God speaks to Samuel
This is an exciting albeit hair-raising section of the bible. I recommend reading the first couple of chapters to get your bearings (but a good read of Joshua, Judges & Ruth will also help set the scene). It’s worth bearing in mind that whatever happens with Samuel is meant only to be a precursor to the big news of King David who is himself a precursor and archetype for the really big news of God’s Messiah . . . but that’s a little down the track!
What do you notice about the first verse? How is that similar or different to today? Why might there have been so little “hearing from God”? What do you make of Eli’s character? And in comparison with Hannah? (ref chapters 1&2) What is the author trying to demonstrate about character and God’s blessing? How does that sit with your understanding of blessing post-Jesus?
What does Samuel’s early character reveal? What does verse 7 imply? How pleased do you think Samuel was to receive that particular word from the Lord? How did he respond? Did that word come to pass? What comment is made of Samuel?
How does that make you feel about potentially hearing a word from the Lord? How should you approach it? Write down all your thoughts and questions and then compare with 1 Cor 14:1-5. How is that different or the same? How does that make you feel about receiving a word from the Lord? What do you think the Lord is saying? What are you going to do about it?
God Comforts Elijah
Elijah is tired. He feels defeated, scared, and alone. God gives him rest and food and then speaks in a gentle whisper, addressing Elijah’s concerns. God is comforting, and he helps Elijah see that he’s not going to lose, he has nothing to fear, and he’s not alone.
Imagine that you are Elijah in this part of his story…
- How do you feel?
- What do you think about what is going on?
- How would you respond to God?
Think about a time that you felt discouraged…
- What did you or others do to comfort you?
- What does this passage tell us about God?
- What do you think this passage telling you? How will you respond?
God provides for Elijah
What do we know of King Ahab? (Refer 1 Kings 16:29-34) (Compare with the other Kings mentioned previously. Make a note of which ones were good and which were bad. What is the difference between the two groups?) What do you think will happen?
What do you think Elijah’s main task was? Why was it necessary? Why do you think God told Elijah to leave just after he gave the message to Ahab?
How do you think Elijah felt when the raven brought him food? How do you think he felt when the brook dried up? Rate his in confidence in God (out of 10) at that point.
How do you think the Widow felt when Elijah showed up and made his request? How do you think she felt each time she went back to make a new loaf of bread? How does she feel when her son stops breathing? How did Elijah feel? Rate his confidence in God (out of 10) at this point.
How do you think they both felt when the boy came back to life? Rate their confidence in God (out of 10) at this point. What do you think God was up to?
Name some other food miracles from scripture. In each case, what do you think God wants us to learn? Have you ever needed to trust in God for his provision? What happened? Rate your confidence in God (out of 10) then and now.
David is kind to Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9)
What do you know of the relationship between David & Jonathan (King Saul’s son & Mephibosheth’s father)? (Refer esp. 1 Samuel 20, 1 Samuel 31, 2 Samuel 1) Why would you say that relationship developed? What was unusual about it? Why wasn’t Jonathan jealous of David? What risks were involved for both of them?
What did David promise Jonathan? How is that a radical departure from the ways of the world at that time? What normally happened to opponents/rivals of the king?
Why do you think Mephibosheth’s disability is mentioned twice in this passage? How does that add to our picture of David’s character? What does it mean for Mephibosheth to be seated at the King’s table?
(Refer 2 Samuel 7) How do you think the covenant between God and David affected this episode? When you read that Covenant, how do you feel? How it the covenant fulfilled immediately? Eventually? Eternally?
Who does King Jesus “invite to sit at his table”?