Who?

Note to the Teacher

This is week 4 of our 5-week series on transitions. We started with a reminder that life around us is always changing, God is our constant amid every situation. Then we discussed what. When we know that a change is coming, we need to learn what that change is going to be. Then we can ask “why?”, not usually because we are interested in the rationale behind the what, but because we’re challenging the authority of it. We don’t generally like change, so we ask “why?” Today, we’ll focus on “who?” Asking “who?” can also be a challenge to the “what?” It can convince us that the “what?” is not possible because the “who?” has not been identified, and may not even exist.  Asking the question “Who will handle such and such?” implies that there is no one who can do it. Being hyper-focused on a question like “who?” can keep us from seeing the possibilities and blessings that God can bring about within the “what?” We will be reading about Samuel again. He already knows the “what?” and the “why?”, but he is struggling with the “who?”

Time Description of Activity
10 min 

1. Ice Breaker: Who Am I?

This is a fun game where players need to guess the identity of the well-known person assigned to them. In advance of your session, prepare index cards with names written on them (suggestions below). If you have extra prep time, you could add a picture of the person clipped from a magazine or printed from a website. Start with a card taped on everyone’s back. They all move around the room asking each other yes or no questions about their person. “Am I fictional?” “Do I play sports?” “Have I been in a movie?” The game continues until everybody identifies their assigned person. Here are some suggestions:

  • Queen Elizabeth
  • LeBron James
  • Big Bird
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Batman
  • Tiger Woods
  • Jimmy Fallon
  • Scooby Doo
  • Taylor Swift
  • Simon Cowell
  • Drake
  • Tom Brady
5 min

2.  Read Scripture 

Today’s reading features Samuel in the midst of yet another transition. Saul has lost God’s authority and needs to be replaced. Samuel is instrumental in identifying who it is that will lead Israel into a better place, but his grief, regret, fear, and assumptions nearly eclipse the hope that he could find within God’s wisdom for the new choice.

Read 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13

15 min

3. Discussion

  • Why is Samuel grieving in this passage? [1]
  • What are some things he might be worried about?
  • In what ways has Saul failed as king?
  • What does God tell Samuel to do? Where does God tell him to go?
  • What do you think it is about this assignment that makes Samuel fearful?[2]
  • When Samuel arrives at the home of Jesse, what assumption does he make about his eldest son, Eliab? On what does he base that assumption?
  • By contrast, what criteria did God use to make his selection?
  • What are some examples of judgements that you sometimes make that are based only on what you see?
  • When has taking the time to understand a person’s thought process helped to chang your mind about their actions?
  • Where was David when Samuel was trying to select the new king? Why had he not been summoned?
  • What can you say about how David’s family regarded him, compared to what God thought of him?
  • What can you say about what God thinks of us, versus what other people might say about us?

[1] Samuel had warned the Israelites that a king would enrich himself by levying great taxes and laying claim to their land, force their young men to fight in the army, and make domestic servants of their young women. (1 Samuel 8:11-17) Saul did all that, but it was even worse. He disobeyed God’s directives (1 Samuel 15:1-21) and usurped the authority of the priesthood (1 Samuel 13:8-14). Under his leadership, the army lost battle after battle. While Samuel never liked the idea of a king, he remained hopeful for the future of Israel. But now, his people are suffering, the future of the nation is in doubt, and a king cannot simply be fired. Saul’s necessary removal could mean civil war.

[2] With his disdain for God’s directives and disrespect for the priesthood, Samuel feared being killed by Saul, a scenario that plays out, unfortunately, in Nob (1 Samuel 22:6-19). Anointing the next king while the current king is still in power is an act of treason which Saul would attempt to thwart by killing those involved. His willingness to try killing his political rivals is well documented in the later chapters of 1 Samuel.

20 min

4.  Activity and Discussion - Guess Who!

Take this lesson to the next level by getting students’ imaginations working as they guess each other’s attributes and use them to discuss the selection of David. Complete instructions on how to make this happen are at the Youth Worker Collective online at http://www.youthworkercollective.com/guess-who

5 min  

5. Closing

Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.

55 min  

Needed for this Activity

  1. Index cards prepared with names of well-known people
  2. Masking tape

Click To Download a Formatted PDF of This Lesson