November 26, 2023 – 1 Samuel 26 – 31

Lesson Date: November 26, 2023

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Samuel 26:5-18, 31:1-13

AIM: To lead students to discover that David’s trust in God enabled him to wait for God’s timing in fulfilling His promises, and to encourage them to trust God and wait for His perfect timing in their lives.


Before class: Read the notes on 1 Samuel 26 – 31 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the word “Patience” on the board (or screen).


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Patience” written on the board (or screen).  Ask: “How would you define the word patience?”  Allow time for some responses, and then tell the class that patience can be defined as the ability to tolerate and accept delay calmly and without getting upset.

Ask: “Does that definition describe you?  Are you a patient person?” (allow time for responses).

Tell the class that we live in an “instant” society, in which we’ve grown accustomed to getting what we want NOW.  Ask the following questions:

“How do you react when the drive-thru line at the restaurant moves slower than you want?”

“How do you feel when the app or site you are trying to open on your phone doesn’t load quickly and you are faced with a seemingly endless spinning wheel?”

“How do you react when your life goals or dreams don’t come to pass as quickly as you would like them to?”

“Can you think of other situations in life that show how impatient we are?”

State that it is especially hard to be patient when we are looking forward to something very good and important to us.  Tell them that was David’s situation: the Lord had chosen him to be the next king of Israel, but King Saul was still on the throne.  Ask: “How long would David have to wait to become king?”

Tell the class the title of today’s lesson is Are You Patient?  As we conclude our study of 1 Samuel, we will see the patience David demonstrated in waiting for God’s timing to become king.



  1. Review.
    • Be sure everyone has a new Sunday School Member Quarterly for the winter quarter.
    • Tell the students that this is our last lesson from 1 Samuel; next week we begin 2 Samuel.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Responding to Hatred; we learned how David responded to Saul’s hatred and personal attacks).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Matthew 5:44).
  2. David Had Another Opportunity to Kill Saul.
    • Explain the following:
    • Read 1 Samuel 26:5-6.
    • Ask: “Where was Saul?” (sleeping in a trench, surrounded by his soldiers).
    • Ask: “What did David ask his men?” (who would go with him into Saul’s camp).
    • Read 1 Samuel 26:7.
    • Tell the class that David’s nephew Abishai volunteered and went with him into the camp.
    • Ask: “Why do you think Saul was surrounded by his soldiers?” (for protection).
    • Explain the following:
      • This was the second time David found Saul helpless and within easy reach.
      • In last week’s lesson Saul came alone into a cave in which David and his soldiers were hiding (1 Samuel 24:1-4).
    • Tell the students that David may have written Psalm 37 during this time in his life.
    • Ask everyone to hold their place in 1 Samuel 26, while flipping over to Psalm 37.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 37:1, 3.
    • Ask: “What did David learn during this difficult time?” (that he shouldn’t fret or worry about Saul, but trust the Lord and continue to do what was right).
    • Summarize: For a second time, the Lord delivered Saul into David’s hand, where he could have easily killed Saul.
  3. David Again Refused to Kill Saul.
    • Read 1 Samuel 26:8.
    • Ask: “Who did Abishai say had delivered Saul into David’s hand?” (God).
    • Ask: “What did Abishai ask David?” (for permission to kill Saul).
    • Explain the following:
      • In last week’s lesson, David said the Lord would not allow him to kill Saul (1 Sam. 24:6).
      • Abishai offered to kill Saul so David wouldn’t have to.
      • If Abishai killed Saul, David would become king and would no longer have to hide out in caves.
      • Abishai offered David a quick and convenient solution to his problem.
    • Ask: “If you were David, what would you have done?”
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 26:9-11a.
    • Ask: “Why did David refuse to let Abishai kill Saul?” (because Saul had been anointed by the Lord).
    • Tell the students that in verse 10 David said one of three things would happen to Saul.
    • Ask: “What were those three things?”
      • The Lord would kill Saul in His time.
      • Saul would die of old age.
      • Saul would be killed in battle.
    • Tell the class that Saul stood in the way of David’s happiness, freedom, and becoming king, but David trusted God so much that he was willing to wait for Saul to die of old age! Tell them David understood that God’s ways and timing are perfect.
    • Ask: “Are you willing to wait for God’s timing?”
    • Remind the students that David may have written Psalm 37 during this time.
    • Read Psalm 37:4-7.
    • Ask: “What did David learn during this difficult time?” (to delight in the Lord and commit his way to Him, trusting God to accomplish His will in His time; this truth enabled David to rest and wait patiently for the Lord to act).
    • Summarize: For a second time, David refused to take matters into his own hands and have Saul killed.
  4. David Again Proved That He Would Not Kill Saul.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 26:11b-12.
    • Explain that David and Abishai took Saul’s spear and water container and left the camp.
    • Ask: “Why were they able to sneak into and out of Saul’s camp undetected?” (the Lord had caused a deep sleep to fall on Saul and his men).
    • Read 1 Samuel 26:13-18.
    • Tell the class that David went to a nearby hilltop and called out to Abner, the commander of Saul’s army.
    • Ask: “According to verses 15-16, why did David say Abner deserved to die?” (because he had failed to protect Saul from intruders).
    • Ask: “What did David show to prove that he had been close enough to Saul to kill him?” (his spear and water container).
    • Explain the following:
      • Saul recognized David’s voice.
      • David told Saul that he meant him no harm.
      • This was the second time David proved to Saul that he did not want to kill him (the first was in 1 Samuel 24:8-11).
      • Saul was temporarily sorry for his actions against David, but soon got over it.
      • Saul became worse and worse, and David continued to hide from him.
    • Read Psalm 37:11, 17b.
    • Ask: “What did David learn during this difficult time?” (the meek will inherit the earth, and the Lord strengthens and protects the righteous).
    • Summarize: For a second time, David proved that he did not want to kill Saul.
  5. The Death of Saul.
    • Read 1 Samuel 31:1-3.
    • Tell the class that the Philistines defeated the Israelites in another battle (locate Mount Gilboa on the Map).
    • Ask: “What happened to Jonathan and two of Saul’s other sons?” (they were killed).
    • Ask: “What happened to Saul?” (he was hit with arrows and mortally wounded).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 31:4-6.
    • Ask: “Why do you think Saul wanted to die before falling into the hands of the Philistines?” (the Philistines hated Saul and he knew they would torture and abuse him before finally killing him).
    • Explain the following:
      • Saul’s armor-bearer was afraid to kill his king.
      • Saul committed suicide, after which his armor bearer also committed suicide.
      • In fulfillment of prophecy, Saul and his sons all died in one day (see 1 Sam. 28:19).
    • Read 1 Samuel 31:7-10.
    • Explain the following:
      • The Philistines found Saul’s dead body.
      • They cut off Saul’s head and hanged his body on a city wall.
      • Verses 11-13 tell us that the men of Jabesh-gilead (locate on the Map) took the bodies of Saul and his sons and buried them.
      • They did this because of their gratitude for Saul rescuing them many years earlier (1 Sam. 11:1-11).
    • Direct everyone’s attention once more to Psalm 37.
    • Ask some volunteers to read the following verses: Psalm 37:9-10, 15, 20, 35-36, 38.
    • Ask: “What did David learn during this difficult time?” (the Lord will destroy the wicked in His time and in His way).
    • Summarize: David patiently refused to raise a hand against Saul, but in time the Lord removed Saul and his sons, clearing the way for David to become king.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention once again to the word “Patience” written on the board.  Remind them that the title of today’s lesson is Are You Patient?  Ask: “In the passages we studied today, how did David demonstrate patience?” (even though he knew God had chosen him to be Israel’s next king, he refused to take matters into his own hands and kill Saul so he could take the throne).

Read Psalm 37:1-5.  Tell the class that through experiences like we studied today, David learned some important lessons:

  • Don’t worry about or be envious of wicked people, because one day God will strike them down.
  • Trust God and keep doing right.
  • Delight in the Lord and commit to following Him, and He will give you what is best.

Ask: “Have you learned those lessons?  Are you able to wait patiently for God to do His will?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Tell them to confess their impatience to the Lord.  Tell them to ask God to increase their faith and trust in Him.  Allow a moment for silent prayer, and then voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Tell the class that next week we will continue learning about the life of David, as we begin a study of the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel.  Encourage them to begin the Daily Bible Reading Guide tomorrow.

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