Last weekend, Pastor Wayne concluded the Samuel series by unpacking 1 Samuel 15. If you missed the sermon, watch it here.
READ 1 SAMUEL 15
MESSAGE FROM THE LORD
In the first nine verses of this chapter, Saul is given very specific instructions by God through Samuel. These instructions seem harsh, but God was using Saul to address a wrong that had been committed against his people. God did not take this offense lightly. However, Saul did not take God’s command seriously and failed to lead just as Eli, Eli’s sons, and Samuel’s sons had.
- In this passage, we see Saul choosing to do what was customary instead of what God asked him to do. When are you tempted to do what is customary instead of following God’s guidance?
- Why do you think God chose to deal so harshly with the Amalekites for what they had done to his people as they were coming out of Egypt? Why is it so difficult for us to believe that God would deal harshly with those who oppose him?
In the middle section of this chapter, Saul makes excuses for his actions. After Samuel confronted Saul, he tried multiple ways to say that he had obeyed God, and he even attempted to justify his actions by saying he saved the plunder in order to worship God. Samuel’s response was simple: God values your obedience more than your worship, and you rejected him so he has rejected you as king. In verse 24, Saul admitted his wrongdoing and confessed it was fear of his men that drove him to make that decision.
- Have you ever tried to use excuses to justify your disobedience to God? How do you think God views that? What does God desire from us when we realize we are wrong?
- Both obedience and worship are important in our relationship with God. Why do you think God chose to emphasize obedience over worship in this passage?
- How, like Saul, has fear of what others might think or say kept you from following God’s direction for your life?
As the chapter closes, Samuel completes the task God had given to Saul. Not only did he have to complete the work, but he had to have a painful conversation with Saul that completely altered the relationship they had. While Samuel had to reject Saul as king, he also cared deeply for Saul and mourned for him. The reality is that we all have difficult conversations we need to have with people in our lives, and often there are conversations people need to have with us. The key to this is our willingness to do what is right, in a loving way, even if it is uncomfortable.
Last weekend, Pastor Wayne continued the Samuel series by unpacking 1 Samuel Chapter 8. If you missed the sermon, watch it here.
READ 1 SAMUEL 8
In the first three verses of this chapter, we see an old and weary Samuel attempting to hand the reigns of his leadership to his sons, Joel and Abijah. Despite Samuel’s faithfulness to God, his sons chose a path more like the path Eli’s sons (Hophni and Phineas) chose.
- As you reflect on Eli’s and Samuel’s families, who or what comes to mind in your life? How may God be prompting you to pray for that situation today?
- Joel and Abijah put their personal gain before serving the people they were appointed to lead. What should their response have been? What should godly leadership have looked like for them?
When Samuel’s sons failed, the elders of Israel gathered to figure out their next steps. While it was wise for them to reject Samuel’s sons, their request for a king was unwise. God had great plans for them and had been faithful to them despite their lack of faith; yet they still wanted to be like the cultures around them. As Pastor Wayne talked about this weekend, they pursued the wrong source. In our brokenness we often want what the world has instead of being transformed into the image of Christ.
- How do you see this idea at play in your own life? What might God be directing you to address in the way you live and think? What would it look like to change that? What will it mean if you don’t’?
- Samuel’s response to this request was to turn to God and seek his guidance. When you are displeased with life’s circumstances, what does it look like to turn to God? When you see the ungodly motives of others, how should you respond?
LET THEM HAVE IT
God knew that having a king was not best for his people. He knew the people would look to a king to provide for their needs instead of looking to him. He also knew that having a king would mean the government would take from the people. Yet, he let them have a king knowing what it would cost them. Even then, he did not abandon them. He still was the one to appoint their king.
- Have their been times in your life when God gave you what you wanted even when it wasn’t best for you? What did you learn in those times?
- How has God looked out for you, even when you have gone outside his desire for your life?
Last weekend, Pastor Josh continued the Samuel series by unpacking 1 Samuel 7. If you missed the sermon, watch it here.
READ 1 SAMUEL 7
GOD IS FAITHFUL
Pastor Josh talked about God’s faithfulness to his people, and that over and over again God’s people forgot what he had done for them, wandered away, and eventually came to moments of repentance. As we read the Bible and see how God provided for his people, it can be difficult to understand how they could forget. Yet when we look back, we can see moments of God’s provision and faithfulness in our lives, and still we are prone to replace our trust in God with worry, fear, and the idols of our culture.
- As you look back on your life, think about the moments you have seen God show up. Take a minute to make a list of these and to thank God for his faithfulness in your journey.
- Take a moment to reflect on the times in your life when you did not put your trust in God. What circumstances lead to those moments? How would you describe your trust in God’s faithfulness right now? Is there anything in your life that you need to repent of right now?
When the people worshipped God and Samuel cried out before him, God showed up in a major way (verse 8). Pastor Josh talked about Herve’s adoption as a time in his life when he cried out to God. In this situation, God’s response was not instantaneous, but he was still faithful to respond.
- We all have situations, relationships, and circumstances of life we cry out to God for. What circumstances are you currently crying out to God about? Do you believe he will show up? Are there things in your life you should be crying out about that you aren’t? Why not? Take minute to reflect, and if there is something you need to cry out to God about, take time to do that.
As Pastor Josh explained, the final verses of Chapter 7 speak deeply of Samuel’s faithfulness. Year after year, Samuel went to the same four cities and served as a judge. While serving God has moments of extreme fun, often faithful service requires a willingness to do the same things over and over again with joy and excellence. Faithfulness isn’t glamorous, but it is beautiful. As God is faithful to us, we should also be faithful to him.
- How are you serving faithfully? What have you learned about faithfulness as you serve?
- Moving forward, what does faithfulness toward God look like in your life?
If you missed last week’s post, check it out here.
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Last weekend, Pastor Wayne began the Samuel series by unpacking 1 Samuel chapter 3. As he looked at the beginning of Samuel’s life, he noted that Samuel started well despite the complications and complexities of life. As you take time to reflect on what Pastor Wayne shared and prepare for the coming weeks, we thought it would be helpful to have a greater understanding of what is taking place in the overall story of 1 Samuel. To help with that, we have created a resource on RightNow media featuring a video from The Bible Project. Take time this week to utilize this resource and answer the included questions.
CLICK HERE FOR THE BIBLE PROJECT VIDEO & STUDY QUESTIONS
(Note: You’ll need a RightNow Media account to access this video and study. To create your FREE account, click here.)