READ: 1 Samuel 14-15
THINK: Are you a crowd-follower or a trail-blazer? Are you more apt to do what everyone else is doing, or do what no one else dares to do? The Bible is full of characters who broke from the crowd and ventured into new frontiers of faith and accomplishment with God. But could God possibly use you like that? Looking back on these miraculous events, it's easy to forget that those involved seldom had a clue what would happen. They simply trusted God and didn't worry what others thought. From a human standpoint, they put everything on the line and risked it all. That gave God the opportunity to do the impossible. Whether you feel bold or not, learn to follow God's way-not the crowd's, and not your own-and you can say with Jonathan, "Perhaps the LORD will act" on my behalf (14:6).
RESPOND: What was Israel's attitude and military condition at the beginning of chapter 14? (See 14:1 note.) How would they be able to prevail under these circumstances? In what way did Jonathan and his armor-bearer demonstrate extraordinary faith in God (14:6-7)? How did God respond (14:13-15)? In what way did Saul's selfishness cause trouble for his soldiers (14:24,29-33)? How can our selfish actions bring trouble on those who are close to us? What had the Amalekites done to Israel and how did God intend to punish them? (See 15:2 note.) Why was this severe punishment necessary? (See 15:3 note and article on The Destruction of the Canaanites, p. 285 in the FBSE.) How did this reveal God's character, including His mercy? (See 15:3 note.) Why didn't Saul completely destroy the Amalekites, and what did this reveal about his attitude toward God? (See 15:9 note.) How does God feel about excuses for not carrying out His instructions? (See 15:15 note.) Why is obedience to God vital? (See 15:22 note.) In what ways do people try to substitute sacrifice for obedience in their relationship with God? Why is rebellion such a serious offense against God? (See 15:23 first note.) What reason did Saul give for violating God's command (15:24)? Why can being afraid of people or worrying about what they think cause us to make foolish choices?
PRAY: Ask God to give you a bold faith to stand for Him and serve His purposes in the face of opposition and difficulty. Pray that you'll always seek God's approval rather than people's approval.
ACT: Have you made excuses for not doing something you know God wants you to do? Have you done something God doesn't approve of-or failed to do something God asks-because you're worried about what other people think? Put excuses and reputation aside and obey God without further delay. Take a bold step into the unknown and give God the opportunity to do something extraordinary through you at school, home, work or church.
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