1. First Samuel 1 (The Story, pp. 129-131) tells Hannah’s heartbreaking account of barrenness and how her prayers for a child are finally answered. What strikes you about Hannah’s character and her faith?
2. What does Eli teach Samuel about listening to God (1 Samuel 3:1-10; The Story, pp. 131-132)? What can we learn about listening to God as we see Samuel’s story unfold?
3. According to 1 Samuel 8 (The Story, pp. 135-136), how does Samuel feel about the leaders of Israel requesting to have a king so they can be like other nations? What does God say about it?
4. How does Samuel’s description of the consequences of having an earthly king instead of a heavenly King parallel the actions of those who govern in our modern world today?
5. God’s Upper Story plan is for God alone to rule as King over His people. In the Lower Story, the people insist on having an earthly king as their ruler. God allows their request. What are some examples of how God allows us to have our own way even if it is not His perfect will for us and works His own will through our choices?
6. Saul does not follow God’s instructions, which leads to God’s rejection of Saul as king. Randy points out that one of Saul’s big mistakes was distorting and misrepresenting God as cruel and greedy rather than accepting that God is just and holy. Why is God so concerned about His people giving an accurate portrayal of who He is? What can we do to present God to the world with greater clarity and accuracy?
7. God’s desire is to reveal His presence, power, and plan to the world and thus restore the relationship of people with Him. How do you see God do each of these in this chapter of The Story.
a. Reveal His presence
b. Display His power
c. Execute His plan to get us back
8. Saul rationalized his choices and deceived himself about his responsibility for the consequences of what he had done. What are some ways we can keep from being self-deceived and rationalizing sin in our lives?