Why?

Note to the Teacher

We’re continuing our series on transitions. Two weeks ago, we celebrated our Triune God and discussed learning to rely upon the constant of God’s presence in the midst of our ever-changing realities. Then, we talked about "what." Every transition is preceded by a "what." What happened? What does this mean? What now? This week, we’re talking about "why." Whenever we hear the "what," our next question is usually "why." Sometimes, we actually want to better understand the logic behind the "what," but more often, we don’t like the "what" and we’re challenging its validity with "why?" Responding with "why?" can be like saying, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. You’ll need to convince me.” The "why" doesn’t always make us feel better about the "what." That’s the situation Samuel finds himself in in today’s story.

Time Description of Activity
10 min 

1. Ice Breaker: Because

Because

Since our topic for today is "why," we might be able to have a little fun matching random answers to random questions that ask "why?" Read the following list of "why" questions and then pass out slips of paper and writing instruments to everybody. Invite each person to select one of the questions and write an answer that begins with “because.” Encourage them to be creative and even a little out of nowhere. An example could be, “because a mouse ate all the peanut butter crackers.” Collect all the answers in a basket, and ask the following questions again, this time answering each one with a randomly-selected slip of paper. The results could be something like, “Why is Thanos so angry? Because a mouse ate all the peanut butter crackers.”

  • Why is Thanos so angry?
  • Why did Elon Musk shoot a Tesla into space?
  • Why does the iPhone X have a notch?
  • Why did Meghan marry Harry?
  • Why does Winnie the Pooh like honey so much?
  • Why do we have to stand up when there is a "*" in the bulletin?
  • Why do people get sunburned?
  • Why does soda fizz so much?
  • Why did Khloe name her daughter True?
  • Why are zebras black and white?
5 min

2.  Read Scripture 

Samuel has advanced in years, and the duties he has turned over to his sons are being mishandled. They have become corrupt, just as Eli’s sons had a generation earlier. The elders gather and agree that it’s time for a change in government. They demand a king.

Read 1 Samuel 8:4-11, 16-20

15 min

3. Discussion

  • Who has gathered and what have they decided?[1]
  • If you were Samuel, how would you feel about not being invited to this meeting?
  • What are the reasons the elders give as to why Samuel should be replaced?[2]
  • How does Samuel react to their demand?
  • What is your opinion of Samuel’s reaction?
  • What does Samuel do next?
  • What does God say motivated the people?[3]
  • According to Samuel, why is installing a king a bad idea?[4]
  • If this was such a bad idea, why did God grant the people’s wishes?
  • When was a time that your parents let you have your own way, even though they thought you were making a bad decision? What was their purpose in doing that?
  • Re-read verse 18. What does that mean to you?[5]

[1] The elders have decided that Israel should have a king instead of keeping Samuel as judge. This really amounts to a political coup, or an overthrowing of the established government.
[2] The elders say that Samuel is old, and they complain that his sons are corrupt (verse 5). In fact, in verses 1-3 of this chapter, the Scripture tells us that Samuel’s sons, Joel and Abijah, were taking bribes and perverting justice. The elders also mention twice, in verses 5 and 20, that they want a king so that they can be like other nations.
[3] In verses 7 and 8, God tells Samuel that it isn’t him whom they are rejecting, but that they are rejecting God as their king. Moreover, God says it’s nothing new--the people have been rejecting God ever since being freed from slavery in Egypt.
[4] The king will force the men to fight in the army, and he will levy taxes, taking a large portion of the people’s flocks, crops, and land.
[5] The applicable modern phrase would be, “You’ve made your bed, now sleep in it.” In other words, the people are making this decision in spite of hearing God’s warnings through Samuel. Surely, God never abandons us, but there are consequences when we abandon God’s guidance and make poor decisions.

20 min

4.  Activity and Discussion - That's Awkward!

Take this lesson to the next level by getting students' hands and imaginations doing a skit on the spot from the Youth Worker Collective.  Complete instructions on how to make this happen with this scripture are online at http://www.youthworkercollective.com/thats-awkward-hilarious-ways-to-help-students-process-transition

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. Slips of paper
  2. Writing utensils
  3. Basket

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