NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 8
Discussion Questions: What are some examples of things in life that “promise” to give us something but instead “take” from us? Where do you find yourself turning for fulfillment other than God? How do these “lesser kings” fail to deliver on their promise?
Food for Thought:
Samuel didn’t hold back when he foretold the consequences of Israel’s demand for a king (1 Samuel 8:10-18). The dominant word in this description is take: the king will take your sons and daughters; he will take your crops and your lands; he will take the best years of your lives — he will exploit you and all your resources for himself.
The irony here is tremendous. The Israelites looked to a king to guarantee prosperity and security. What they would receive instead were kings who would take those things from them. They wanted a king whom they could control. Instead, their kings would wind up controlling them. What they thought would empower them would actually enslave them!
This is an Old Testament version of a New Testament principle: When you have other kings besides God, those kings do not save you; they enslave you. Whatever you depend on for happiness and security, you become the slave of that thing.
Every life has a “king.” A king in your life is whatever you must have in order to be happy and secure. And kings make all of their subjects into servants. The apostle Paul said it this way: “But in the past, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods” (Galatians. 4:8). Or as Bob Dylan sang, “You’ve gotta serve somebody.” There are no exceptions. You are either submitted to Someone who brings life, God, or you are enslaved to something that brings death.
Israel wanted to be like every other nation. Similarly, when people who have been redeemed by Christ look to things in this world for protection, security and validation, they start to look like everyone else. Forgetting their identity and the love that comes from a restored relationship with God, they become bound to a “king” they think will satisfy them. This is not what God intended for His people. This is not what He intends for you. He wants you to know the love and assurance that comes from knowing Christ. He doesn’t want you to obsess over things in this world that hold only empty promises.
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.