READ: 1 Samuel 11-13
THINK: Are you trying to impress someone by doing what you think he or she would like? Or would you rather do things your own way? Acting in either of these ways can get you into trouble. Pleasing people often comes at the expense of pleasing God. The Lord knows our motivations. Excuses or "partial obedience" won't cut it. We can "sacrifice" a lot of things and still not do what He asks. God expects complete obedience, no matter the cost. He values obedience more than anything we could possibly give or give up for His sake.
RESPOND: In what way was Saul's anger over the Ammonites inspired by God's Spirit? (See 11:6 note.) What kinds of things should arouse godly anger? Why did Samuel "confront" (12:7) the Israelites with all that God had done for them (12:24-25)? (See 12:7-18 note.) What conditions and responsibilities did the Israelites and their kings need to uphold in order to experience God's blessing? (See 12:14 and 12:21 notes.) Why and in what way did God show mercy to His people despite their sin and misguided request for a king? (See 12:22 note.) How does Israel's example serve as both a warning and an encouragement? What can you learn about prayer from Samuel's life? (See 12:23 note and articles on Intercession, p. 1134, and Campus Missions Commitment to Pray, p. 1744 in the FBSE.) In what way did Saul defy God and show a lack of faith by offering the sacrifice without Samuel? (See 13:13 note.) Why do you think God tested Saul's obedience in this way? Who was the "man after his [God's] own heart" (13:14) that would succeed Saul as king, and how would this person be different from Saul? (See 13:14 note.) What godly character traits would this other man possess? (See 13:14 note, subpoint 1.)
PRAY: Intercede for the needs and concerns of others-including people you know who may not know God and do not likely pray for themselves. Pray for healing, provision, guidance and salvation.
ACT: Think of something that has made you angry for good reason. Rather than just being irritated, upset or worried about the issue, turn your emotions to positive actions. Ask God to show you how you can get involved and do something to bring help, healing, change, resolution or justice to the situation. Then do what you can do.
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