July 12, 2015 – July 18, 2015
“The Spirit of the Lord began to move him [Samson] at times.” Judges 13:25.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 560–568.
“God’s promise that through Samson He would ‘begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines’ (Judges 13:5) was fulfilled; but how dark and terrible the record of that life which might have been a praise to God and a glory to the nation!” Conflict and Courage, 132.
1 ISRAEL ONCE AGAIN UNDER OPPRESSION
- What did the Israelites do during the times of prosperity and peace after the victories of Gideon and Jephthah? Judges 10:6, 7; 13:1.
- How did the Lord answer their halfhearted cry for deliverance on one of those occasions? Judges 10:13, 14. Would God say the same thing to His people today?
- How were the people of God in those times, and how are His people today, to support the work of reform to gain deliverance from sin and oppression? II Chronicles 7:14.
Note: “When His [God’s] people put away the sins that had shut out His presence, He heard their prayers and at once began to work for them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 558.
“Our first work is to put away sin; but in order to do this, we must come so close to God that we can understand His character and requirements, and thus measure our sinfulness and our need of a Saviour.” The Review and Herald, March 4, 1884.
2 THE CAPTIVITY OF A CHOSEN DELIVERER
- How did God answer the prayers of Israel for deliverance from the Philistine oppression? Judges 13:24, 25.
Note: “Though there was apparently no response [to deliver Israel], though year after year the power of the oppressor continued to rest more heavily upon the land, God’s providence was preparing help for them. Even in the early years of the Philistine oppression a child was born through whom God designed to humble the power of these mighty foes.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 560.
- Instead of consecrating himself to his mission, how did Samson allow Satan to lead him astray and make him a captive of the powers of darkness? Judges 14:1–3.
Note: “Had Samson obeyed the divine commands as faithfully as his parents had done, his would have been a nobler and happier destiny. But association with idolaters corrupted him. The town of Zorah being near the country of the Philistines, Samson came to mingle with them on friendly terms. Thus in his youth intimacies sprang up, the influence of which darkened his whole life. A young woman dwelling in the Philistine town of Timnath engaged Samson’s affections, and he determined to make her his wife.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.
“He did not ask whether he could better glorify God when united with the object of his choice, or whether he was placing himself in a position where he could not fulfill the purpose to be accomplished by his life. To all who seek first to honor Him, God has promised wisdom; but there is no promise to those who are bent upon self-pleasing.
“How many are pursuing the same course as did Samson! How often marriages are formed between the godly and the ungodly, because inclination governs in the selection of husband or wife!” Ibid., 563.
- What did Samson do after he found out that his own bride had betrayed him? What happened after he left the wedding? What happened when Samson’s anger cooled? Judges 14:15–20; 15:1, 2.
3 SAMSON’S LIGHT BECOMES DARKNESS
- Upon hearing that his wife was given to another man, how did Samson exact revenge against the Philistines? Judges 15:4, 5.
- How did Samson avenge the murderous retaliation of the Philistines against his wife and her father? Judges 15:6–8.
Note: “His [Samson’s] revenge, in the wasting of all the fields and vineyards of the Philistines, provoked them to murder her, although their threats had driven her to the deceit with which the trouble began. Samson had already given evidence of his marvelous strength by slaying, singlehanded, a young lion, and by killing thirty of the men of Ashkelon. Now, moved to anger by the barbarous murder of his wife, he attacked the Philistines and smote them ‘with a great slaughter’ (Judges 15:8).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 563, 564.
- Describe the process by which Samson developed a character unfit for his mission of reformatory work. How is his story often repeated by some of those who have been called to be the light of the world? Compare Matthew 6:23 with Galatians 5:9; I John 2:11.
Note: “If we do not choose to give ourselves fully to God then we are in darkness. When we make any reserve we are leaving open a door through which Satan can enter to lead us astray by his temptations. He knows that if he can obscure our vision, so that the eye of faith cannot see God, there will be no barrier against sin.
“The prevalence of a sinful desire shows the delusion of the soul. Every indulgence of that desire strengthens the soul’s aversion to God. In following the path of Satan’s choosing, we are encompassed by the shadows of evil, and every step leads into deeper darkness and increases the blindness of the heart. …
“Through persistently cherishing evil, willfully disregarding the pleadings of divine love, the sinner loses the love for good, the desire for God, the very capacity to receive the light of heaven. The invitation of mercy is still full of love, the light is shining as brightly as when it first dawned upon his soul; but the voice falls on deaf ears, the light on blinded eyes.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 92.
4 “THE PHILISTINES TOOK HIM”
- Despite God’s purpose to deliver Israel through Samson, what action demonstrated the Israelites spiritual degradation? Judges 15:10–13. Who, in many cases and in the first place, are to be blamed when such an estate of affairs exists among God’s people? Isaiah 3:12; Matthew 15:14.
Note: “There are men standing in responsible positions who teach one thing and practice another. While they have been forward to condemn their brethren, their own character is more faulty in the sight of God than the ones they would criticise [sic] and condemn. These men are blind leaders of the blind, and both leaders and those led by them will be ruined unless there is true repentance and heart-felt confession before God.” Special Testimony to the Battle Creek Church, 13.
- After judging Israel for twenty years (Judges 15:20), how did Satan make Samson a slave of the enemies of Israel? Judges 16:1, 4–6, 16–20.
Note: “What a change to him who had been the judge and champion of Israel!—now weak, blind, imprisoned, degraded to the most menial service! Little by little he had violated the conditions of his sacred calling. God had borne long with him; but when he had so yielded himself to the power of sin as to betray his secret, the Lord departed from him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 566.
- Since Samson did not know how to control his eyes (in a spiritual sense, Matthew 5:28, 29), what did God allow the Philistines to do (in a literal sense)? Judges 16:21.
Note: “In suffering and humiliation, a sport for the Philistines, Samson learned more of his own weakness than he had ever known before; and his afflictions led him to repentance. As his hair grew, his power gradually returned; but his enemies, regarding him as a fettered and helpless prisoner, felt no apprehensions.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 566.
5 AMONG THE HEROES OF FAITH
- Why do you think Samson’s name is mentioned among the heroes of faith? Hebrews 11:32; Judges 16:28–30.
- What warning should every Christian heed, especially by those who are directly engaged in the service of the Lord? I Corinthians 10:12.
Note: “God’s providential care had been over Samson, that he might be prepared to accomplish the work which he was called to do. At the very outset of life he was surrounded with favorable conditions for physical strength, intellectual vigor, and moral purity. But under the influence of wicked associates he let go that hold upon God which is man’s only safeguard, and he was swept away by the tide of evil. Those who in the way of duty are brought into trial may be sure that God will preserve them; but if men willfully place themselves under the power of temptation, they will fall, sooner or later.
“The very ones whom God purposes to use as His instruments for a special work, Satan employs his utmost power to lead astray. He attacks us at our weak points, working through defects in the character to gain control of the whole man; and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. But none need be overcome. Man is not left alone to conquer the power of evil by his own feeble efforts. Help is at hand and will be given to every soul who really desires it.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 568.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 When the few faithful worshippers in Israel were pleading for deliverance, whom did God raise from the family of Manoah?
2 What was the first recorded misstep of Samson?
3 How soon did Samson realize that marriage between a believer and an unbeliever, which brings great suffering, is a great mistake?
4 Describe step by step how Samson allowed his light to become darkness.
5 Under what miserable conditions did Samson still find repentance?
© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.