I finished my “cool stories from the Bible” kid’s talk series at church this morning with the story of Samson. Before I get onto posting the story there were a heap of cool parallels between Jesus and Samson that I didn’t cover in this story – he’s betrayed by someone close and taken to enemy headquarters for the purpose of mockery before dying to save God’s people. I covered the last bit – but not so much the betrayal/public spectacle. Check it out.
Do you want to grow up with big muscles? I do. Have you ever seen those really big strong warrior guys who have arms so muscled that they look like they could lift just about anything? Do you want to be strong? Well, today’s story is about the world’s strongest man.
His name was Samson. We’ll start this story before he was born. Samson’s mum was old and didn’t think she could have babies. But an angel came to visit Samson’s parents to give them some good news.
The angel told them that they would have a special baby. Who would be set apart for God. This baby was not allowed to cut his hair. And he would grow up to save Israel from their enemies. By being big and strong.
Samson grew up to be big and strong. One day a lion attacked him and he ripped it apart with his bare hands.
One day he went out to fight the Philistines. He tied a fiery torch between the tails of 300 jackals – animals a bit like wild dogs – and sent them running, with their tails tied together into the Philistine’s farms – burning all their food. He was very clever. Then he killed lots of them.
Samson was so cool. He was a bit like Batman. He lived in a cave.
The Philistines didn’t like Samson very much. They got an army together to march to Israel to demand they hand Samson over to them. They wanted to kill him.
So the nation of Israel decided to hand Samson over to the Philistines. They tied him up. But do you know what happens when you tie up a really strong person? They flex their muscles. And the ropes break.
So that’s what Samson did. He was surrounded by Philistines. He broke the ropes. He escaped. But he didn’t have a weapon. So he picked up a donkey jawbone from a nearby skeleton.
And he used it to kill 1,000 Philistines.
Samson got into a bit of a pickle. He trusted a lady Philistine – who wanted to kill him…
He loved this lady Delilah – so eventually he told her his secret. And she betrayed him. The Philistines cut his hair while he was asleep.
Then they captured him and poked out his eyes. And they turned him into a slave.
The Philistines were so excited to have caught Samson they decided to have a party.
They brought Samson up to humiliate him.
Fancy buildings in those days were held up by stone pillars. Samson asked the guards to place him between the pillars so that he could stand up. And he prayed to God to give him strength one more time. His hair was growing back.
Samson prayed to God, and then reached out his hands and placed them on the two pillars. He pushed. And pushed.
He pushed with all his strength and the whole building came down. As he pushed he prayed “let me die with the Philistines”. And he did.
And you know what, Samson was very strong, but he actually wasn’t the world’s strongest man.
Do you know who is? Samson stretched out his arms and died so that other people. God’s enemies. Would die.
Jesus died so that God’s enemies would become God’s friends. So they could live. And he came back from the dead. Samson couldn’t do that. Jesus is the world’s strongest man. His strength is enough to save you, and me, and the whole world. Samson couldn’t do that.
Samson might have been really cool because he lived in a cave – but Jesus is heaps cooler because he came back to life in a cave. And he’s heaps stronger because by doing that he saves the whole wide world – including you, and me.