1 Samuel 8–15
God’s people wanted a king like the nations around them.
Is anything or anyone greater than God? No, God is greater than everything and everyone.
1 Samuel 8–15
Israel’s First King
This week’s Bible story picks up more than 20 years after the Philistines returned the ark of God to the Israelites. During that time, Israel began to seek God again, and Samuel led them to remove their foreign gods and worship God only.
Samuel had judged Israel throughout his lifetime, but he was getting old. So Samuel made his sons, Joel and Abijah, judges over Israel. But like many sons before them, Joel and Abijah did not follow the example of their father. They disobeyed God and caused problems for Israel. The elders of Israel spoke to Samuel about his sons and demanded a king. All the other nations around them had kings, they pointed out. Samuel knew their desire to imitate the nations around them was sinful, and he prayed to God.
“Give them what they want,” God said. “They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their King.” Samuel explained to the Israelites what rights a king would have over them; he warned them that when they regretted asking for a king—and they would regret it—God would not help them.
The people insisted on having a king, so God chose a man named Saul to be the king. By all appearances, Saul was a good king. He was handsome, taller than most people, and God had blessed him. But Saul failed to obey God. First, Saul sinned by burning offerings in Samuel’s absence. Later, when the Israelites defeated the Amalekites, Saul did not follow God’s instructions for destroying everything. The Lord regretted making Saul king.
Help your kids understand that Saul was not the king the people needed. God intended for a heavenly king to rule over Israel, but the Israelites did not trust God’s plan and wanted a king like the nations around them. God gave them a king, but Saul did not obey God. God had a plan to send His Son, Jesus. King Jesus trusted and obeyed God perfectly and died so sinners could be forgiven and accepted.
- Where was Saul when it was time to introduce him as king? (Hiding among supplies, 1 Sam. 10:22)
- Why did Saul offer a sacrifice before battle? (Saul’s troops were afraid, and Samuel arrived later than Saul expected him to; 1 Sam. 13:7-9)
- What did Samuel say about sacrifices and obedience? (Obedience is better than sacrifices, 1 Sam. 15:22)
- Why do you think God allowed Saul to be king if He knew Saul would disobey? Guide kids to talk
about God’s power to use difficult circumstances for His glory and our good. Discuss what God might have been teaching the people of Israel through Saul’s kingship. Point them to Jesus’ crucifixion, where we see God use the evil actions of people to bring about good.
- What are some ways people reject Jesus as King today? Guide kids to honestly discuss ways people might trust in or be led by things other than Jesus. Remind kids that the Holy Spirit helps us love and obey Jesus.
- What are some ways Jesus proves He is the perfect King? Guide kids to think about what Jesus did for us. Remind them that He chose to die even though we were sinners and enemies of God. (Romans 5:6-10) Discuss Jesus’ place of honor and glory with God the Father, and point kids to the hope we have for the future, when Jesus will return to reign over everything.
God’s people wanted a king like the nations around them. God chose Saul to be king, but Saul was not a good king. Jesus is the perfect King. He loves us. He defeated sin and death for us.