1. How have you understood God’s will for your life? Has that ever been an item of great concern? Have you seen it as a clearly defined path or as a “choose your own adventure” book with a variety of possibilities? Or maybe something totally different?
2. At the beginning of the chapter, the Israelites ask for a king like the other nations. What were they hoping to gain from this? Verses 1-5
3. God had in mind a different kind of king, a king unlike the surrounding nations. What was to be different about their leader and about them as a people?
4. In verses 10-17, God lays out the consequences of having a king like the surrounding nations. In what ways do you consider the consequences when you approach God with something? Should we spend more time doing this? Or should we just ask?
5. In verse 18, God tells the people that he is not going to rescue them from their poor choice. What do you make of that? Do you have the tendency to blame God when things go poorly in your life and then you have to live with the consequences?
6. There are some striking contrasts between the kind of king the people were going to get and the kind of king that Jesus is. This king was going to be a “taker” and Jesus came to be a “giver”. What are some of those contrasts?
7. The theme in Samuel for how God asks his people to be in relationship with him is to “fear the Lord and serve him with all your heart.” What does that practically look like for you?
1. Icebreaker - What year did you get a VCR? Or were you a BETAMAX person?
2. How would you characterize God’s presence in your life? Is it something existential or is it extremely personal and tangible?
3. Why do you think this is something we desire so deeply?
4. Dr. Daniel Hyde presents a “mind-blowing idea about the God of the bible; he says this:
‘Here is such a mind-blowing idea about the God of the Bible that we have to pause for a moment. The eternal God who is not constrained by the existence of time, the infinite God who is not bound by the constraints of space, the transcendent God who dwells above and beyond all time and space, and the immense God who fills all time and space condescended to the weakness of His people and became manifest for their benefit in one locale. This God is not bound by time, but He bound Himself to the time-bound experience of His people. This God is not bound by space, but He bound Himself to this box. He is above all creational constraints, but He bound Himself to them. He is everywhere, but He was there.”
5. How was the ark being used as a “charm” in these chapters? Were both sides guilty of this?
6. What are some of the things that struck you the most from this long story that goes from chapter 4 to chapter 7?
7. Israel was in need of a mediator. Finally Samuel re-enters the scene in chapter 7 and calls the people to repentance after 20 years of silence. What do you think Israel was thinking during these 20 years?
8. What suddenly changed after 20 years?
9. We are now able to enjoy God’s presence in our lives through the perfect mediator, Jesus Christ. Read Hebrews 10:11-14 and spend some time giving thanks to God for this gift.
1. Do you remember a time when you heard from someone that you hadn’t heard from in a very long time? What was that like?
2. What about God’s word? Has there been a time in your life when you were distancing yourself from God and suddenly you were overcome with His presence and word in your life?
3. Why do you think God allows the biblical narrative to get so bleak before he intervenes and saves and rescues his people? Pastor Jeremy mentioned 10 times this has already happened in the bible and now we are coming to it again with Eli’s family.
4. Amos 8:10-11 speaks about the absence of God's word being like a famine. Read this passage and discuss how this might be currently happening in our culture.
5. In verses 11-18 God speaks - but it is not an easy word to hear. It was a word of judgment that had to be given by a young boy to his father figure. Have you ever found that God’s word is difficult to process or submit to? If so, what did you do about it?
6. Eli submitted to the word of God that was given to him in verses 17-18. What is it that leads to this kind of repentance?
7. Hebrews 1:1-2 is a continuation of this theme of God’s word going out. Read this passage and discuss how God speaks to us now.
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