BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 3: 1 Samuel 19 with Psalm 59

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Summary 1 Samuel 19:

Since the plan with the Philistines didn’t work, Saul would take matters into his own hands and call for David’s death. He asked his son and attendants to kill David. Jonathan warned David his life was in danger and told him to go into hiding.

Jonathan reasons with his father, Saul, who took an oath not to put David to death. David and Saul’s relationship is mended. Once again, the Philistines attack, and David defeated them again.

Saul once again threw his spear at David. This time, David flees after his wife warns him, and she puts an idol (why does she even have one?) in the bed to be David. When Saul confronts her as to her role in David’s escape, she claims David threatened her life.

David flees to Samuel’s home of Ramah for protection. Saul sends men after David, but God protects David and makes the men prophesy. Eventually, Saul goes to Ramah himself to get David, and God makes him prophesy as well.

Summary of Psalm 59:

David prays to God to protect him from his enemies (in this case, Saul). He’s done no wrong, yet he is attacked. David knows God will go before him and take care of his enemies for His glory. David will praise God always for He is his fortress and refuge.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 12, Day 3: 1 Samuel 19 with Psalm 59:

6) They risked everything, even death, to save David, since Saul has been prodded by an evil spirit who will kill at a moment’s notice.

7) Personal Question. My answer: Every day in small sacrifices that could cause me harm or risk my job or relationships, such as standing up for what I believe, calling people out when they twist God’s words or writing what I believe.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: David’s faith is unshakable. He knows God will take care of him and his enemies and do it all for His glory. He knows God will answer his prayers. He knows he is in God’s hands. David’s faith gives him the strength and courage to go on, fighting for God, when all he probably wants to do is flee and go live a cushy life somewhere.

9) Remembering God and who He is and what He is capable of strengthens us as well as we are facing our own enemies in this world. It will give us the courage to fight another day and strengthen our faith as we allow God to be in charge and lead us in His ways. We walk differently and act differently when we don’t worry, knowing God is in control.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 3: 1 Samuel 19 with Psalm 59:

I like reading David’s thoughts and prayers along with the action of the Old Testament. It’s like a movie or book, having inside knowledge of what the character is thinking. It puts a personal touch to all the battles and jealousy and hiding. David’s life shows us what a life full of hardships looks like and how it can be used by God for good. Very encouraging.

See this great summary video of the book of 1 Samuel HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 12, Day 3: 1 Samuel 19 with Psalm 59:

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1 Samuel 19:

Saul put everyone in a difficult spot, forcing them to choose obedience to a king or obedience to THE KING.

Jonathan loved David, and God made a wonderful bond of friendship between them, sealed by a covenant (1 Samuel 18:1-4). Jonathan knew David was destined to be the next king of Israel, even though Jonathan was officially the crown prince. At the same time, his father and king told him to kill David.

The servants all loved David (1 Samuel 18:5) yet they are commanded by their king to kill David.

Sin is never excused, even when ordered by a higher authority.

We are under authority and commanded to submit to God’s order of authority in many different arenas. There is a Biblical submission from children to their parents, from citizens to their government, from employees to their employers, from Christians to their church leadership, and from wives to their husbands. But in all these relationships, we are never excused from sin because we obeyed an authority that told us to sin. In this case, it would be wrong for Jonathan to obey his father and kill David.

Jonathan stood for what was right AND took action to prevent a wrong by warning David. He did not stand idly by and allow a sin to take place. Putting his own life on the line, Jonathan defended David to his father AND told his father his jealousy is a sin.

Saul’s mind had twisted all the facts from the past and had put David as being selfish about killing Goliath and doing everything for fame instead of for the Lord. Jonathan tells him how it is — something we all need in our lives.

God used Jonathan, but it wasn’t the work of Jonathan. It was the work of the LORD, and Saul recognized this by declaring this oath.

Why did Saul break his oath to not kill David?

  • Saul was in a spiritual battle — a battle he was unprepared for.
  • At the end of 1 Samuel 19:7 there was a truce in the spiritual war involving David and Saul. But whenever we are at a time of cease-fire in the spiritual war, we know the battle will begin again before long.
  • Saul was unprepared to handle temptation, unprepared to handle spiritual attack, and had the opportunity to sin close at hand. Most of us will trip up under those circumstances.

Fun Fact: David never returns to the palace until he is the king of Israel – some 20 years later. From now until the day Saul dies, David lives as a fugitive.

For the second time, Saul breaks his oath (1 Samuel 19:6). not to kill David and sends men after him.

David’s wife, Michal, helps him escape

Michal acts according to the principle of Genesis 2:24Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. The former family loyalties and obligations take a back seat to the loyalty and obligation to the new family.

During this night, when men watched his house and David escaped, he composed a song unto the LORD found in Psalm 59. David sings in times of trouble.

Why does Michal have an idol?

  • The idol was a teraphim, a figurine used as a household idol or as a fertility and good luck charm. In ancient Israel, teraphim were intended as aids in worshipping the true God. The Israelites didn’t think of the teraphim as other gods, but as representing the God of Israel — which Exodus expressly forbids.
  • The teraphim shows the slow deterioration of Israel even during these good times.
  • The idol shows that Michal didn’t have the kind of relationship with God she should have. This weak relationship with God will reveal itself in Michal as the story of David’s life unfolds (2 Samuel 6:16-23).

Saul’s hatred of David shines through

  • Saul wants to kill David himself
  • Saul calls David his enemy. These are the saddest words in this passage.

You can imagine David’s confusion. So what does he do? Flees to safety, reassurance, and support — Samuel.

The word Naioth comes from the Hebrew word for residence. This spoke of Samuel’s home (which may have had “Naioth” title itself), or it may have been some landmark or specific place in Ramah. Whenever Naioth is mentioned, it is associated with Ramah.

Why are the Israelites prophesying?

  • Prophesying doesn’t necessarily mean the Israelites are all seeing the future. The Hebrew word simply has the idea of speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They probably all gave spontaneous and inspired praise to God.
  • This was God’s way of protecting David. This was an unusual work of the Holy Spirit – to come upon men who did not seek after God, who did not long to be filled with the Spirit prophesying.
  • This kept happening. Saul didn’t get the message.

Why did Saul take off his robes?

  • Saul would not humble himself before God, and so God will find a way to humble him.
  • It is unlikely – though possible – that Saul stripped himself bare. The Hebrew word for naked can indicate just stripping down to the undergarments. Saul probably took off all the royal robes that said “prestige” and “royalty,” and laid himself out bare before the LORD in his plain linen undergarments, stripped of all his royalty and glory.
  • A person can be affected by the power of God (resulting in amazing experiences), but not surrendered to the power of God, which results in a changed life. This was Saul.

Saul is among the prophets appeared in  1 Samuel 10:10-12, and it expressed astonishment that someone became a religious enthusiast.

Psalm 59:

This Psalm is about 1 Samuel 19:11-12, which was when the murderous intent of King Saul against David was openly revealed, and David began his time living as a fugitive and in hiding.

David faced many perils and enemies and many of his Psalms begin with this thought. This is common and to be expected when you lead a Godly-life. The man after God’s heart, Israel’s greatest earthly king, had many enemies — as did the Son of David.

Through this Psalm David declared his close and personal connection with God:

Praying for deliverance

Defend me is an ancient Hebrew word, meaning to lift up, as into a safe and defended place. It says, “Lift me up to Your high tower where I am even higher above those who rise up against me.” This idea is repeated three more times in the Psalm (59:9, 16, 17).

The word protect (defend 59:1) like the kindred word ‘fortress’ (defense) (59:9, 16, 17), contains the thought of what is set high up, out of reach.

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Like the best movies of today, David was the target of a focused assassination plot that came from the highest levels of Israel’s government. Many felt they could advance their favor before King Saul by killing David. Knowing the danger, David looked to God for rescue and defense.

David looked to God for help. He didn’t make a claim to sinless perfection. He simply told God there was no justified reason for Saul to send bloodthirsty assassins against him.

Appealing to God

David appealed to God with a variety of His names and titles:

  • Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel (LORD)
  • Elohim Sabaoth, the commander of heavenly armies (God of hosts)
  • Elohi Israel, the God of His chosen people (God of Israel)

The men sent to watch David’s house and kill him were determined. They didn’t give up quickly, and they growled like dangerous dogs.

One bible commentator explains growl: “There is some uncertainty over the word growl, which is the expression used for the Israelites’ ‘murmuring’ — one might almost say ‘whining’ in the wilderness.”

The word belch: ‘Belch’ means to gush out, and is found in a good sense in Psalms 19:1. Here it may perhaps be taken as meaning ‘foam,’. The root idea is of bubbling up and bursting out; so in terms of dogs, ‘See how they slaver at the mouth’.

All who opposed God would be held in derision.

The word defense has the idea of a high tower or fortress. David believed that God was like a strong, high tower for him. It seemed impossible for David to survive against such a powerful conspiracy against him, but God would be his defense, his high tower.

This verse reminds me of the song Strong Tower by Kutless.

My God of mercy. David knew that God would be merciful to him and that God would meet him, even lead him, in his need.

“The word meet (59:10a) is based on the idea of what is ‘in front’ of someone, usually in the sense of confronting them by coming to meet them, as in the beautiful phrase of Psalm 21:13. But it can alternatively imply going in front to lead the way.”

Three titles for God:

  1. My God of mercy
  2. My defense (high tower)
  3. Strength

Spurgeon on “My desire”:  “Observe that the words, ‘my desire,‘ are not in the original. From the Hebrew we are taught that David expected to see his enemies without fear. God will enable his servant to gaze steadily upon the foe without trepidation; he shall be calm, and self possessed, in the hour of peril.” (Spurgeon)

Lessons from praying about defeating enemies

  • David didn’t only want the defeat of his enemies. He wanted them defeated in a way that would do the most good for God’s people. If those enemies were kept alive but scattered, the lesson would last longer.
  • Whenever David prayed for the destruction of his enemies (and sometimes he prayed quite severely), he had in mind not only his personal deliverance, but also what the display of Divine justice would teach God’s people.

David repeated the prayer consume them twice for emphasis.

Let them know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth: These words are very similar to what David said to Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:46.

The line from Psalm 59:6 is repeated for emphasis.

Wandering the streets is like hungry dogs do, looking for food.

David’s heart was filled with songs of praise instead of dark fears. He started the Psalm asking God for His defense (Psalm 59:1); at the end of the Psalm, he was so confident in God that he could sing about it.

David’s life as a fugitive begins

For the next perhaps 10 to 15 years (and the rest of the book of 1 Samuel), David had to live as a fugitive, constantly in danger of his life. It’s interesting to note that David entered the period singing praises and was still singing praises at the end of his fugitive years (2 Samuel 1:17-27).

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35

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1 Samuel 16:1-13:

God speaks to Samuel and sends him off to Bethlehem, where God has chosen one of Jesse’s sons to be king. He needs Samuel to anoint the new king. Samuel is afraid Saul will get wind of this and kill him. God tells him to take a heifer as sacrifice.

Samuel obeyed. The elders were afraid upon seeing Samuel. Samuel invited Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice and told them to consecrate themselves. Looking at the heart of man, God chooses Jesse’s youngest son, David, who was attending the sheep at the time. Samuel anoints him in front of the family and then returns to Ramah.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35

3) Part personal Question. My answer: God gives Samuel encouragement by having him anoint the new king, which is always exciting news! He also tells Samuel not to worry about his life being threatened by Saul as He has a plan. When God tells you to do something, He will take care of all loose ends. All you have to do is obey. Let God do the rest and don’t worry about the logistics of it all.

4) Part personal Question. My answer: God tells Samuel “Do not consider appearance or height…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Appearances are deceiving and we have to look at the person underneath and what heart they have, not the physical appearance.

5) Personal question. My answer: God values the heart. God knows the secrets of the heart. You can’t hide from God. I value how I treat others and who I am as a person as a whole. Man’s nature is to judge by appearances. It’s really hard for first impressions, but if you consciously focus on it, you can see the heart of people. I think most of us get this beyond first impressions.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35:

We see how we’re supposed to see people, and we see the comfort of God with Samuel. Great stuff!

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35

1 Samuel 16:1-13:

Jesse was the grandson of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 4:1722).

Samuel was committing treason by anointing another king. His first response is fear, as is most of ours. God overcomes all.

God ruled Israel whether they acknowledged Him or not. They faced a choice: submit to God and enjoy the benefits or resist God and suffer. The choice of Israel didn’t affect the outcome of God’s plans for them; it only made life easy or hard.

Today as we face uncertainty in politics, we don’t have to worry. God raises up leaders, probably in an unlikely place such as with David.

This is God’s king (“for me”). The people had had theirs (Saul).

Bethlehem was a small town not very far from Jerusalem. It was the home of Ruth and Boaz, from whom the family of Jesse descended. It was a hilly grain-growing region with many small grain fields carved into the hillsides. And, as we all know, Bethlehem hosted the birth of Jesus.

The elders had just experienced the death of the Amalekite king, Agag (1 Samuel 15:33), at the hands of Samuel. Thsi is why they are afraid.

The idea was not that Jesse and his sons were to just watch Samuel sacrifice this heifer. They would watch the sacrifice and then share in a large ceremonial meal, eating the meat that came from the sacrificed animal.

What’s the difference between a peace offering and an atonement offering?

  • When an animal was sacrificed to atone for sin, none of it was eaten. It was all burned before the LORD. But when an animal was sacrificed as a peace offering, a fellowship offering, or a consecration offering, then part of the animal was burnt before the LORD, and part of it was eaten in a special ceremonial meal.

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Samuel made the mistake of judging Eliab based on his appearance. This was the same mistake Israel made with Saul. He looked the part but lacked God’s heart.

Why was David not invited to the feast?

Tending the sheep was not a glamorous job and was usually a servant’s job. As the youngest, it fell to David to do so. The family must have been poor since they had no servants to do this work. David must not have been favored at all in his family. The youngest son stood to inherit no land in ancient Israel, so he was unimportant.

  1. His father didn’t even mention him by name.
  2. He wasn’t even invited to the sacrificial feast.
  3. He was only called to come because Samuel insisted on it.

I wonder if this was due in some part to jealousy like Joseph. David was obviously special in some way; family is usually not blind to this.

God often chooses unlikely people to do His work, so that all know the work is God’s work, not man’s work.

A shepherd’s work

  • As a shepherd, you had a lot of time to think and contemplate God’s greatness such as David did in (Psalm 19:1-4 and Psalm 8.
  • Sheep needed care and tending. God built in David the heart that would sing about the LORD as his shepherd (as in Psalm 23).
  • Sheep needed protecting. God protected David.
  • David was a great man and a great king over Israel because he never lost his shepherd’s heart. Psalm 78:70-72 speaks of the connection between David the king and David the shepherd: He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

The physical description of David tells us he had a fair complexion (ruddy), and a light complexion was considered attractive in that culture. He had bright eyes, which speak of vitality and intelligence. David was also good-looking.

We don’t know how old David was at this time, but scholars estimate anywhere between 10 and 15 years old.

What do we learn from God’s choice of David as King of Israel?

God’s choice of David shows that we don’t have to quit our jobs and enter into full-time ministry to be people after God’s own heart. We don’t need to be famous or prominent to be people after God’s own heart. We don’t need to be respected or even liked by others to be people after God’s own heart. We don’t need status, influence, power, the respect or approval of men, or great responsibilities to be people after God’s own heart.

Where did David get his heart?

Where did David get this heart? From time spent with the LORD. But someone started him on that path. David says nothing of his father, but twice in the Psalms he refers to his mother as a maid servant of the LORD (Psalm 86:16 and 116:16). Probably, it was David’s godly mother who poured her heart and love and devotion of the LORD into him and gave him a foundation to build on in his own walk with the LORD. Like Timothy, God used David’s mother to pour into him a godly faith (2 Timothy 1:5).

Probably no one thought much of this anointing. They probably didn’t think it was a royal anointing. The real anointing was the Holy Spirit upon David.

Fun Fact:  1 Samuel 16:13 is the first mention of the name “David” in the book of 1 Samuel. He has been referred to prophetically before (as in 1 Samuel 13:14 and 15:28). But this is the first mention of his name, which means “Beloved” or “Loved One.”

Fun Fact: David will become one of the greatest men of the Bible, mentioned more than 1,000 times in the pages of Scripture – more than Abraham, more than Moses, more than any man in the New Testament. It’s no accident that Jesus wasn’t known as the “Son of Abraham” or the “Follower of Moses,” but as the Son of David (Matthew 9:27 and at least a dozen other places).

Bible Scholar Meyer on David: “From whatever side we view the life of David, it is remarkable. It may be that Abraham excelled him in faith, and Moses in the power of concentrated fellowship with God, and Elijah in the fiery force of his enthusiasm. But none of these was so many-sided as the richly gifted son of Jesse.”

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15

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Summary 1 Samuel 14:

Jonathan decides to attack the Philistines single-handedly with just his armor-bearer by his side. They both climbed up a cliff to where the Philistines were who told Jonathan to come to them. They took Jonathan’s approach as all of the Israelites were crawling out of their holes. They killed 20 Philistines.

Image result for 1 samuel 14The Lord struck confusion on the Philistines in their camp. Saul saw this and rallied his men to join in the attack. All the Israelites who had hidden came out to help in the battle when they heard what was happening. The Lord rescued the Israelites.

Saul had cursed his army not to eat, all of whom were ravished and hungry. Jonathan eats honey he finds, not knowing about his father’s curse. When he is told of his father’s curse, he ignores it. The men slaughtered the animals of the Philistines and ate all of it, including the blood, because they were so hungry. Saul sacrificed to the Lord and then wanted to kill his own son for eating honey, but the men saved Jonathan, saying he was the one who defeated the Philistines.

Saul continues conquests against the surrounding peoples and enemies of Israel.

Summary 1 Saul 15:

God orders Saul to punish the Amalekites for unprovoked attacks when the Israelites were leaving Egypt (Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19) and totally destroy them. Saul did not obey the Lord. He did not destroy everything, keeping the best of the plunder.

God is grieved by Saul’s misbehavior who has since set up a monument to himself. Saul claims the good plunder is to be sacrificed to the Lord. Samuel says obedience is better than sacrifices. He informs Saul God has rejected him as king. Only then does Saul admit he sinned, and Saul begs to be forgiven.

Saul says God does not change His mind. Samuel is the one to put the king of the Amalekites to death. Samuel returns home to Ramah, grieved over Saul.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

13) Personal Question. My answer: It encourages and inspires me that I can make a difference at just one person in this world. We all make a difference every day — I just think we don’t acknowledge it. I like how Jonathan is the wisdom here, eating honey and saying how his father is an idiot for that curse. Jonathan also is inspiring to see how he relies on God and bucks the trends when God says to do so.

14) Saul basically lets others do the hard work, and then he swoops in to claim all the credit. He waits until things are going his way to act. To me, he’s weak-willed and only a leader in good times, not bad.

15) Part personal Question. My answer: Saul claims he was saving the best of the best to sacrifice to God, and he says how he was afraid of the people so he gave in (he blamed others essentially). We do the same thing: blame others for our actions. We procrastinate, saying now is not the right time. Or we say let someone else do it.

16) Personal Question. My answer: God wants total obedience. Even if we think we’re doing something for good and God says otherwise, follow God. He has his reasons for asking us to do things and we, not being omniscient, just need to obey. We can’t assume we know better than God. It’s easier just to follow God anyways. It takes all the decision making out of the equation.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

Following God is easier than you think: you just do it. I love these chapters. You see Jonathan taking matters into his own hands with God and you see Saul taking matters into his own hands against God. The results? Saul is rejected. Jonathan is saved. Nothing says it better.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

1 Samuel 14:

The armor bearer was just that — bearing the armor of the officer he served. He as like the squires of the Middle Ages–the person assigned to help the officer do his duty.

There are many stories in the bible where God multiplies forces (Judges 3:31 described Shamgar’s victory over 600 Philistines with a sharp stick and Leviticus 26:8 saysFive of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.

This is where Jonathan is coming from. He’s going to rely on God and see what he’ll do. He does not tell his father who was lazily sitting under a tree.

Jonathan did not do this for glory because he did not tell anyone of his plans. God guided Jonathan to a narrow path through a pass with large, sharp rocks on either side — the perfect place to fight a few men at at time.

Why did Jonathan step out in faith and risk his own life?

  • Someone had to have faith. The situation for the Israelites was dismal: greatly outnumbered.
  • Someone had to allow God to use them.
  • Someone had to allow God to prove His word and that He was still with the Israelites.

What do we learn from Jonathan’s example?

  • Only unbelief restrains God (Matthew 13:58). God’s power is never restrained.

Jonathan’s armor-bearer encourages and supports Jonathan. When something is done in God’s name, support always follows.

Jonathan tests God, but he tests God out of faith. Gideon doubted God’s word (Judges 6:36-40); Jonathan doubted himself. The battle was God’s, but Jonathan still had a role to play by fighting.

God uses the swords of the Philistines against themselves since the Israelites had no swords.

Saul procrastinates. He wants to see who is doing his job (and who’ll get the credit for it), and he wants to pray. The time to fight is now, which he eventually does.

Why the curse of Saul on his own men?

  • Saul’s curse was personal — so he could take vengeance on the Philistines. It was God’s honor and the security of his people he should have been fighting for.
  • Saul did not have the authority to order a fast — only Samuel, a priest, did.

Pursuing an army takes energy. God provided the honey for the men to replenish themselves. Jonathan understood this and said as much.

God commanded Israel to drain the blood from an animal before butchering it (Deuteronomy 12:23-25). The disobedience here stemmed from the people obeying Saul’s foolish command and them being so hungry they ate with the blood still in the animals, which resulted in disobeying God’s.

Legalistic rules lead us into sin because they either provoke our rebellion or they lead us into legalistic pride. Saul being Saul, blamed the people for their disobedience when it was his fault.

Background on Urim and Thummim

Image result for urim and thummimUrim and Thummim are mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 28:30Numbers 27:211 Samuel 28:6Ezra 2:63Nehemiah 7:65) and may have been used elsewhere to inquire of God (Judges 1:1 and Judges 20:1823).

Urim and Thummim mean “Lights and Perfections.” We aren’t sure what they were or how they were used. Most bible scholars think they were a pair of stones, one light and another dark, and each stone indicated a “yes” or “no” from God. The High Priest would ask God a question, reach into the breastplate, and pull our either a “yes” or a “no.”

Saul wants to spare Agag (Chapter 15), but kill his own son.

Saul wanted to find the wrong doer by the casting of lots. They separated the people into two groups, and then selected one group by a “low” or “high” roll of something like dice. The group was narrowed until they found the one. This was meant to show he was innocent.

Perfect lot” in the Hebrew is very close to the word for Thummim. They probably used the Urim and Thummim as the way to cast the lot.

Saul was willing to kill his son rather than to humbly admit that he was really at fault. All humility Saul had (1 Samuel 10:21), is now gone replaced by pride.

Why spare Jonathan?

  1. The oath itself to put Jonathan to death was foolish and should not have been enforced.
  2. Jonathan broke the oath in ignorance.
  3. Jonathan’s bold faith in God had much more to do with the victory on that day than Saul’s foolish oath. In fact, the victory would have been greater otherwise.

1 Samuel 15:

Totally destroy: This Hebrew verb (heherim) is used seven times in this account. The idea of total, complete judgment is certainly stressed. This verb refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.

Even though God doesn’t have to, He explains to us why. Centuries before this the Amalekites were the first people to attack Israel after their escape from Egypt:

  • Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-LORD-Is-My-Banner; for he said, “Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:14-16Deuteronomy 25:17-19 repeats this idea.

The Amalekites committed a terrible sin against Israel. When the nation was weak and vulnerable, the Amalekites attacked the weakest and most vulnerable of the nation (Deuteronomy 25:18). They did this for no reasons except violence and greed. God hates it when the strong take cruel advantage over the weak, especially when the weak are His people.

Why did God wait to punish the Amalekites?

  1. God through his mercy gave the Amalekites 400 years to repent. They did not. Time does not erase sin before God.  Men should be forgiving of one another because we are not the judgers. Only Jesus can erase sin.
  2. God used the Amalekites as a test of obedience for Saul.
  3. God wanted to make the judgment fit the sin.

Would God call His people today to fight a war of judgment?

Under the New Covenant, we are called for (John 18:36).

Saul is merciful in letting the Kenites go.

Most armies worked for the plunder of the people they were conquering in ancient times. But with the Israelites, when the battle was for judgment, they were not to benefit in any way.

What lesson do we learn from Saul?Image result for 1 samuel 15

Partial obedience is complete disobedience. There is nothing happy about plundering towns and killing people. God judges reluctantly.

When God explains Himself to man in human terms it’s called anthropomorphism. God does this out of grace so man can have some understanding of God’s heart. God knew from the beginning Saul’s heart, ways, and destiny. God already sought for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet as all this unfolded, God’s heart was not emotionless. Saul’s disobedience hurt God, and since we can’t grasp all what happens in God’s heart, the closest that we can come is for God to express it in the human terms of saying, I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king.”

Samuel had God’s heart. It hurt God to reject Saul, and it hurt God’s prophet to see him rejected.

Lesson learned from God’s grieving heart:

  • We are close to God’s heart when the things that grieve Him grieve us, and the things that please God please us.

Saul wasn’t grieved over his sin. Saul was quite pleased with himself! There is not the slightest bit of shame or guilt in Saul, even though he directly disobeyed the LORD.

David, in contrast to Saul, was known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Even though David would also disobeyed God, David felt the guilt and shame one should feel when they sin. Saul didn’t feel it. His conscience was dead to shame, and his heart was dead to God. Saul’s heart was so dead he could directly disobey God and still set up a monument for himself on the occasion.

Saul had such potential as we saw in (1 Samuel 9:21) and (1 Samuel 10:22). Humans are the same no matter what–evil. Saul let the evil prevail instead of letting God have his heart.

What lesson do we learn from Saul’s pride and monument to himself?

  • Pride and disobedience make us blind – or deaf – to our own sin. We need to constantly ask God to show us our sins: Psalm 139:23-24Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saul’s excuses:

  1. “The people did it.”
  2. “I destroyed the rest.”
  3. “I kept the only the best.”
  4. “This is all for God.”

This says it all (verse 15): “the Lord YOUR God.” Saul did not consider God his anymore. Tragic.

Saul did not even destroy the rest; there were still Amalekites left alive. David later had to deal with the Amalekites (1 Samuel 27:830:12 Samuel 8:12). Haman, the evil man who tried to wipe out all the Jewish people in the days of Esther, was a descendant of Agag (Esther 3:1). When Saul was killed on the field of battle, an Amalekite claimed to deliver the final thrust of the sword (2 Samuel 1:8-10).

Lesson learned when we don’t obey God fully:

  • When we don’t obey God completely, the “leftover” portion will surely come back and trouble us, if not kill us.

Saul again throws his own people under the bus even though they were only following orders.

What does God want from us?

God knew Saul’s heart — he would never be obedient to HIm. Rebellion lived in his heart.

Saul rejects his sin — with a caveat — the blame game again.

We see Saul’s desperation in the ripping of Samuel’s robe. Saul is desperately clinging onto pride and stubbornness instead of clinging to God Himself.

Fun Fact: Samuel uses a title for the LORD found only here in the whole Bible: The Strength of Israel or the Glory of Israel, reminding Saul who is in charge.

Saul is far more concerned with his image than his soul. Saul remains in power only because David is not ready yet.

Samuel completes God’s command and kills the king of the Amalekites himself by hacking him to pieces. He does this before the Lord and for the Lord.

Sadly, Saul never came to see Samuel even though Ramah and Gibeah were less than ten miles apart. Saul needed to come to Samuel to repent. He never did.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7

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Summary of 1 Samuel 7:

The ark of the covenant is now at Kiriath Jearim, guarded by Eleazar. The ark stayed here 20 years until the Israelites rid themselves of foreign gods and Ashtoreths.

All the Israelites gathered at Mizpah where Samuel interceded for them with the Lord. They fasted and confessed their sins. The Philistines, hearing of this gathering, went to Mizpah and attacked. Samuel continued to pray to God and sacrificed a burnt offering. The Lord sent loud thunder, panicking the Philistines. The Israelites routed the Philistines, slaughtering them as they fled beyond Beth Car.

Samuel set a stone to show the Lord helping them. The Philistines did not invade again. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, Israel regained the land taken from them by the Philistines and there was peace with the Amorites. Samuel served as judge all the days of his life, making his home in Ramah.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:

9) Part personal question. My answer: Samuel told the Israelites to give up their foreign gods. When they did, he interceded for them with the Lord, offering up burnt sacrifices. He prayed for the people on Israel’s behalf and he served as judge for the people and priest as well. Give up idols and reflect God wherever we are. We need to pray for others and intercede for them with God if need be.

10) They gave up their foreign gods. They confessed their sins. They relied on God when threatened by the Philistines. They had faith. God defeated the Philistines for them and gave them lasting peace. God answered their prayers.

11) In chapter 4, the Israelites demanded God to be with them. They put their faith in the ark, an object, not God. Their hearts were twisted and not fully with the Lord. They were prideful. In chapter 7, they entreated God to be with them. They put their faith in God. They confessed their sins. Their hearts were full of faith. We learn we have to have true faith if we want God to fight our battles for us. We have to ask God, not demand God to help us.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:

Once your heart is right for God, He is there. All the pieces come together. He protects and saves and prospers. It’s as simple as believing faith in Him.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 4: 1 Samuel 7:

Image result for 1 samuel 7The ark did not rest in the temple; instead, it rested in the house of Abinadab.

For 20 years, the people weren’t right with God. Their cities were in ruins, their armies were defeated, and they were under Philistine domination. They refused to turn to Him.

Where was Samuel for all this time?

God raised up Samuel as a prophet and a judge (1 Samuel 4:1). Yet Samuel was strangely absent from the whole Ark of the Covenant fiasco. 1 Samuel 4:1 is the last place Samuel was mentioned, right before Israel schemed to use the ark as a good luck charm in battle. We don’t know where Samuel was but presumably in training still.

What was important about repenting to the Lord?

Samuel called the nation to repentance.

  • The repentance had to be inward (with all your hearts) and
  • Outward (put away the foreign gods).

The inward was more important than the outward, and it had to come first. That is why Samuel first called Israel to return with all your hearts, then told them to put away the foreign gods.

However, inward repentance is a secret thing. It is hidden. No one can really “see” the heart of another. Yet the inward was proved by the outward. We can know if Israel did return with all your hearts by seeing if they really did put away the foreign gods.

The Israelites were serving two gods and thought they weren’t rejecting him because of this. They felt they only added the worship of other gods to their worship of the LORD. Samuel called on Israel to turn their backs on these other gods and serve Him only.

Baal was attractive because he was thought to be the god of weather, bringing good crops and financial success. Ashtoreth was attractive because she was thought to be the goddess of fertility, thus connected to love and sex.

Why Mizpah?

  • This is where Jacob separated from Laban (Genesis 31:49) and was the gathering place for a repentant Israel in Judges 20:1. This was a place remembered for separation and repentance.
  • This showed the spiritual need Israel felt at the time. They expressed their repentance both by putting away the bad and by pursuing the good.

A ceremonial pouring of water demonstrated the soul poured out before the LORD. It was an expression of emptiness and need. Lamentations 2:19Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.

Israel also expressed their sorrow over their sin by fasting (a message that nothing else really mattered except getting right with God) and by confession (a straightforward claim of guilt and responsibility).

1 John 1:5-10 makes it clear that confession is vital to maintain relationship with God. As God convicts us of sin or sins that hinder fellowship with Him, we must confess it and receive forgiveness and cleansing for our relationship with God to continue without hindrance.

“We have sinned against the LORD.” This is almost exactly what David said when he was confronted with his sin in 2 Samuel 12:13.

With God fighting for them, Israel was invincible. Small faith in the true and living God is more powerful than strong faith in a lie.

How 1 Samuel 4 is different from 1 Samuel 7:

Image result for 1 samuel 7The last time Israel was in this kind of situation they said, “Let’s get the Ark of the Covenant and take it into battle with us. Then we can’t lose!” Now they are much wiser before the LORD, and instead of trusting in the ark they did the right thing and asked Samuel to cry out to the LORD our God for us.

The battle was won before it began because the LORD answered Samuel.

The Bible speaks of Samuel as a mighty man of prayer: Samuel was among those who called upon His name; they called upon the LORD, and He answered them. (Psalm 99:6)

God not only sent thunder, He also sent confusion to the Philistines and confidence to Israel.

Samuel was:

  • A man of faith
  • A man of peace
  • A man of military prowess
  • A servant
  • A man of prayer
  • A man of hard work
  • A judge
  • A leader