Explore The Bible Study: Choosing Your King

6:08 PM

When we are confronted with the pressures and threats of this world, we have a tendency to look toward someone powerful to help and protect us. We know this all too well as we consider the events of the past few weeks in our country. Those of us who are believers know that no leader, president, general, or monarch provides the protection that only comes from God. He is our King. This week's Explore the Bible study: Choosing Your King (Adjusted from original title) focuses on choosing who we depend on when we are threatened or feeling insecure. With our choice comes consequences or blessings.

TARGET for this week: When we choose who or what will be our king, then we will have to live with the results.

Ideas for Teaching This Week's Study

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.
  • Quiz - How Much Do You Know About George Washington? (See last two pages of the downloadable teaching plan.) 
  • Review: Quiz Answers
  • Discuss (Last Answer, #12): Why did so many want to make George the king of this new country? What would our country look like if we were under the authority of a king instead of under our present form of government: a democracy (one ruled by the people)?
  • Introduce: Our session today focuses on 1 Samuel 8 and what we can learn from the Israelites' demand for an earthly king.
LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

1 Samuel 8:1-5
  • Do you feel their concerns were legitimate based upon their observations of Samuel's sons? (The fact that Samuel was old and that his sons were corrupt was no reason to select a king.)
  • Do you believe they perceived Samuel's sons as a threat to national security?
  • If this was the only reason they were concerned, what other options could have been considered? (Samuel could have relieved his sons of their authority and could have retired from office himself.)
  • Does this sound like a reasonable and logical request based on what the Israelites had observed in other nations?
  • Do you think they sought God before making their request?
  • So what was the REAL reason they wanted a king? (The real reason they wanted a king is given at the end of their petition: they wanted to be like other nations.)
  • Is it easier to trust in a strong leader or in God? Why or why not?
  • (In PSG, p. 46) How does a desire to be like other people impact a person’s values and character? How does that desire cloud a person’s decision making?
  • How does fear of rejection or persecution drive us to try and “blend in” with those around us instead of “stand out” as people who are trusting God?
Transition: God called on Israel to be distinct. In disobedience they chose to be “the same as all the other nations.” They were rejecting God’s lordship in their lives. This concerned, Samuel so he sought the Lord for guidance on how to respond.

1 Samuel 8:6-9
  • Why would God allow this?
  • Why didn’t God just tell them “no”?
  • What did God instruct Samuel to do before he gave them a king?
  • What did the Israelites' desires reveal about all humans? We always tend to abandon God.
  • When we know what the consequences of our choices might be, do we still want what we want? Why or why not?
  • What does this action by God demonstrate about His forbearance? (He is willing to let people choose their own paths, even if their choices are poor and will cause them pain and regret.)
  • What does a believer lose by relying on a human authority more than Christ? 
  • How do we determine when we should rely on a human entity and when we should not? 
  • What kind of consequences should we consider when we turn our faith and dependence away from God and place it in someone else? (PSG, p. 47)
  • What if you knew God was allowing you to get what you requested even though it reflected disobedience and rebellion? How would you respond to the consequences laid out before you? (Be honest – don’t give the “church” answer.)
Transition: Let’s see how the Israelites responded.

1 Samuel 8:19-22
  • The Philistines had been subdued. 1 Samuel 7:13 states that the “Philistines were subdued and did not invade Israel’s territory again.” So why were they worried about needing a king?
  • How do we demonstrate our lack of faith in God as those who judge (guide) us, go out before us, and fight our battles?
  • When the watching world observes our choices to depend on someone other than God, what does this communicate to them?
  • How can we use this story to help us understand our concerns related to our current presidential campaign? (Be careful not to get into politics; the point is that we have to trust in God more than we trust in any man or woman.)
Explain: God gave the Israelites the king they demanded to their own detriment. Sometimes the best answer God can give us is “no” when we ask for something that’s not in our best interest. At other times, God allows us to have what we demand—along with the negative consequences—to teach us that His plan is truly the best path for us.

LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.

Video Option: That's My King Dr. S.M. Lockridge - [OFFICIAL]

  • Is it easier to trust in a strong leader to save and protect us or in God? Why or why not?
  • How willing are you to sacrifice your trust in God in order to be like others?
  • Are you willing to accept the consequences of not trusting God more than others?
  • When we are warned to trust in God more than in others, how do we respond to the message?

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