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BIBLE STUDY: Present, sovereign God

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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 16

Discussion Questions:

— What should we expect to see in the leaders in the church?

— How has the Holy Spirit equipped you to obey and fulfill the gospel mission in the world?

— What are some ways believers can exhibit Christ’s humility?

Food for Thought:

In 1 Samuel 13–15, King Saul disobeyed the Lord’s instructions and was rejected as king by God. Though Saul twice admitted his sin (1 Samuel 15:24, 30), his kingdom reign was on a downward spiral. And though the prophet Samuel never again visited Saul, he mourned over the broken relationship and the broken ruler. God chooses His rulers intentionally and calls them to be worthy of imitation (see Hebrews 13:7).

As the Scriptures say, the Lord regretted making Saul king; but to be clear, the Scriptures also say the Lord is not a man that He should regret or change His mind. God is immutable, never-changing (see 1 Samuel 15:11, 29, 35). Though Saul failed as king, the Lord’s plan for redemption was not thwarted. He had another man in mind, one who may not have had a kingly bearing like Saul but who had a God-focused heart.

King David’s life and character are enjoyable to analyze because he was not a static figure. He embodied both poet and warrior, selflessness and selfishness, wisdom and foolishness, and faithfulness and disobedience. In summary, he is us — at times making great choices and at other times making poor ones. At times he succeeded in what he did, and at other times he failed miserably. But did God not walk with him through it all? Did God not see his heart through the good and the bad, the moments of faithfulness and the moral failures? Even there, God was present and sovereign, enacting His plans for His purposes.

When we look at our lives, we must be thankful and acknowledge how God’s grace is present through every moment. God’s grace pervades in our birth story, in protecting us in our teenage years, in the disciplining of our sins, in His felt presence in our trials and suffering. And indeed, God’s graciousness is revealed to us in that even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). And this never-changing good news should be shared with the world.

The Gospel Project

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 or ordered at Lifeway Christian Stores.