What’s your breaking point? We all know what it feels like to be backed into a corner, to have no way out, but what happens in the corner can define us. This week, Saul loses God’s blessing when he doesn’t wait for Samuel to arrive to offer a sacrifice. While it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it reveals a lot about Saul’s character. What drives out actions? Whose lead do we follow when things get tough? (Week 1 of 9)
What is a mistake you would never take back? What is a mistake you wish you could take back?
1 Samuel 13:1-15
Read 1 Samuel 13:1-7.
- This is Saul’s first official campaign after being consecrated as king. Why is this the action he takes? What do you think of it?
Leader’s Note: Samuel annoints Saul because Israel asks for a king. They want a king for two reasons: 1) to be like other people and 2) to be delivered from their enemies.
- What sort of emotions do you think Saul is feeling at this point of the story? Why?
- You are probably not leading soldiers into battle, but you probably have faced stressful situations. How do you tend to react at these times? What emotions do you feel? What practical steps do you take?
- How do you think God responds to you in those moments?
Read 1 Samuel 13:8-15.
- What is Saul hoping to achieve by offering sacrifices? What are the factors motivations him to do them?
Leader’s Note: Verse 11 outlines three reasons: 1) sual was losing men, 2) Samuel was late, and 3) the Philistines were gathering. In short, Saul is impatient, fearful, and is being overcome by his circumstances.
- Why do you think it was important for him to wait for Samuel? Why is he, as king, not allowed to offer sacrifices?
Leader’s Note: This is a harder question that begins tracing out Saul’s arrogacne as king, and his misunderstanding of what godly kingship looks like. In offering sacrifices as king, Saul is imitating Cannanite priest-king (or divine-king) forms. This is not the way Israel’s king was supposed to act. Rather, only those in priestly lines were supposed to offer sacrifices. In short, Saul is taking his destiny into his own hands and supplies his own definition of kingship to do so.
- What does the story indicate Saul should have done? What is better about that way of acting?
- How do pride and people pleasing (fear of others) go hand in hand?
- Have you ever seen yourself emulating Saul’s way of acting in your own life? When? What was happening?
- What can be gained in our lives by learning to trust in God? What does trusting God look like?
GOING Deeper: SAUL’S LAST CHANCE
Read 1 Samuel 1:1-26.
- How is this story connected to the one before?
- What sort of leader does Saul seem like to you? Is it his pride or his fear that is his downfall?
- What do you think the significance of verse 22-23 are for our lives today?