Explore the Bible Study: How Do You Respond to Tragedy?

9:27 AM

1 Samuel 30 is the story of two very different responses to tragedy - David's response and that of his soldiers. The focus of this week's Explore the Bible Study is "How Do You Respond to Tragedy?" Consider how you will lead your group to respond to tragedy as David did. He demonstrated to those around him that he was trusting and seeking God. He refused to become bitter and blame others.

You might observe that the approach I have taken to the study this week  is quite different from the original focus. I have expanded the passages to be studied, and adjusted the title and the TARGET to focus on the following:

When circumstances around us are difficult, we have two choices – 
to become bitter or turn to God

The following suggestions and discussion points are designed to focus on this target:

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.

Video Option (Once most of the group has arrived):



Discuss:
  • Why is there so much emotion centered around the homecoming of soldiers?
  • Imagine you are coming home and you learn that your home has been destroyed and your possessions and family have been taken captive. How would you respond?
  • Would you be angry at the military?
  • Would you look for someone to blame?
Discussion Option Without Video (Once most of the group has arrived):
  • Has anyone experienced the homecoming of a loved one who was deployed by the military?
  • Has anyone ever surprised family after coming home from military deployment?
  • Has anyone ever seen videos of soldiers surprising their families after coming home from a deployment?
  • Why is there so much emotion centered around the homecoming of soldiers?
  • Imagine you are coming home and you learn that your home has been destroyed and your possessions and family have been taken away. How would you respond?
  • Would you blame the military?
  • Would you look for someone else to blame?
LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

1 Samuel 30:1-8
  • Identify (Draw two columns on the markerboard, labeling one "David" and the other "Soldiers"): How did David respond to this situation? How did his soldiers respond?
  • Do you find it unusual that those who had followed David for so long thought about stoning him?
  • What does this reveal about their commitment to and trust of David?
  • Why do we turn against a respected leader so quickly just because something bad happens?
  • Why do we look for someone to blame when tragedy strikes?
  • What does our response to tragedy reveal about our character?
  • What does our response to tragedy reveal about our commitment to or trust of God?
  • What does David’s response reveal about his relationship with God?
  • Why didn’t David just respond by defending himself? (He could have argued with the men, made excuses for his decisions, or tried to control the situation with force. Instead David turned to God!)
  • Identify: In what ways did David seek God’s perspective on the situation? (Sought guidance from Abiathar the priest and from God)
  • What two questions did David ask God? (Should I pursue them? Will I overtake them?)
  • Why do you suppose these were the questions David asked?
  • What questions might you have asked God?
Reflect: Which response have you had or might you have if a tragedy of this magnitude strikes your life? Has or will your response be one of bitterness or will you seek strength from the Lord your God?

1 Samuel 30:9-20
  • How do David’s actions reveal his faith in God?
  • Would you have considered it a miracle that David got everything back?
  • How did the people respond to David after the victory? (They allowed him to take the additional possessions – “This is David’s plunder!”)
  • How did God use this to strengthen David’s leadership as the future king?
Emphasize: Responding to tragedy as David did demonstrates to those around us that we are trusting and seeking God. It communicates that we refuse to become bitter and blame others. This response brings glory to God and helps others view us as someone who truly does walk with God.

Reflect: How would you rather have people view you when tragedy strikes – as one who trusted God and acted on His direction or one who became bitter and blamed others? What can you do to prevent the latter from happening?

1 Samuel 30:21-25
  • How does this passage describe those that complained? (corrupt and worthless)
  • Do you think their complaints were legitimate?
  • Why didn’t they want to share the blessings of victory with the 200 who stayed?
  • What did David remind them regarding the blessings from the victory? (The Lord has given it to us; us included the 200 who couldn’t go any further.)
  • What was the wisdom in David’s decision to establish this as a law?
  • What can we learn from David’s response about how we should treat others after we have received a blessing from God?
Emphasize: When people selfishly value their contribution as greater than others' contributions, it leads to division. Division then leads to a lack of unity which eventually leads to conflict. We see this take place in all areas of life – work, church, home.

David knew that he could not let this division fester and create conflict among his people. They needed to be unified.

LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.

Respond: Consider the following situations. Would you respond as David did or as the soldiers did?
  • How would you respond if you were one of the current flood victims in Louisiana?
  • How would you respond if your business had been burned down by rioters?
  • How would you respond if you lost your job?
  • How would you respond if your business was boycotted because of your Christian faith?
  • How would you respond if you lost everything in a tragic accident?
Evaluate:
  • What can you do to prevent responding to tragedy like the soldiers did?
  • What do you need to do in order to gain the wisdom David had in dealing tragedy?
  • How can you help others not respond to tragedy as the soldiers did? Can you be a David to those around you?
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