Lesson 4: June 25, 2017
Samson’s Call: Judges 13: 1-7, 24-25
Teaching Strategy: Invite participants to share how, in hindsight, they have perceived God at work in their lives, preparing them for and leading them into their current leadership roles. Invite them also to discuss how they perceive God working through the lives of others in today’s world.
The story of Samson in Judges 13 is an example of a birth announcement like others found in Scripture. An angel of God appeared to the wife of Manoah (who had been barren) to tell her that she would bear a son. He would be a lifelong “nazirite,” a designation that imposed certain restrictions upon him, such as not cutting his hair and not drinking wine or alcohol. He was named Samson and the Lord blessed him. The stories about Samson that follow in chapters 13-16 describe a character who is not what one would expect of someone called to deliver Israel (13:5).
People want to believe that their lives have purpose and meaning. Believers have faith that God is present in their lives even before birth. They believe God uses life experiences to prepare them to fulfill God’s divine purposes. Many believers make vows to God and devote themselves to disciplined living, whether by practicing specific spiritual disciplines or regulating specific behaviors.
The story of Samson invites participants to reflect on many aspects of God’s call to us today: its origin even before birth, the demands it makes upon us to live in certain ways, the way its purpose(s) may be hidden in the present and visible only in hindsight, and/or its unpredictability – God often uses those we would least expect. It also invites reflection on where in today’s world God is working to deliver God’s people and God’s creation.
- How did God work through the life of Dwight McKissic, a black Southern Baptist pastor in Texas, to prepare him to fulfill his calling to be a leader at the recent SBC Convention? Here are two of many descriptions of what took place there: In Quick Reversal, Southern Baptists Denounce White Nationalists; and Southern Baptists, Racism, and the Alt-Right: It’s Time to Make This Right, Plain, and Clear.
- How is God calling believers to fulfill God’s purposes of reconciliation in response to the shooting that took place last week in Alexandria, VA, where Republican lawmakers were practicing for a charity baseball game? Here are reflections from leaders in the United Church of Christ: UCC President Condemns Violence Spawned by Political Divide; and Commentary: Love, Reconciliation Among Enemies
- The Creation Justice Ministries and the National Council of Churches recently published a joint statement, CJM and NCC Lament Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement. Where and how is God calling us to work together – as individuals, churches, states, and nations – to save the world that God created and entrusted to us?
Summer 2017 Theme: God’s Urgent Call
Unifying Principle: Preparation for leadership may involve life circumstances not of one’s own choosing. How do we respond when we find ourselves in such circumstances? Even before birth, Samson’s call was assured as shown by the instructions the Lord’s angel gave to his mother.
Posted on: June 19, 2017, by : Sharon Harris-Ewing