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?
List some of the reasons David had to celebrate? What other emotions does David demonstrate in this chapter? In the psalms? In what ways do you relate to David?
Why does Michal despise her husband? What is David’s response? How might that inform the way we worship? Privately? Corporately? How comfortable does that make you feel?
When was the last time you really felt like celebrating with the Lord? How did you do it? How does our corporate worship incorporate celebration? What have we got to celebrate? How could we do it differently?
Given the fact that we’re approaching Easter, compare David’s nakedness before God with Jesus nakedness on the cross. In what ways are they similar? In what ways are they different?
Compare their triumphs/victories. What promises for David are fulfilled in Jesus? (see chapter 7) What significance to you see in Jesus’ ancestry?
In what ways are feeling called to be like David? In what ways are feeling called to be like Jesus?
David spares Saul’s life (1 Samuel 24:1-22)
You really must read all of 1 & 2 Samuel . . . it’s worth it!
What had gone wrong for Saul? (ref Chp 13 & 15) In what ways had he failed as King? How had Saul come to find himself so vulnerable in the cave? Why was Saul so intent on killing David? What impression do you get of the Saul the man? Saul the King?
If you were David – what would you have done? What contrast are we shown between the two men’s characters? Why does David say he wouldn’t harm Saul? Why is that important?
Have you ever had a plan, which you thought was from God – go wrong? How do you know it’s right to refute someone’s claim to be following God’s plan when you’re convinced it is wrong? If you’ve been called by God to do a job, how might you know when you’ve finished and it’s ok to stop/change?
How does approaching the topic of God’s call on your life change from an Old Testament view to a New Testament view? In what ways are we similar to David? In what ways are we different?
An Idol Bows to God’s Ark
Who’s the most famous Philistine you’ve heard of? Does it surprise you that it’s another 12 chapters before you hear of him? So what is it about the Philistines that make them enemies with Israel? What clues does this passage give you?
What punishment follows?
What fundamental truth is being displayed throughout this whole period of settlement (Joshua & Judges) and this season leading into eventual Kingship in Israel? What is different between the Israelites and the other nations? (refer Isaiah 44:6-24, Exodus:20:3-4)
What convinced you that God is real? What do you say to those who don’t believe there is a God? (Or who believe in other gods?)What evidence can you give them? What difference does believing in God make to your life? How does following Jesus help?
Are you still waiting for proof to believe in God (and Jesus)? What would it take?