Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Good is Always the Enemy of the Best" Youth Bible Study on 1 Samuel 13 and 15

Brief: Obeying God is always a better idea than doing what makes sense to us.

Intro Question
How do you decide what is right and what is wrong?

If you have an idea to do something, how do you decide if it’s a good idea or a bad idea?

We read last time about how the people of Israel wanted a king. We’re going to read today about a couple of things this new king did.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 13:1-14; 15:1-23; Proverbs 3:5

1 Samuel 13:1-14: Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-two years.

Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.

Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand[c]chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sandon the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after His own heart and appointed him ruler of His people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

Samuel says that King Saul broke God’s command. What command did Saul break? (Saul broke the rule that only priests were allowed to sacrifice animals.)

Why did Saul break the rule? (Samuel the priest hadn’t come to do it, so Saul thought it would be a good idea for him to do it.)

Saul’s reason is good. He had a good idea. But it wasn’t the best idea. He should have known that the best idea was not to break God’s rule, no matter what. If you have an idea, always ask yourself, what does God say about what I’m thinking? What does God think about what I’m about to do? If the idea doesn’t involve breaking any of God’s rules, maybe it is a good idea. But you know that if the idea somehow goes against God’s rules, then it’s not the best idea you could come up with.

1 Samuel 15:1-23: Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over His people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LordThis is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim—two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand from Judah. Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. Then he said to the Kenites, “Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.

Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.

10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from Me and has not carried out My instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”

13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”

15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”

16 “Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”

“Tell me,” Saul replied.

17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And He sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”

20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

22 But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.”

What did Saul do wrong this time? (He decided to sacrifice the animals instead of killing them like God had told him to do.)

Would it normally have been a good idea to sacrifice the animals to God? (Yes.)

Except God told him to do something different. It was a good idea to sacrifice the animals, but the best idea is to listen to God.

Why do you think God wanted Saul to kill the animals instead of bringing them back to sacrifice?

The truth is I don’t know why God didn’t want Saul to sacrifice the animals. But we don’t always have to understand why God wants us to do something, do we? We simply need to have to listen to Him. We need to listen to God and have faith that God knows what it is right, even when we don’t understand why He says something.

Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

This verse is telling us that we need to trust God and listen to Him. We need to trust Him and do what He says instead of what we might think is a good idea, and we need to trust Him and do what He says even when we don’t understand why He wants us to do something. We simply need to trust that God is smarter than we are and that He knows what’s best.

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