|Wednesday:||Stolen Sheep: Saul and the Spoils|
|Story Passage:||1st Samuel 15:1-23|
|Other Passages:||1st Samuel 9:15-19, 10:1, 10:24, 15:26-28, 15:35-16:1, James 1:22, Exodus 17:8-16|
|Objective:||Teens should learn that they should obey God's instruction.|
|Memory Verse:||1st Samuel 15:22 |
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
Introduction: Who was Saul?
Saul was the first king of Israel, before King David. God had chosen Saul to be king, but Saul sinned - he disobeyed God, and God rejected him and chose David to be king in his place. Today's lesson is about what Saul did that caused God to have that reaction. The story about what Saul did is found in 1 Samuel 15.
Story: Saul and the Spoils
In Saul's time, there was a wicked group of people called the Amalekites. They were evil, and they did terrible things to God's chosen people Israel. The Amalekites were so bad, God told Saul to take the army of Israel and destroy them, to punish them for the wrong things they had done. God said to Saul,
Totally destroy everything that belongs to them.He even told Saul to destroy the Amalekites' sheep and cattle. He wanted even their livestock to be wiped out, to leave no trace of their wickedness on the Earth. He did not want Israel to take anything from them, especially their example of how to behave.
Saul did take the army and fight the Amalekites, but he didn't do everything God said. He kept their King Agag alive, and
the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and the lambs.He was greedy. Saul and his soldiers didn't want to destroy these things. They decided that some of the sheep and cattle were too good to destroy, so they kept them.
When God's prophet, Samuel, came to see Saul, Saul said,
I have carried out the Lord's instructions.Samuel knew it wasn't entirely true, so he said,
What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears?Oops. Saul was caught. So he blamed his soldiers:
The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites...Then he made another excuse:
They spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.Was that true? Did they really keep the sheep and cattle for sacrifices to God? (No.) It was just an excuse. They wanted them, because they thought they were too good to destroy. They didn't really destroy everything else, either - Saul had also kept King Agag alive. Saul was still lying, and making excuses, even after he was caught.
Samuel told Saul that the Lord would rather have him obey, and do what he was supposed to do, than bring sacrifices. Then he said that because Saul didn't do what God said, God had rejected Saul as king over Israel. God would choose someone else to be the next king in Saul's place.
After Samuel left Saul, God sent Samuel to anoint David to be the next king.
Transition: God's Reasons
Why was God displeased with Saul? Saul didn't obey God. He knew he did not get rid of all the sheep and cattle and things and he knew that the king God wanted killed was still alive. It wasn't up to Saul to decide what to do. If God wanted the king dead, that was Saul's job, but he didn't do it. He chose to disobey. On Monday we learned that we all have sinned. Just like Saul we choose to disobey sometimes too. Instead of disobeying, which is sin, we need to choose to obey. God left us the choice and sometimes it's hard to obey.
[Remind your teens that you are available to talk to if they have anything they need to discuss, e.g., if they need to choose to obey God.]
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.