1 Samuel 15

  1. Trace the course of Saul’s disobedience – his excuses (verses 20, 21 24) and his self-interest (verse 30).
    Trace also the course of Samuel’s warning (verse 1), denunciation (verses 14, 18, 19), and declaration of divine judgment (verses 22, 23, 26, 28, 29).
    What may we learn here concerning God’s ways and the demands of his service?
  2. From verse 11, and from Samuel’s reply to Saul in verses 22, 23, what do we learn concerning the divine reaction against ritual without obedience, against outward religious observance that masks an inner disobedience?
    Have God’s requirements or his attitude changed?

 Note. Verse 15. The whole points about the sacred ban was that everything must be destroyed; not one thing must be spared or looted. Cf. Josh. 7:1.

 

1 Samuel 14

  1. How was it that Jonathan was so courageous?
    Cf. verse 6 with 2 Chr. 14:11; 1 Sam. 2:9, 10.
  2. What indications do you find of Saul’s impatience, and how did it lead him to hasty and wrong decision?
    Yet what evidence is there that with all his self-will Saul was anxious not to offend the Lord?
    How do you account for this?

Notes

  1. Verse 6. ‘The Lord will act on our behalf’: the Old Testament is full of the God who acts in different ways. Cf. 1 Kgs. 8:32; Jer. 14:7; Ps. 22:30, 31.
  2. Verse 24. Saul’s purpose was probably religious, viz., by fasting in order to obtain God’s favour.

1 Samuel 13

  1. Consider the Israelites’ great danger. Se verses 5, 6. 19-22. In such a situation what ought they to have known to be the one indispensable and sure secret of survival and victory? See 12:14, 15.
  2. What was wrong with Saul’s professed desire to entreat the favour of the Lord, and with the action he took to further it?
    What warning do you take from the irreparable consequences following on one specific sinful act?
    Why does God expose men to such searching tests See Deut. 8:2.

Notes

  1. Verse 1. Some numbers are lacking here. Thirty would in each case suitably fill the gap.
  2. Verse 2. Many years must have elapsed. In 9:2 Saul is described as a ‘young man’. Here his son Jonathan is old enough to command a fighting force.

 

1 Samuel 12

  1. What was the point of Samuel’s historical recital? Unlike the Israelites, do we:
    (a) Remind ourselves constantly of the great things God has done for us, and
    (b) Allow this reminder to have a full effect on our behavior?
  1. What were the outstanding features in Samuel’s character as seen in this chapter?
  2. Summarize the counsels and warning of verses 20-25. Note especially what Samuel says about prayer. Yet, if the people will not turn from their wicked ways, will prayer avail? See verse 25; cf. Jer. 15:1; Ps. 99:6, 8.

1 Samuel 10:17-11:15

  1. How does the story of Saul’s public election demonstrate God’s forbearance?
    See especially 10:19.
    Cf. Pss. 103:14, 15; 78:37-39; Rom. Rom. 2:4.
  2. To what does Scripture attribute Saul’s vigorous action and his success?
    Cf. Acts 1:8. Do these verses come to you as a challenge, or a rebuke?
  3. Consider what noble qualities Saul displays. See 9:21; 10:9, 16b, 22, 27c. Does your life give evidence of a similar work of God?

Note. 11:9. The men of Jabesh Gilead never forgot Saul’s rescue of them from the Ammonites. See 31:11-13.

1 Samuel 9:1-10:16

This passage describes Saul’s private anointing to be king. 10:20-24 describes his public identification by lot as the man of God’s choice. 11:14, 15 describes his public enthronement.

  1. 9:1-14. What encouragement can we take from the fact that the free movements of young men and girls, of donkeys and God’s prophet, are overruled here to bring about God’s purposes?
  2. What three confirmatory signs were given to Saul? How would they give him assurance that Samuel’s words in 10:1 were indeed true? How would this section also show that when God calls, he equips?

Notes

  1. 10:3, 4. It remarkable that the men should give Saul part of the offering that they probably intended to sacrifice at the sanctuary.
  2. 10:8. Cf. 13:8-14. The event of 11:14, 15 is an interlude and not the visit to Gilgal referred to in 10:8.

1 Samuel 7:3-8:22

  1. How does the story of chapter 7 reveal the conditions of victory even on the field of former defeats?
    Have you had some such experience?
  2. Wanting a king was not necessarily wrong (cf. Deut. 17:14, 15), especially in view of the situation described in 8:1-3.
    Why then did God, while granting their request, at the same time rebuke the people for making it?
    Why was the desire to be like ‘all the other nations’ (8:5, 10) wrong?
    Contrast Samuel’s actions with the attitude of the people.

Notes

  1. 7:6. The pouring out of water symbolized separation from sin.
  2. 8:7 The ‘you’ and me’ in the last clauses are emphatic. The people were rejecting God (cf. 10:19), as later Saul did (15:23)
  3. 8:10-18. The behavior described is typical of oriental despots.