The Journey - March 13, 2021

1 Samuel

Teacher: Stephen King

  1. In Judges Israel had a confederation governance model with a weak (no) central government. They asked for a stronger federalist government structure with a King (1 Samuel 8:1-9).
    • Given the issues they experienced with a confederation (1 Samuel 11:1,2) under Judges why do you think God favored this governance model? Why did it preserve more of God’s influence in their community?
    • The United States started with a confederation model and found great difficulty in establishing a nation with it so transitioned to a constitutional federalist governance with a stronger central government. Since the founding of America people have argued over the principles of a strong central government (Federalist) vs a stronger States rights governance (Republican).
    • Does God favor one governance structure over another today. How would the Bible inform this discussion?
    • Many evangelicals today believe that God favors the United States and uses it to accomplish his will. Do You?
  2. Reflect on the story of the Ark of God (1 Samuel 4).
    • How does this inform our church today?
    • Do you see organizations and individuals taking the same approach now?
  3. David did not act against Saul when he had the chance (1 Samuel 24:1-7, 1 Samuel 26:1-11). His reasoning was that this was the “Lords Anointed”. God would deal with him in his own way and own time. This did eventually occur (1 Samuel 31).
    • Do you think that there are individuals today that God’s providence brings into leadership positions? This was a position many evangelical Christians advanced in the last presidential term. But what about Abraham Lincoln? Did God have a “hand” in his leadership or was that just how things worked out.
    • Would God influence the selection of a leader today?
  4. We can understand why God allowed the death of Saul. Why do you think he would allow the death of Jonathan who acted so righteously?
    • Dr. Jill Biden commented recently that her faith failed her for quite a while after her son Beau died because she thought he was such a good person that God would heal him.
    • How do you react to her comment?
    • Have you ever thought this?
  5. David had good cause for revenge against Saul when he had the opportunity. He did not choose to do so because he was the “Lords Anointed” but on other occasions he did act in revenge (2 Samuel 1:11-16).
    • Are there times when revenge is appropriate or should we always let God deal with it in his own time? How does acting in retribution affect us?
    • How do Jesus’s statements affect how we should think about forgiveness (Matthew 5:38-42, Matthew 6:14)?
    • Have you ever found it hard to forgive?
    • What and How did you get to forgiveness when it was difficult?
  6. What are the differences between Saul’s sins as a leader and David’s? Can you explain 1 Samuel 15:24-26? Why did God accept David’s repentance and not Saul’s?

Listen to the book of 1 Samuel from BibleGateway: ESV, KJV, MSG, NIV, NKJV

Short Outline of 1 Samuel from Today's English Version

  • Samuel as judge of Israel (1:1 – 7:17)
  • Saul becomes king (8:1 – 10:27)
  • The first years of Saul’s reign (11:1 – 15:35)
  • David and Saul (16:1 – 30:31)
  • The death of Saul and his sons (31:1-13)
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