Introduction: There is nothing like a academic discussion of sin. No
need to make the discussion of sin too personal, right? So far in our
lessons this quarter we have discussed the general conflict between
good and evil. Let’s bring it closer to home this week. How is the
conflict between good and evil going in your life? This week we look
at how the battle influences the lives of individuals. Maybe you
will see yourself in some of these stories. Let’s jump in!

  1. Samson

    1. Read Judges 13:1-3. How is life for Manoah? How about life
      for his wife? What is God doing here? (Something amazing
      is underway. In the midst of a lousy life (occupation by
      the enemy, sterility) God enters with a miracle.)

    2. Read Judges 13:4-5. What kind of day is this wife having
      now? (Imagine someone comes to your home, waves a magic
      wand and says, “Your troubles are over! Whatever is
      bothering you, I’ll take care of it.” That is essentially
      what is happening here. The biggest problems in life were
      no doubt enemy occupation and the shame (see Luke 1:25;
      Genesis 30:22-23)of not being able to conceive. The angel
      says he has the solution for both problems.)

    3. Read Judges 13:6-8. What do you think of Manoah? Did God
      just toss the dice in deciding who should be the parents
      of this deliverer? (This is a great guy. He wants to be
      sure he does exactly what God wants him to do. If you read
      on you will see that God sends the angel to Manoah again,
      and Manoah responds in complete faith.)

    4. Their son, the deliverer, is named Samson. We pick up our
      story at the time he is a young man. Read Judges 14:1-4.
      All right parents, would you respond the same as Samson’s

      1. Young people, what do you think about this? Was
        Samson right? Does this prove that even if your
        parents cite the Bible ( Deuteronomy 7:3-4) you could
        still be right because God has made a special
        exception for you?

      2. What do you say, parents, about verse 4? (A number of
        commentators seem to think that Samson was really
        doing God’s will. However, I think Elwell’s
        Evangelical Commentary on the Bible has it right. He
        says, “from the Lord” does not mean “God’s positive,
        moral will.” Rather, “God uses [Samson’s] impiety to
        create an occasion against the Philistines.” Parents
        do what is right when they follow the Bible.)

    5. Chapters 14 and 15 of Judges go on to report that
      Samson’s new Philistine wife betrays him, and then she
      gets killed (not by him). Samson is next found with a
      prostitute ( Judges 16:1) and later with a woman named
      Delilah who also betrays him ( Judges 16:4-17). Let’s pick
      up the story by reading Judges 16:18-21. Where did Samson
      go wrong?

      1. Is the problem that he has huge muscles but a brain
        the size of a cashew?

      2. Is the problem the women in his life?

      3. Is the problem that he thinks he is too smart for
        evil to catch up with him? (You could argue for all
        three, but I think the real problem is that he
        wallows in temptation and evil. He does not flee from
        it, he hangs around it.)

    6. Judges 16:21 tells us that Samson is blinded, and given
      the task an animal would normally perform – moving the
      grind stone. I can see him constantly walking around in
      circles moving the grind stone. Compare what his parents
      had in mind for his life, with where he is now. Is that
      the way sin works in our life?

    7. How did Samson die? (If you do not know the story, read
      Judges 16:23-30.)

      1. Judges 16:30 has a very interesting comment. It says
        Samson killed more Philistines when he died than
        when he lived. Was this God’s plan for his life?

      2. I recently read the statement, “It may be that your
        sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning
        to others.” Was that Samson?

      3. Would you say that Samson was basically a good man
        or basically an evil man?

        1. Who should be more concerned about sin –
          basically good people or basically evil people?
          (The great disappointment of Samson’s life was
          what he could have been. Those of us who want to
          follow God need to be vigilant not to make
          sinful choices — they can ruin our life.)

  2. Elijah

    1. Tell me the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel. (If you are not
      familiar with it, read it in 1 Kings 18:19-39.)

      1. Read 1 Kings 18:21. What is Elijah’s goal in asking
        this question? (He wanted a commitment to the true

      2. What does his question suggest about the lives of the
        people? (That they wanted to dabble in sin and in
        righteousness at the same time. They had a “Samson”
        view of sin.)

      3. Verse 21 ends with “But the people said nothing.”
        What does that tell you? (That they refused to make a


    2. Read 1 Kings 18:38-39. Did the people make a commitment?
      Why? (Because they saw the power of God when Elijah was
      faithful. It was an awesome display of power.)

      1. What is your reaction to a God who is willing to go
        to such lengths to win the allegiance of the people?

    3. Read 1 Kings 19:1-4. How do you explain Elijah’s reaction
      to the words of Jezebel? How could he go from the
      mountain-top experience of single-handedly standing up to
      the prophets of Baal, to wanting to die because he was
      afraid? (Evil continues to challenge even the most
      victorious saints.)

      1. What counsel would you have given to Elijah? (We can
        never look away from God no matter how successful our
        life has been in promoting the gospel. The fact that
        we trusted in God’s power yesterday is no guarantee
        that we will today. Daily, we must turn to God for

  3. David

    1. Read 2 Samuel 11:1. What inconsistency do you see in verse
      1? (It says it was the season “when kings go off to war,”
      but King David did not.)

      1. Would you say that David was an excellent manager
        because he knew how to delegate responsibility?

      2. Would you say that David had a responsibility to
        personally lead his troops?

      3. Is this a management decision on which opinions can
        vary, or is this a matter of sin?

        1. Doesn’t the fact that the troops won show that
          David made the right decision?

    2. Read 2 Samuel 11:2-3. Do you see any problem with walking
      around at night and surveying your kingdom?

      1. Do you see any problem with bathing on your roof-top
        when most other people are sleeping? (I suppose that
        if your name is “Bath”sheba, regular bathing is
        required. Seriously, the name Bathsheba means
        “daughter of an oath.”)

      2. Do you see any problem with David looking long enough
        to see this woman was “very beautiful?”

      3. Was it sin for David to “send someone to find out
        about her?”

    3. Read 2 Samuel 11:4. Was it sin for David to send for
      Bathsheba? Was it sin for David to sleep with her? (While
      the Kings of Israel often had several wives, David had
      been alerted that she was already married.)

      1. What does this show us about the nature of the
        conflict between good and evil in our lives?

      1. If you look back over the series of steps that lead
        to David’s adultery, where would you say that he
        crossed the line into sin?

        1. Where would you say he crossed the line into bad
          judgment? (Verse 1 strongly suggests that David
          crossed the line into bad judgment when he did
          not accompany his troops into battle.)

      2. Do you think anyone just falls into sin on an
        impulse? (Generally sin is a progressive matter. We
        walk into sin by taking steps that are not, in
        themselves, sinful. The question you should always
        ask yourself is not just “Is this sin?” but “In what
        direction am I walking?”)

        1. Is David’s sin a variation on the “Elijah
          problem?” (David had a glorious background of
          faith and triumph over evil. But past victories
          when walking with God do not guarantee you will
          not walk off the path today.)

    1. Read Psalms 51:10. What lesson has David learned about
      sin? (This gets back to my old theme that sin is an

      attitude. Actions are merely the result of sinful
      attitudes. If you want to fight the conflict between good
      and evil in your life, you need to ask God to cleanse your
      attitude: a pure heart and a steadfast spirit. This
      request for a pure heart should be a daily task.)

    2. If you know the story of David, how important is this
      failure in his life? (King David was wounded for the rest
      of his life. Because he lost his moral authority in
      matters of sexual sins, when his son was involved in
      sexual sin he did not discipline him. This lead to murder,
      the alienation of his son Absalom, and at one point the
      loss of David’s kingdom. (2 Samuel 13-15) Many people lost
      their lives as a result of David taking the wrong steps
      towards sexual sin.)

      1. If you are reading this lesson over the Internet, it
        means you have access to the pornography available on
        the Internet. What is the natural result of viewing
        pornography – even “soft porn?”

        1. Are you in the same relative position as David
          looking from his roof-top at Bathsheba bathing?

        2. Have you any reason to believe that you are any
          more righteous than David – the man who was so
          devoted he took on Goliath? Have you any reason
          to believe that your life, the life of your
          wife, your children, and those nearest you, will
          not be permanently damaged because you were

    3. Friend, the lesson from Samson is that we should not hang
      around sin. The lesson from Elijah is that everyone, no
      matter how great a champion for God in the past, must
      daily turn to God for strength. The lesson from David, is
      that sin starts in little things that are not in
      themselves sin. This daily turning to God should be for a
      pure heart, a right attitude. Will you turn to God daily
      for Him to create in you a clean heart and a right spirit?

  1. Next week: Faith Amid Turmoil