Choices That Determine Destiny - Lesson 6

By Dudley Chancey

Choosing Wrong-Just Dumb Wrong!

Text: Judges 13-16

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student will recognize the outcomes of bad decisions in others lives.
  2. The student will evaluate a current relationship/friendship and make a decision as to whether or not that relationship/friendship is drawing them closer to GodPreparation: (Some items are for extra work if time allows)
  3. Bible for every student (NIV is used for quotes and handouts in this series)
  4. Copies of student handout
  5. Bible concordances or Bible computer program
  6. Chalk or markers for board work


Chances are you have seen the Superman movies. This great looking, strong guy is out to save the world. Along the way, he meets Lois Lane and falls in love-but he still saves the world-first things first! In the Bible, there was a strong man namedSamson. He was great-looking, and fell in love also. The only problem-he got side-tracked from his mission. He made some dumb choices and eventually paid for those with his life.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (5 minutes)

  1. Prayer time (ask for requests, ask for answered prayers)
  2. Check calendar of events coming up
  3. Connect any students visiting, to individual students and the youth group

Review from Lesson #5: (5 minutes)

  1. Go over the answers to the handouts. Take these up if you are using them for some type of reward (mission trip credit).
  2. Give a one-minute summary of Ruth's choices in last week's lesson.

Learning Experiences: (20 minutes)

  1. Remember the two general points that provide a background for our story (see Lesson #1 for a more detailed description).
    1. First, we will be studying a method of making godly choices in our everyday living
      1. The 4 C's. Consider the choice. Compare our attitudes and actions to God. Commit to God's ways. Count on God's protections and provision.
      2. We are studying principles rather than rules.
    2. Second, we will see how much the people we hangout with influence our lives.
  2. Our Bible case for study today comes from the book of Judges. The lesson today will focus on the providence of God working in the life of a man that is constantly messing up. His ego and flesh get all caught up in his decision-making process. The fact is, God still uses him to deliver his people.
    1. First Dumb Choice-To marry a Philistine woman
      1. For years, God has been telling his people not to marry outside of Israel-not because of race or color, but because God knew that the people outside of Israel would pollute the religious beliefs of his children. In essence,they would lead the Israelites astray (Judges 3:5-6). In intermarrying, Israel not only denied their identity as a distinct and peculiar people of God, but also was further motivated to serve pagan gods. The distinctive lifestyle defined in the Law, which was intended to reveal the moral character of God and to set Israel apart from all other peoples, was abandoned in favor of the immoral lifestyle of the peoples of the land.).
      2. Typically during this time, the parents would be involved in arranging a marriage partner for their children. When Samson's parents ask him why he can't marry an Israelite, he replies,: Get her for me. She's the right one for me."He not only makes a bad choice to marry outside his religion, but he also dishonors his parents. Thus he is breaking one of the Ten Commandments that he probably knew by heart. Still, God uses Samson's desire to have this woman to confront the Philistines.
    2. Second Dumb Choice-picking up a prostitute
      1. Samson is the leader of Israel, and he spends the night with a prostitute and almost gets himself killed (Judges 16:1-3). God uses this incident to display Samson's mighty strength. He sneaks away at midnight taking the gates of the city with him. This might be a good opportunity to talk about being holy, especially in the area of sexuality (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7). God provides a beautiful context to experience sex-he calls it marriage. Not only does Samson make a dumb choice for himself, but he violates another person for his own gain.
    3. Third Dumb Choice-Hanging out with Delilah
      1. In Judges 16:4-20, we meet Delilah. Delilah played a minor role in Samson's life, but her effect was devastating, for she influenced him to betray his special calling from God. Motivated by greed, Delilah used her persistence to wear down Samson. His infatuation with her made Samson a vulnerable target. For all his physical strength, he was no match for her, and he paid a great price forgiving in to her. Delilah is never mentioned again in the Bible. Her unfaithfulness to Samson brought ruin to him and to her people (we don't know for sure, but she probably was a Philistine). Superman always has a good ending in the comic books or in the movies. Even when people find out and use Kryptonite against Superman, he always triumphs in the end-that's how it is in the movies. Samson doesn't make out so good in the end. He looses his pride, his eyes, and his witness for God. Even with all of that, God uses him one more time at the end of his life to punish a group of people that were harassing the Israelites (Judges 16:28-30). The sad story is that Israel had a leader that had supernatural powers-God was with him. Yet, a very scary line is found at the end of Judges 16:20-"But he did not know that the Lord had left him." Samson may have let his power go to his head. Maybe he thought it was all him. He learns a tough lesson near the end of his life. Perhaps he has not been trustingGod at all, but trusting his strength and power.

Applications: (10 minutes)

The point here is that you not only want them to know about the Bible text, but you want them to take action on it. The story of Samson is one of great action. It makes a great Bible story for young children. Think back when you were in little Sunday school. You probably heard of Samson and his great strength and how he delivered God's people from the Philistines. You probably didn't hear much about the bad choices that led up to his early death. What about you? As a Christian, you have the potential to be a "Samson" for God (Phil. 4:13). You can do all things? We'll this probably doesn't mean you can go pick up the city gates and take them up on a hill. But you can be "strong and courageous" for God and his church. God can still use people today to do his will. Is there a time in your life that you can see God's providence working? As we have seen in some of these lessons, God's providence can work whether we make good or bad choices. The key to you living like Jesus wants you to (John 10:10b) is you making good choices.

1. Speaking of rules and standards and choices and lifestyles,have you ever thought about being a Nazarite? (See "More Background" at the end of this lesson). Can you think of another famous Nazarite in the Bible? John the Baptist took the same vows Samson did. Being a Nazarite meant that the person was "set apart," that he was a holy person. When you became a Christian, you too were "set apart." How have you been doing living the day-to-day Christian life? Are you making good choices that would allow people to see that you are holy? In essence, when you were baptized, you made a choice to be holy. You made a choice to live differently. BE HOLY!

2. Using the concordances, look up several Bible verses on some of today's discussion. For example, students could lookup the following: Philistines, Nazaite, riddles, vows, etc. Ask students to discuss the definitions and descriptions of these different words and names and give some of the Bible contexts in which they are used.

3. Get a couple of the Superman movies and show the partswhere Kryptonite is used to make him weak. Compare this tothe life of Samson and what happens to him when he cuts his hair (in essence, when he breaks his Nazarite vow with God).What does Superman have to do to get his strength back?What does Samson have to do to get his strength back?What do you have to do to get your "strength" back whenyou make a bad choice?

4. Restate the objectives for this week, tying them to the story of Samson. Can you see how the bad choices Samson madeaffected not only him, but the people around him? Do youhang around people like Delilah that are constantly bringingyou down? What do you need to do this week to get freefrom people that are a bad influence on you? Who can you ask to hold you accountable for the people you hang out with? You are the only one that can really choose who youhang out with. If you are finding yourself sneaking around tobe with certain people, then you probably should considerhanging out with some other people. Some of you may haveto "sneak" around to be with Christian people. You may be persecuted by your family or others for being a Christian. Be open even to how God can use this time in your life for you to be a light to your family and others for Him.

Assignment: (2 minutes)

  1. Pass out the handouts to take home. Encourage the students to fill in the answers to the questions about Samson sometime during the next week and bring these back to class with them. The "fill in the blanks" section is straight out of the text for today's lesson. This assignment will give students time to "be in the Word." The following may help you next week as you go over the thought questions:
    1. If you could adjust time, and put Samson and the Philistine giant Goliath in a hypothetical WFW match, who would win? See "More Background" about Goliath. Use this question to show students that it really isn't size and physical strength that matter. God used a little shepherd boy to kill Goliath. He didn't need a "Samson." Most students will never be a"Samson" physically. The key is being holy no matter how you look physically.
    2. 4C's. This is not a perfect process, but it is better than nothing, and that is what most students are using to make choices. Take advantage of this and share with students how they can walkthrough this process for every important decision in their lives. How would Samson's life been different if he had of used the 4C's process? Even though God uses Samson in his providence, ask students to think about the many more years he could have been used if he had of made better choices. The point here is that the choices we make today, have an affect on us and others the rest of our lives. While we are so blessed to have the forgiveness of sins, some choices lead to lifetime consequences that affect our usefulness in life and even in the kingdom. You could discuss pre-marital sex, drinking and driving, lying, cheating, etc. here.
  2. Read Joshua 1:6-11; 6:1-27; 24:11-18. The story of Joshua for next week.

Evaluation: (5 minutes)

  1. Ask students to explain the providence of God in Samson's life.
  2. Ask students to name one principle from the lesson today.
  3. (After class) Have an intern or another adult evaluate your teaching. Occasionally, ask some students to blind review the class. Ask questions like, "What was the main goal of the class tonight?" "What really made an impression on you tonight about the lesson?" Further Resources: (You do not have to have these to make these lessons work)More Background Nazirite — see Numbers 6:2-21 (consecrated to God). Paul took the Nazarite vow (Acts 18:18 and Acts 21:23-26). There is mention made in the Bible of only three who were Nazarites for life, Samson,Samuel, and John the Baptist (Judges 13:4-5; 1 Samuel 1:11; Luke1:15). In its ordinary form, however, the Nazarite’s vow lasted only thirty, and at most one hundred, days. This institution was a symbol ofa life devoted to God and separated from all sin, a holy life.Goliath (great) — A famous giant of Gath (1 Samuel 17:4). In 2Samuel 21:19 there is another giant of the same name mentioned as slain by Elhanan. The King James Version interpolates the words "the brother of" Goliath from 1 Chron. 20:5, where this giant is called Lahmi.

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