Starting well with children
August 7, 2011 Sunday School Lesson
Judges 13:1-8, 24, 25
Again and again, Israel was found to be evil in the Lord’s eyes, and the thirteenth chapter tells us He had handed them over to suffer at the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
In the third chapter of this book, we were told that God left some people in Israel for the purpose of discipline and to teach succeeding generations how to go to battle.
The Philistines were among those people the Lord left in Israel, and they were not, at least on the surface, an overpowering force. Under the Lord’s control, however, they were powerful enough to subdue Israel.
It was during the four decades of oppression by the Philistines that Samson, the Israelite who subdued the Philistines, was born.
The fact that Samson was from the tribe of Dan is of importance in at least two ways: the tribe was geographically situated closest to the Philistines and would have been most bothered by them, and Samson seems to have a possible role in the fulfillment of prophecy by Jacob in Genesis 49.
The Scriptural account begins by introducing Manoah and his wife, and by telling us this couple was childless. The angel of the Lord, considered to be the Lord Himself, came to the woman and told her she would give birth to a son.
He also told the woman that her son would be a Nazarite, a person devoted to God. Her son, the Lord said, would “deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” Imagine the joy of this woman who has been told she will have a son, that he will be devoted to the Lord and he would lead his people to victory over their oppressors.
The woman told her husband the good news, including what the Lord said about conducting herself during her pregnancy as if she had taken the Nazarite vow. Centuries ago, the Lord stressed to Samson’s mother the importance of good prenatal care, but He also impressed upon her the need to dedicate her child to Him.
Manoah prayed that the Lord would come again, and teach them what they should do for the child. Remember, Samson was not taking the Nazarite vow, but he would be a Nazarite from his birth to his death.
Manoah asked that the Lord would teach them what good they could do for their son.
Parents too often overlook the need to dedicate their children to the Lord. One of the best gifts parents can give to their children is to lead them at every opportunity to have a relationship with the Lord.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church.