A Good Example of a Bad Example
I. The Story: Samson as a BAD EXAMPLE. (v.1-20)
A. He ACTS on his TERMS. (v.1,3,7,11; 17:6)
B. The CYCLE of evil and VIOLENCE. (v.3,6-8,9,11)
C. BETRAYAL becomes a CATALYST. (v.11-17)
D. A RELATIONSHIP with GOD? (v.18)
Mark Twain once said that “Everyone serves a valuable purpose, even if its only to be a bad example.” The deeper we dig into the life of Samson the more we see this to be the case. He is being used by God to defeat the Philistines, but one wonders if this could have happened any other way.
- Kid’s Question: When were you angry with someone else and what did you do?
- Who do you know who has some Samson-like qualities (don’t answer out loud,please)? What Samson-like qualities do you see in your own life?
- How does Samson’s prayer in 15:18 strike you? How would you describe hisrelationship with God?
II. WHY this STORY?
A. Is this the RULER we WANT? (v.11,20)
B. Is this the LIFE we LONG for? (Jdg.17:6; v.2,6,8,9-17)
C. It FEELS a little too CURRENT. (v.9-11)
D. Some STORIES cultivate HUNGER. (Ps. 63:1)
When we realize that Samson is a bad example we have to wonder why exactly it made it into the Bible. For that matter why the whole book of Judges. Mistake after mistake, as a whole nations rejects the God who had brought them out of slavery and into the promised land. Why spend a whole book on a story as depressing as this?
4. In what ways is the story of Judges 15 similar to the world we live in today?
5. When you feel that “hunger” or “ache” for a different situation, what do you do with it? Avoid it? Embrace it? Why?
III. The LEADER we LONG for. (Phil. 2:6-11)
A. SURRENDERS Himself to SERVE. (Phil. 2:6-7; Mt. 20:28)
B. BETRAYAL becomes a CATALYST. (Jn 11:49-53; Phil. 2:8)
C. FORGIVENESS breaks the CYCLE. (Lk. 23:34; Phil. 2:9-11)
D. FREELY you have received, freely GIVE. (Matt. 10:8)
Our longings drive us. They propel us toward a different future. We can know the right thing to do, but until it reaches the level of longing, a deep and constant desire, we tend to go the opposite direction. What if instead of running from the ache we feel in our world today we let that ache empower us to run toward Jesus?
6. Which of these characteristics of Jesus do you sense God calling you to emulate in your own life right now?
7. Is there an area in your life where betrayal or hurt could be a catalyst toward something God might want to do?
8. When have you experienced the power of forgiveness to “break the cycle”? Who do you need to forgive?
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”