By Luke Johnson | November 14, 2017
Take some time to see how everyone is doing, and to pray for each other.
READ 1 Samuel 2:1-10
What reasons does Hannah give for her confidence in God’s power to save?
(How does she describe him?)
In Hannah’s prayer, what kinds of things does God do for those who serve him?
Keep this in mind as we read about the two kings Samuel anoints!)
READ 1 Samuel 9:1-2, 15-19, 25-27; 10:1
What are we supposed to notice about Saul? What makes him memorable or impressive?
(son of a “man of standing”; tall and handsome; “Saul” means “desired” in Hebrew)
Have you ever been part of “picking teams” at school? (E.g.., two captains hand-pick players for their teams out of the crowd of hopefuls) Where do you usually fit?
FIRST PICK! // Shudder… Hide me! // Always the captain. // I don’t sports very much.
If you were organizing teams for a game of hockey or football or paintball, what attributes would you look for in teammates as you build your team?
In a “picking teams” scenario, how well do you think Saul would do?
READ 1 Samuel 10:17-27
What pops out to you from this scene? Anything strange / interesting / surprising / funny?
What are they up to? Can you explain the scene in your own words?
The whole nation of Israel has shown up to pick a king, and they’re picking him by ‘divine lot’ -- like choosing a winner by picking a scrap of paper out of a hat, but trusting that God is causing them to choose the right one.
Where’s Saul? Why isn’t he standing with his family? (Hiding! 10:22)
Given what 1 Samuel has told us about Saul already (a head taller than everyone else, handsome, from an important family), do you find it strange that he’s hiding in the baggage?
Have you ever been stressed out by something that others expected of you?
Any idea how the rest of Saul’s reign as king panned out? What do you know about Saul?
Unfortunately, things went downhill pretty fast. Not long after becoming king, Saul and his army were surrounded by a Philistine army. Samuel was on his way to offer a sacrifice to God to seek his help before the battle, but Saul got tired of waiting and offered the sacrifice himself. When Samuel arrived, he rebuked Saul: “You fool! You have not kept the LORD’s command; if you had, he would’ve established your kingdom forever. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people because you have not kept the LORD’s command.” (1 Sam 13:13-14)
READ 1 Samuel 16:1-13
What type of ‘replacement king’ did Samuel seem to expect when he arrived at Bethlehem?
(The last king God selected was tall, handsome, and impressive.) What did he think of Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab? (16:6)
What correction or ‘king-selection guide’ does God give to Samuel? (16:7)
Where is David while the “son parade” is going on? Why isn’t he there? (16:11)
(Did you notice we don’t even get David’s name until the very end of the scene?)
Compare Saul’s and David’s scenes:
They were both absent for their big moment. Why? (What are the circumstances?)
How does the author use their absence to affect how we think about them?
How does David compare to Saul in ‘prestige’ or importance?
(Who has more street cred?)
Who is the more natural choice for “warrior king”? (Tall impressive man vs. boy)
David is nothing like Saul. He’s the runty little brother who gets left with the sheep. In the school yard, he’d be the last pick -- or maybe he wouldn’t be allowed to play at all. But there’s something greater about David: Samuel called him “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam 13:14). God told Samuel, “I don’t look at the things people look at. People look at outward appearance, but I look at the heart” (16:7). This seems to be the way David looks at the world, too. In the very next chapter, David fearlessly faces Goliath because he knows that God’s strength outmatches Goliath’s easily. While Saul’s impressiveness is in his height and good looks, David’s impressiveness is in his ability to trust YHWH.
Jesus is calling to us every day to uproot ourselves from the flimsy, self-focused concerns of our society (becoming important, liked, wealthy…) and to become rooted in his life instead. Are there noisy thoughts in your mind that distract you from responding to Jesus?
1 Samuel 16:1 (to fix the NIV’s syntactical hack job...)
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have provided for myself a king from among his sons.”
Nerd note: The NIV’s translation of 16:1 (“I have chosen one of his sons to be king”) is weak. This phrasing makes it seem like YHWH has merely selected another person to fulfill Israel’s ill-wrought desire for a king. And technically speaking, this translation ignores a word (לִי, LEE, which means, “for myself” or “to me”). A better translation is:
“I have provided for myself a king from among his sons.” God is making a new and better kind of choice -- not just a meager replacement.