October 15, 2023 – 1 Samuel 8
Lesson Date: October 15, 2023
Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Samuel 8:1-22
AIM: To lead students to discover three important warnings about the danger of conforming to the world, and to examine themselves for signs of conformity so they may repent and follow God.
Before class: Read the notes on 1 Samuel 5 – 8 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the word “Conform” on the board.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Conform” written on the board.
Ask: “What does it mean to conform?” After allowing time for some responses, tell the class that conformity is matching the behavior of others in order to fit in and be accepted. Tell them that we all have a natural desire to conform to those around us.
Ask: “What are some examples of conformity we see in our modern world?” (allow time for some responses). Ask: “What are some ways people conform in the way they dress?” After allowing some responses, tell the class that people naturally wear clothing that conforms to the standards of the culture in which they live. Because of this, many modern American women wear clothing that is too tight and too revealing, while many men wear clothing that doesn’t make any sense, such as wearing their pants too low or their bill caps backward. Stress the fact that the pressure to conform is so strong in America today that if celebrities started wearing their underwear outside their clothing, millions of Americans (including church members) would follow their example.
Ask: “What are some ways people conform in their speech and the language they use?” After allowing some responses, tell the class that people naturally pick up words and expressions from their peers and those they see in the media. Because of this, many Americans freely use trendy words such as “bro,” “dude,” “bougee,” “hangry,” and “extra,” and millions of Americans (including church members) use foul and crude language.
Ask: “What are some ways people conform in their behavior?” After allowing some responses, tell the class that people naturally imitate the behavior of others they know and respect. Because of this, millions of Americans (including church members) openly live together and have children without being married, and many young people are being lured into the deceptions of homosexuality and transgenderism.
Tell the class the title of today’s lesson is Conforming to the World. Tell them as we study 1 Samuel 8, we will discover three important warnings about the danger of conforming to the world, and examine ourselves for signs of conforming to the world.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Review and Setting.
- Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God Called a Faithful Priest; we learned how God removed the corrupt priests and called Samuel to be His faithful priest).
- Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (1 Sam. 3:10).
- Ask everyone to turn to 1 Samuel 4.
- Ask: “What happened in that chapter?” (the Israelites took the Ark of the Covenant out to battle, hoping it would be a “good luck charm” to give them victory, but instead, Israel was defeated and the Ark was captured by the Philistines; also, Eli and his wicked sons died).
- Explain the following:
- In chapter 5, the Philistines took the captured Ark into the temple of their false god, but the statue of their false god kept falling on its face before the Ark of the true God.
- God plagued the people of that city with diseases, so they sent the Ark of the Covenant to another Philistine city.
- God plagued the people of that second city, so they sent it to a third Philistine city.
- In chapter 6, the Philistines had finally had enough, so they sent the Ark of the Covenant back to Israel.
- In chapter 7, Samuel led the Israelites to put away their false gods and return to the Lord; God then gave Israel a miraculous victory over the Philistines.
- Conforming to the World is Rejecting God.
- Read 1 Samuel 8:1-2.
- Ask: “What did Samuel do when he grew old?” (appointed his sons to be judges in southern Israel; locate Beersheba on the Map).
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 8:3.
- Ask: “What does this verse tell us about Samuel’s sons?” (they did not follow Samuel’s example; instead, they were greedy and dishonest).
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 8:4-5.
- Ask: “What did the elders of Israel tell Samuel?” (you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways; in other words, we don’t want them to lead us).
- Ask: “What did the elders demand that Samuel do?” (appoint a king to lead them).
- Ask: “According to the last words of verse 5, why else did they want a king?” (so Israel would be like all the other nations).
- Direct everyone’s attention once again to the word “Conform” written on the board.
- Stress the fact that Israel’s main reason for wanting a king was to conform to the other nations; being led by God and God’s man wasn’t good enough for them, so they wanted a king just the heathen nations had!
- Ask: “Are you trying to conform to the world and adopting some of the practices of the lost people around you?”
- Read 1 Samuel 8:6-8.
- Ask: “According to verse 6, how did Samuel feel about their request for a king?” (he was upset about it, so he prayed to the Lord).
- Tell the class that after leading Israel his entire life, it would be natural for Samuel to feel that the people were rejecting him.
- Ask: “What did God say about that in verse 7?” (He said Israel was not rejecting Samuel, but instead was rejecting Him and His rule over them).
- Ask: “According to verse 8, how long had Israel forsaken and rebelled against God?” (ever since He brought them up out of Egypt).
- Tell the students that James 4:4 says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
- Stress the fact that conforming to the world is actually rejecting God.
- Summarize: Israel’s leaders demanded a king so they would be like all the other (heathen) nations. By conforming to the world, they were rejecting God and His leadership.
- Conforming to the World is Costly.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 8:9.
- Ask: “What did God tell Samuel to do?” (agree to Israel’s request for a king, but warn them about the costs of having a king).
- Ask the students to listen for those costs, as you read 1 Samuel 8:10-17.
- Ask them to name the costs of having a king; they should identify the following:
- Verse 11 – a king will take their sons to serve in the military.
- Verse 12 – a king will take their sons to work his fields and make weapons for warfare.
- Verse 13 – a king will take their daughters to serve him as perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
- Verse 14 – a king will seize their fields and vineyards to provide for his military and his other servants.
- Verse 15 – a king will take a tenth of their harvest to feed his army and servants.
- Verse 16 – a king will take the best of their servants and livestock to do his work.
- Verse 17 – a king will take a tenth of their sheep, and make all of them his servants.
- Stress the fact that conforming to the world is costly: it will take our best, including our money and the welfare of our family.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 8:18.
- Ask: “What did God say would happen when they cried out to Him because their king was oppressing them?” (God said He would not hear them).
- Tell the class that 1 John 2:15 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
- Explain that falling in love with the things of the world will cost our intimacy with God.
- Summarize: God, through Samuel, warned the Israelites how much a king would cost them. Conforming to the world always costs us more than we want to pay.
- Conforming to the World is Trusting Men More Than God.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 8:19-20.
- Ask: “According to verse 19, did the Israelites heed God’s warnings about how much a king would cost them?” (no, they insisted that they wanted a king).
- Ask: “What reasons did they give in verse 20 for wanting a king?” (they wanted to be like all the other nations and they wanted a king to lead them and fight their battles).
- Remind the class that throughout Israel’s history, God fought for Israel, often providing miraculous victories (as He did in 1 Sam. 7:10).
- Ask: “Who did the Israelites now want to fight their battles?” (their king).
- Stress the fact that the Israelites trusted men more than God.
- Read 1 Samuel 8:21-22.
- Tell the class that in verse 21 Samuel told the Lord all that the people said.
- Ask: “What did God tell Samuel?” (do what the Israelites want and give them a king).
- Tell the students that Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
- Stress the fact that God’s ways are always better than our ways; in fact, part of God’s judgment when His people resist His will is to give them what they want.
- Summarize: The people of Israel rejected God’s warnings, choosing instead to place their faith in a man instead of God. Conforming to the world is trusting men more than God.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention once again to the word “Conform” written on the board, and remind them that the title of today’s lesson is Conforming to the World. Tell them that in this lesson we discovered that because of their great desire to be like the other nations around them, the people of Israel rejected God, willingly accepted the cost of having a king, and put their trust in man instead of God.
State that as we have already seen, the Bible warns against conforming to the world. In fact, Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Tell the students that instead of conforming to the world, the Bible tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Ask: “What do you think we must do to renew our minds?” (read and obey the Bible, which reveals the mind of God).
Ask everyone to think about their behavior and standards. Ask the following questions:
“Do you see any signs in your life of conforming to the world?”
“Are you compromising your standards to fit in with others?”
“Are you rejecting God to follow other people?”
“Are you paying a cost to conform to the world?”
“Are you trusting other people more than you’re trusting God?”
Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Urge them to confess any sins of conformity and compromise God has brought to their minds. Tell them to ask God to enable them to resist the temptation to conform. Allow a moment for silent prayer, and then voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Suggest that everyone memorize Romans 12:2 (that verse is not listed in their Member Quarterly, but it fits perfectly with this lesson). Tell the students to watch their behavior this week for signs of conforming to the world.
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