samson's strength was given by God and was real, and his exploits were true happenings.
- Where did Samson get his strength?
- How did he lose his strength?
- Would you like to be strong like Samson was? What would you do if you were?
- Are we happy when we get our way even though someone else gets hurt?
- How do you think Samson felt when he had to grind in the prison house?
- pre-school suggestions
- Focus on the thought that God helped Samson work for Him, and He will help us too. He gave Samson great strength, and He gives us that which we can use too: our mouths, our eyes, our hands, our ears, our feet. Use pictures of children doing things to help others. You might wish to sing together the song, "Two Little Hands to Work for Jesus."
- Trace around each child's hands. Across the top of each sheet of paper write "I Will Use My Hands for _______." Let them paste in a sticker of Jesus. Below, add stickers of a child going to Sunday school, praying, etc.
- Stack blocks and let the children knock them down, comparing your block walls to the walls Samson destroyed. Lightweight blocks can be made from Styrofoam squares or milk cartons cut off and covered with contact paper.
- Make life-sized drawings of your students by having them lie on a large sheet of butcher paper. Draw an outline of their bodies. Have them fill in the features, hair, and clothing to match their own. Before class time prepare signs, as follows, and attach to the chest of each drawing when the children are through. The signs should read something like this: My name is _______. I'm not strong like Samson but even I can work for Jesus.
- review ideas
Focus on developing spiritual muscle. Show weight-lifting equipment, magazine on body building, book on fitness, a jump rope, etc. Talk about what physical exercise does—it makes us strong. God sometimes uses physical strength (as He did in the case of Samson) but all of us can be spiritually strong. Ask students to name ways we can exercise spiritually. List their suggestions or display posters illustrating their ideas.
Illustrate how God adds to our strength little by little, as we read our Bible and pray. Show how one paper can be easily torn, or one toothpick broken in two. (Ask a volunteer to demonstrate these tasks.) But when many pieces of paper are stacked together, or many toothpicks are tied into one group, the unit becomes very strong.