Explore the Bible Study: When Opportunity Knocks (August 21)

6:06 PM

How many of us have been told that we should take advantage of every opportunity that comes along? But, what if what seems to be the perfect opportunity is not what God intended for you to pursue? Just because there is an “open door” does not always mean that it is God’s will. Or, God may have a different reason for the opportunity than the one that seems obvious. Both of these were true for David in 1 Samuel 26 in our Explore the Bible study: When Opportunity Knocks.

I have modified this week's session title and expanded the passages to be studied in order to bring, what I feel, is more focus. Here is the TARGET my session plans will focus on:

Doors of opportunity should be measured against God’s Word and His ways.

I have included a set of PowerPoint visuals you could use as a part of the LOOK UP portion of the study. CLICK to download the PowerPoint visuals.

Below are discussion ideas to incorporate into your study:

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.

Display (In Advance): List the following incomplete statements on a markerboard or tearsheet. As the group enters, ask them to complete each statement with correct word on the right.
  • Seize the ____________________ (day, moment, or opportunity)
  • When God closes a door, He opens a _______________________(window)
  • It seemed like a good ___________________at the time (idea)
Discuss: Do you agree with the following quotes? (Option: See PowerPoint Slides)
  • If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. – Milton Berle
  • Your big opportunity may be right where you are now. – Napoleon Hill
  • If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes; then learn how to do it later! – Richard Branson
LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

1 Samuel 26:1-8
  • What kind of risk did David take by making the decision to go into the camp? What did David’s willingness to go in communicate to his army? (David probably did this out of honorable motives; rather than ask others to do something so dangerous, he would do it himself. He could also make the decisions as to what to do once in Saul’s camp.)
  • If David had not gone with them, what would have probably happened to Saul? What would have been the consequences of such a decision?
  • Would you have interpreted the opportunity any differently than Abishai? 
  • Why did Abishai volunteer to kill Saul for David? Why didn’t he tell David to kill him?
  • How could David have rationalized that Abishai’s solution was a good one? (Wasn’t this a great opportunity to end this conflict and take what God had promised? His men could have quit running and David would be king.)
  • How much strength do you suppose it took for David to not take Abishai’s advice?
  • Would you have caved to Abishai’s insistence that this was the opportunity of a lifetime?
  • Have you ever had people tell you that you had been given an opportunity of a lifetime and should take it? How did you respond?
  • (In PSG, p. 125) What are the dangers of equating an open door with God’s will? How does one know the difference between a true open door and a test disguised as an open door?
1 Samuel 26:9-12
  • What two phrases in verses 9-10 indicate that David knew God’s Word and God’s ways? (“who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” and “the Lord will certainly strike him down”)
  • Since David wasn’t going to kill Saul, what do you suppose his motives were for sneaking into the camp?
  • What was significant about taking his spear and water jug?
  • While we know that David wasn’t going to kill Saul, how do we know God was at work by allowing David and Abishai to enter to camp?
  • Would you agree that God planned on them being in the camp? What lesson was God teaching David through this?
  • What does David’s opportunity demonstrate to us regarding keeping our moral principles firmly in place before we get into a situation where it is easy to compromise? How do we do this?
  • If opportunity leads to compromise of what we know about God’s Word and His ways, is it really “God’s will”? (No.) 
  • Since we know this, then why are we and so many believers tempted to compromise in order to pursue an opportunity?
1 Samuel 26:21- 25
  • Did David show a lack of love and forgiveness when he did not take Saul at his word and go back to him? Why or why not? How would you have responded to Saul’s seemingly repentant heart?
  • Why did David not take the spear back to Saul himself? Does this represent caution, distrust, or wisdom?
  • What can we learn from David’s response regarding how to deal with someone who has constantly rebelled against God and proven himself untrustworthy, yet seemingly has a repentant heart? (We continue to be cautious)
  • Why did David return his spear? What did this communicate to Saul about David’s heart toward him? (It was an emblem of Saul’s royal power; To have kept it would have been to humiliate Saul, and it would have implied that David really was seeking the throne for himself.)
  • What did those watching this drama unfold learn about David? About God? How would this strengthen David’s character as a leader in the future?
  • What did David acknowledge in this passage about God? – “The Lord handed you over to me today.”
  • What can we learn from how David dealt with this opportunity as it relates to responding to someone who seems repentant?
LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.

Reflect: Think about an opportunity you might be facing right now. How can you use this study to help you seek discernment as to whether it is the right opportunity? Ask yourself these questions as you consider the opportunity:
  • Can you say for certain that this opportunity is God’s plan? If not, how can you seek God’s guidance?
  • What do you know about God’s Word that confirms or doesn’t confirm that the opportunity is the right one?
  • What do you know about God’s ways that confirms or doesn’t confirm that the opportunity is the right one?
  • Are you placing selfish ambition ahead of God’s Word and His ways?
  • Are you listening to everyone else’s opinions more than you are seeking God’s wisdom?
  • If the opportunity leads you to compromise God’s Word or His ways, are you strong enough to not listen to those who say, “take it anyway”?
Challenge: What may seem to be great opportunities may turn out to be bad ones, so we need to do more than just look at the opportunity. We need to look at it through the lens of God’s Word and His ways with wisdom that comes from walking with Christ. This is the only way we will know if it is the right opportunity. David acted wisely throughout this story, which prevented blood being spilt that would have violated God’s ways and His plans. He had opportunity to demonstrate to all those watching the kind of character he possessed and his trust in God.


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