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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
1 Samuel 1.1-2.21; John 5.1-23; Psalm 105.37-45; Proverbs 14.28-39
We feel for Hannah. She was a woman who did not have children and was reminded of that fact by her “sister-wife” on a regular basis (who did have children, by the way). Not only that, she is accused by the priest of being drunk while she is praying, of all things. Hannah promises God that she will give a child born to her back to God in a very literal way. For us, this promise may seem somewhat rash, yet aren’t all of us who are parents called to do the same thing? We have our children for a short time and our responsibility is to raise them up in such a way so as to help them follow God. What have you done to give your children back to God?
How do you think Hannah felt about Peninnah? And do you think Peninnah was as big of a jerk as she sounds from our reading?
How much of a reassurance is it for you to hear that God is always working, even on his “days off?”
When has God provided for you even in what felt like the biggest time of wilderness wandering?
How does understanding help someone control his or her temper?