1 Samuel: Lesson 15 — Mighty To Save

The following are discussion questions from a weekly study I am leading through the book of 1 Samuel.  We meet each Wednesday evening at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

 

Here Comes A King:
A Study of the Book of 1 Samuel

Lesson 15 (Mighty To Save)
1 Samuel 13:16 – 14:23

The Text:

  1. What occupation was missing from Israel?  Why?  How did this impact the Israelites readiness for battle?
     
  2. What were the Philistines doing?  What did Jonathan decide to do?  Who went with him?  Who else knew about this “trip”? 
     
  3. As Jonathan approaches the base of the cliff where the Philistine outpost is, what does he propose to do?  What is his reasoning?  How does his armor-bearer respond?
     
  4. When Jonathan and his armor-bearer show themselves to the Philistines, what do the Philistines say to them?  What had Jonathan decided in advance to do if this is what the Philistines said?  What was the immediate result at the top of the cliff?  What did God do beyond that?  How widespread was it?   
     
  5. What was Saul’s response when he saw the Philistine army in retreat?  When Saul took his men into battle, what did they find?  Who won the victory that day?

   

The Application:

  1. Do you always have everything that you think you need?  Does not having certain “necessary things” keep you from doing what you know God wants?
     
  2. How does knowing people’s lives are being raided by the enemy make you feel?  Who would you trust to go with you to confront a specific “raiding party”?     
     
  3. What does it mean in your life that “Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few”?     
       
  4. What do you do when someone mocks you or ridicules your faith?  Why is it important to decide ahead of time how you will respond to such behavior? 
     
  5. When victories are won, why is it so tempting to look for a person or group to give credit to before we look to God?  When you are rescued from the enemies you face, why is it so important to recognize God as the rescuer regardless of what means He uses to accomplish it?

    

Next week: 1 Samuel 14:24-52
Not Such A Sweet Deal

1 Samuel: Lesson 14 — The Cost Of Impatience

The following are discussion questions from a weekly study I am leading through the book of 1 Samuel.  We meet each Wednesday evening at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

 

Here Comes A King:
A Study of the Book of 1 Samuel

Lesson 14 (The Cost Of Impatience)
1 Samuel 13:1 – 55

The Text:

  1. How old was Saul when he became king?  How long did he serve as king?  Why might that information be included at this point in the story?
     
  2. How many men does Saul select to serve with him?  How does he assign them?  What does he do with the rest of the men that are present?
       
  3. Who is Jonathan?  What does he do?  How does Saul react to this?  How does Saul convey the news?  Is it good news or bad news?
     
  4. What do the Philistines do?  How many of them?  What is the response of the Israelite people?  . . .  Of the Israelite army?   
     
  5. How long does Saul wait for Samuel?  What does Saul do?  Why?  When did Samuel arrive?  What message does Samuel have for Saul?  What did all of this do to the number of men who stayed with Saul?

  

The Application:

  1. When is the best time in life to start something significant?  Is longevity a good measure of something’s success?  Why or why not?
     
  2. Why is it important to have people who will stand with you?  How easy/hard is it for you to share your resources of any kind with someone else?  Are some things easier to share than others?  
         
  3. How likely are you to take the lead in confronting wrong?  What are the possible outcomes of confronting wrong?  What seems to be most common in your experience?  How does knowing that help in future circumstances?    
     
  4. Have you ever taken a public stand for what is right according to God only to have it seem like the world rises up against you because of it?  What has been, or would be, your reaction?  What can be done to remain courageous in the face of opposition?
     
  5. How hard is it for you to wait?  How often do you tend to live by the motto, “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission”?  Why is that dangerous?  How important is obedience to you?  . . . To God?

   

Next week: 1 Samuel 13:16-14:23
Mighty To Save

Follow Me Heart and Soul

I am not a good follower.

That is a hard thing to admit, but it is true.  I have too many questions.  I’ve been described as “needing to have all my ducks in a row” before I act.  I want to calculate all possibilities and be prepared for anything.  I want no surprises that had not been anticipated and thought through.

That is why it is so easy for me to follow God!  Yes, there are times that I have my doubts and can’t see clearly, but I know that nothing catches God by surprise.  I have confidence and faith in His ability to see yesterday, today, and tomorrow with the same degree of clarity.  I have complete trust that if I listen to and obey Him completely, that He has my best interest in mind and each circumstance that I face while in obedience to Him is designed to “prosper not harm” me — even when I don’t see how at the moment.

As I think about this week’s study topic, “God Says I Am An Example”, I have to wonder how I’m doing at instilling that same faith and confidence in others as they watch meDo people see me following God so closely that they wouldn’t hesitate to follow me?  Does my leading show the same love, care, and concern for the welfare of others that God’s leading of me shows?

Monday’s text was taken from 1 Samuel 14 where we find the nation of Israel in dire straights.  Israel’s army consisted of 600 men with two swords between them facing the Philistine army who had been oppressing the Israelites for quite some time.  It is at this time that Jonathan, who has one of the two swords, decides something needs to be done.  The cat and mouse game of being teased and destroyed needed to end.

So, Jonathan makes a decision to go over to the enemy outpost and asks his armor-bearer to go with him — an armor-bearer without a sword!  Jonathan’s reasoning is quite simple and full of faith.  “Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf.  Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”  This is where it gets hard for me.  It’s one thing for Jonathon to trust God and follow His leading.  It is another thing entirely for the armor-bearer to trust Jonathon and follow his leading.  I would be thinking, “Did you say ‘Perhaps!’?”  But that is just what he does.  I think his response says a lot more than first meets the eye.  He says, “Do all that you have in mind.  I am with you heart and soul.”  The outcome is incredible.  The two of them kill twenty of the enemy and it begins a panic that overcomes the entire Philistine army — “a panic sent by God”.  Victory is won because Jonathon follows God and says to his armor-bearer, “Follow me”.

“I am with you heart and soul” speaks deeply into how Jonathon could say, “Follow me,” and get a positive response from his armor-bearer.  The armor-bearer knew that Jonathon’s heart and soul was pursuing God.  God says that you and I are an example to others.  Our life calls out to people, “follow me”.  What kind of response we get often depends on what kind of life we are living.  I must constantly examine myself and see if I am living a life that “heart and soul” belongs to God.  If I am following Him “heart and soul”, then logic would say that someone following me “heart and soul” would actually be following God “heart and soul” because that is what they are seeing in me.

I am an example!  Am I a good example or bad?  That depends on what I am pursuing with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  If that sounds familiar, it should.  God says all of that — all of me — belongs to Him. 

I pray that as you and I live life, our example is pure because it flows from our heart and soul belonging completely to God.