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In a sense, Samson is perhaps both the strongest and weakest man in the Bible. His incredible physical strength was overshadowed by a lack of willpower and self-control. His story serves as a warning to all. At the same time, God’s dealing with Samson can be a source of encouragement.

1. Samson is often viewed as a man who was ruled by passion and blinded by his infatuation with Delilah.

* Is passion a necessarily evil thing? Doesn’t the Song of Solomon celebrate the passion of romantic love–and if so, is it fair to call passion “folly,” as the title of this lesson does?

* Is there such a thing as love without passion?

* Should marriage be entered into as the result of logic and rationality, or should emotion and passion play a part in one’s decision for marriage?

2. Samson was set aside as a Nazirite from his birth. He seems to have no choice in the matter.

* What did it mean to be a Nazirite? Numbers 6:1-21 should be of help here.

* Does God still set aside people from birth and ordain them for a special work? Is this fair? Do such people have freedom to turn down the task that God has called them to?

* What role should parents have in deciding what their children will do?

* Do we have a modern day equivalent of the Nazirite vow? Should we?

3. Samson was called and equipped for a special work, yet he had spectacular personal failures.

It is also interesting that God still worked through Samson, who ruled/delivered Israel for 20 years.

* How should we respond when especially gifted leaders have moral failures? Do such failures automatically disqualify them from positions of leadership?

* If we notice character flaws and weaknesses in others–even leaders–how might we warn such a person before those defects turn into open sin? Is there a way to confront without condemning?

* Are spiritual leaders especially susceptible to sin? Are they special targets of Satan? If so, should their failures be viewed as less serious since they face more difficult temptations?

4. Samson failed repeatedly and miserably. Yet, in the midst of the agony he had created for himself, there is a note of hope–even a note of grace. Judges 16:21-22 notes that while grinding in prison, the hair on Samson head began to grow.

* What does this reveal about God’s calling and his grace in spite of human failure?

* In Hebrews 11:32, Samson is listed as a hero of faith alongside David, Samuel, and the prophets. How could he be viewed as a hero of faith? What did he do that marked him as a man of faith?

* Is Samson life about human faith or about God’s faithfulness?

5. Samson died by committing suicide, yet, as we noted, Hebrews 11:39 commends him for faith.

* Are there other examples of suicide in the Bible?

* It is easy to see that from the Philistine perspective, Samson might have been remembered as the equivalent as a terrorist suicide bomber. How is Samson’s action different?

* Does the manner of a person’s death indicate their eternal destiny? In other words, if a good person dies in the midst of an evil act, does that final act seal their destiny?

* If a person commits suicide, can we know that they are lost?

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