Samson was called to be devoted to God in a unique way. Instead, Samson disobeyed God and his parents, which lead to him being tricked by Delilah and captured by the Philistines. Even though he had done wrong, God still allowed Samson to repent. True repentance brings us back to God!
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
Explain to the kids that after the Israelites settled in the promised land and Joshua died there was nobody to lead them, and they failed to follow God or his law. The people did whatever they thought was right in their own eyes. God called various people to remind the Israelites to follow him and to defend the people against their enemies. These leaders were called ‘judges’. Today’s story is from the book of Judges and is about a judge named Samson.
Briefly explain that Samson was a man who was especially dedicated to God from the time that he was a baby. His parents made a vow that they would never cut his hair, as a sign of his devotion to God. Because of that, God gave him special strength. Samson was super strong and did some amazing things, like killing a lion with his bare hands, and tearing down the gates of a Philistine city and then carrying them to the top of a hill! Most importantly, he was able to fight against the Philistine enemies who were ruling over the Israelites. This was important at that time because the Philistines did not worship God, they did not follow his ways, and they were leading many of the Israelites to follow and worship false gods and idols. That made God really sad. God wanted his people to be devoted to him, not to be lead astray!
Samson Makes Foolish Choices
Props you could use: toilet paper, a costume wig, dark glasses.
Tell the story from Judges 16:4-31
You could have one of the children come up to be Samson as you tell the story. Have the child wear the wig and tie them up with toilet paper to represent the bow-strings and the ropes. Each time, at the appropriate moment, let the child tear through the toilet paper. In the last instance take the wig off the child and put the dark glasses on to represent Samson’s hair being shaved off, and him being blinded by the Philistines.
I suggest using the Beginners Bible to tell the story to the 4-5s. It captures the story well in an age-appropriate way. You could then use the props to review the story afterward.
Samson made some foolish choices which lead to terrible consequences for him and the people around him. God wanted him to be a leader who pointed the people back to God, and instead he himself got mixed up in a relationship that took him away from God. The friendships we make can have a strong influence on our walk with the Lord. It takes wisdom to recognize whether people around us are pointing us to God, or leading us away from him.
The wonderful thing is that In spite of Samson’s foolish mistakes, God still heard his prayers. Isn’t it amazing that God still cares for us, even when we make mistakes?
[Additional for 9-11s] When Samson turned back to God he was still able to serve God, but it cost him his life. Did you know that Jesus was also captured like Samson? Jesus also died fulfilling his mission. The difference is that Jesus wasn’t captured and killed because of anything that he did wrong. Jesus didn’t have to repent the way that Samson did, rather he died to open up the door for us to be forgiven, and to live our lives following God.
When we make mistakes, we know that God still loves us and wants to forgive us. The Bible says that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We see that in Samson’s story, and we know that God is always ready to hear from us and restore us to him.
Prayer: Thank God that we can turn to him at any time to wipe away all our sins. Pray that God would give the children wisdom and courage to be people who point others to Jesus and help others to follow God.
- Where did Samson’s special strength come from?
- Why did Delilah try to trick Samson?
- What did the Philistines do to Samson?
- What did Samson pray in the end?
- Why is it important for us to have friends who point us to Jesus?
This is a game based on the game ‘fruit salad’.
Supplies: Place markers/chairs
How to Play: Have the children sit in a circle with one starting child in the middle of the circle. Mark each child’s spot with a piece of tape if they’re not sitting on chairs. Go around the circle and designate each child as either: ‘Samson’, ‘Delilah’, or ‘Philistine’ (don’t forget to also designate the child in the middle of the circle). You will have multiple of each character. The child in the middle then starts the game by calling out one of the characters.
If the child calls out ‘Samson’, everyone who is that character must get up quickly and change places. Players who are not Samson remain seated. The person who called tries to sit in an empty spot whenever players swap positions.
Whoever is left not sitting in a chair is then the caller. The person in the middle can also call ‘everyone’ so that everyone has to change spots.
Image Credit: Samson and Delilah is a 1630 painting by Anthony van Dyck.