1 Samuel 1.1-2.11 – May 13, 2020

1 Samuel 1:1-2.11

After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull,  an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. (1 Samuel 1:24–28, NIV)

The story of Samuel’s birth is one of desperation, of love, of commitment to God, and one of God’s unfailing love to deliver what is promised, granting what has been asked of him.

Thought Questions:

As you read through the passages today, what emotions do you find? In what ways have you at times identified with each of these emotions in your life?

How willing do you think Hannah was to really believe what Eli promised her? Do you think this would have been easy for her or a challenge? Why do you think this is the case?

How difficult is it for us to turn over the things we have–at time precious, valuable things–to God for his purposes?

1 Samuel 3.1-4.1 – April 13, 2020

1 Samuel 3:1–4:1

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ”
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”
Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.
And Samuel’s word came to all Israel. 
(1 Samuel 3:1–4:1a, NIV)

One of the great leaders of Israel who was called into service in the most unusual manner.

Thought Questions:

How do you think Samuel felt about spending his growing up years in the Temple under the tutelage of Eli?

Describe a time when you were being called by God — even if it was not in an out-loud sort of way — and yet somehow you missed that it was God who was leading you? How did you react when you found out it was God doing the calling?

How can you be sure you are listening for God’s direction and guidance?

You Have Defiled God – May 15, 2019

1 Samuel 17.1-18.4; John 8.21-30; Psalm 111.1-10; Proverbs 15.11

To some, it may have looked like just a giant of a man trying to provoke an army into battle. To David, it looked like his God, the God to whom he was faithful and had been faithful to him, being ridiculed. To some, it may look like no big deal, just a little sin here or there. To others, it looks like complete disobedience to our God and Father. How can we be sure to discern the ways people are defiling God in their actions or inactions toward him?

Questions:

What would it have taken for you to have the faith to stand up against Goliath?

As you read the gospel reading for today, do you think you would have had any understanding as to what Jesus was talking about? Why or why not?

Psalm 111 is an acrostic – each line starts with the successive letter of the alphabet. Write an acrostic of praise, from A to Z, to God.

How do you find reassurance in the fact that God knows the human heart? What fear might it cause you?

I Did Obey, Well Except… – May 14, 2019

1 Samuel 15.1-16.23; John 8.1-20; Psalm 110.1-7; Proverbs 15.8-10

So how many of you parents had a moment of awareness as you read Saul describe to Samuel how well he obeyed. “I did EVERYTHING God asked me to … well, except for this and that and also that … but I still did what he asked!” Why did Saul have such a hard time grasping what obedience to God really looked like?

Questions:

What is your reaction to hearing God say he was sorry he ever made Saul king?

What would you have done if you were in the place of Jesus and someone brought you a woman caught in adultery? Why do you think this is the case?

How would you describe a king or ruler who was a Godly person?

Does it surprise you that God detests the sacrifice of the wicked? What does this tell you about the importance of your heart as you “sacrifice” to him today?

Faithful and Good – May 13, 2019

1 Samuel 14.1-52; John 7.31-53; Psalm 109.1-31; Proverbs 15.5-7

One of the reasons we can have faith in God to act on our behalf is that he is so faithful and good. In Psalm 109, as well as many other instances in scripture, we hear the author “remind” God of his nature. Being faithful and good is core to who God is, so calling out to him for rescue is not at all foreign to God’s being. How does your perception of God need to change in order for you to understand that he is indeed faithful and good?

Questions:

Was Saul being disobedient in not following through with the vow/curse he made about his army not eating, especially with his son Jonathan? Why or why not?

Why do you think the people have such a hard time determining whether Jesus really is the Messiah?

What do you do when God seems silent and aloof?

What have you learned from times of discipline and correction in your life?

Famous – May 12, 2019

1 Samuel 12.1-13.23; John 7.1-30; Psalm 108.1-13; Proverbs 15.4

You really can’t blame Jesus’ brothers for wanting to get Jesus in the limelight more. After all, if Jesus was the savior of the world, wouldn’t he need to be in front of large numbers of the “world” in order to start saving them? Be famous, they say. Makes sense, right? Why is Jesus’ brother’s desire for him to make himself more famous misplaced in today’s story? What do you think would have been a better response on their part?

Questions:

Why is it so easy for us, like Saul, to assume we need to do God’s job for him?

Why do you think Jesus goes ahead and goes to the Festival, but does so in secret?

How do you react to reading that God’s love is higher than the mountains and his faithfulness reaches to the clouds?

When have you used deceit and in doing so, crushed someone’s spirit?

Hiding Out – May 11, 2019

1 Samuel 10.1-11.15; John 6.43-71; Psalm 107.1-43; Proverbs 15.1-3

Why is Saul hiding in the luggage when it comes time for him to be named king? And if you were an Israelite, how much confidence would you place in your new king? Given all of the things Samuel said would happen–and then they did happen–wouldn’t you think Saul would have believed God was with him? What’s going on here?

Questions:

How do you think you would have reacted if someone told you of all kinds of things that would happen to show that God was with you and then those signs actually happened? Do you think you would have put your full confidence in God?

What sayings of Jesus would you consider “hard sayings?”

Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out and tell others about it.

If a gentle answer deflects anger, why do we not answer more gently more often?

Give Them A King – May 10, 2019

1 Samuel 8.9-9.27; John 6.22-42; Psalm 106.32-38; Proverbs 14.34-35

In what may be the most blatant act of disobedience in scripture, the people of Israel come to Samuel and request an earthly king. This hurts Samuel in a couple of ways. First, it is a rejection of Samuel as their leader. Second, and more importantly, it rejects God as their king. God knows this and tells Samuel: It is not you they are rejecting, but me. How bold do you have to be to reject the creator of the universe as your king? In what ways do we continue to ask for an earthly king, rather than allow God to be our king?

Questions:

Even after God warns the people of what a king would do to them, they still request a king. What do you think it would have taken for the people of Israel to pause and reflect on what they were really getting in return?

What does Jesus mean when he says he is the bread of life?

How does God gather his people from among the wicked today?

How might godliness make our nation great today?

Feed These People – May 9, 2019

1 Samuel 5.1-7.17; John 6.1-21; Psalm 106.13-31; Proverbs 14.32-33

Jesus is setting Philip up. He knows there is no way Philip alone can feed all of these people. He actually did not have to resources to feed any of these people, yet Jesus still asks him. With the help of Jesus, however, it could be done. What will it take for you to have faith that you–with the help of Jesus–can accomplish things way beyond what you think you can do?

Questions:

How do you think you would have reacted if you saw the idol of Dagon face down on the floor?

Why does Jesus always tell his followers to not be afraid in the most frightening situations?

Why do we so quickly forget what God has done for us?

How have you seen “disaster” not be a crushing blow to someone? How has their faith proven to be the difference?

Fighting Words – May 8, 2019

1 Samuel 2.22-4.22; John 5.24-47; Psalm 106.1-12; Proverbs 14.30-31

Imagine if someone began to share with you some ideas that ran counter to how you thought and more importantly, what you had been taught your entire life. Would you be distrustful of him? And now imagine that not only was your thinking being called into question, but you were told that the teacher of these original ideas would show you how wrong you were in holding them. Sounds ludicrous, does’t it? Yet Jesus, by bringing Moses into his argument, does just that. Why did the Jewish people have such a hard time believing that Moses was pointing to Jesus as the Messiah?

Questions:

Why do you think Eli refused to fully and appropriately address the issue of sinful behavior by his boys?

How have you seen scripture point to Jesus, especially the Old Testament, which is what Jesus would have been referencing here?

How does God’s everlasting love change how you live your own life?

Why does oppressing the poor insult God, our Maker?