October 29, 2023 – 1 Samuel 13 – 15

Lesson Date: October 29, 2023

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Samuel 13:8-14; 15:1-1-3. 8-15, 21-23

AIM: To lead students to discover the cost of King Saul’s disobedience to God, and to examine themselves and confess any areas of disobedience.


Before class: Read the notes on 1 Samuel 13 – 15 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the words “Disobedience” and “Rebellion” on the board.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Disobedience” written on the board.

Ask: “When you were a child, did you ever disobey your parents?” (certainly they did).  Ask: “What was the cost of disobeying your parents?”  Allow time for some responses.

Ask: “Now that you are grown, have you ever disobeyed someone in authority over you, such as a boss or supervisor?” (they probably have).  Tell the students that as adults, our disobedience usually carries a higher cost than it did when we were children.  For example, disobeying your boss could result in the loss of opportunities for advancement, or even the loss of your job.

Ask: “Don’t answer out loud, but have you ever disobeyed God?”  Ask: “What are some of the possible costs of disobeying God?”  Allow time for some responses.

Direct the students’ attention once again to the words written on the board.  Draw an equal sign between the words, so they read, “Disobedience = Rebellion.”  Tell the class that all disobedience, whether it be toward a parent, a boss, or God, is actually rebellion to authority.

Explain that God views disobedience very seriously and it always carries a high price tag.  Tell the students the title of today’s lesson is Costly Disobedience.  Tell them we will discover the cost of King Saul’s disobedience to God, and examine ourselves for any disobedience toward God.



  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Desiring the Wrong Thing; we discovered that Israel’s rejection of God caused them to settle for man’s best – Saul – rather than trusting God to give them His best).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Psalm 37:4).
  2. Saul’s Impatience and Disobedience.
    • Explain the following:
      • Saul’s son Jonathan defeated a Philistine garrison.
      • Saul’s pride caused him to take credit for the victory.
      • The Philistines amassed a huge army for a counterattack.
      • The army of Israel was very fearful and many soldiers ran away or hid.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 13:8-10.
    • Ask: “How long had Samuel told Saul to wait for him?” (seven days).
    • Ask: “What was happening to Saul’s frightened army?” (they were deserting him).
    • Explain that it was customary for the priest to offer sacrifices to God before the Israelites went into battle.
    • Ask: “According to verse 9, what did Saul do?” (offered the sacrifices himself).
    • Ask: “Was Saul a priest?” (no, he had no right to make such a sacrifice)
    • Ask: “Who arrived as soon as Saul finished offering the sacrifice?” (Samuel).
    • Read 1 Samuel 13:11-12.
    • Ask: “What did Samuel ask Saul in verse 11?” (What have you done?)
    • Ask: “What three reasons did Saul give for disobeying Samuel’s instructions?” (the army was deserting, Samuel had not yet come, and the Philistines were getting ready to attack).
    • Ask: “What was the last explanation Saul gave at the end of verse 12?” (he said he “forced” himself to offer the burnt offering).
    • Stress the fact that Saul did not accept any blame for his actions; he blamed everyone else.
    • Summarize: Saul disobeyed Samuel’s clear instructions. He rationalized his actions by blaming his soldiers, Samuel, and the Philistines, but accepted no blame for himself.
  3. Cost of Saul’s Disobedience.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 13:13-14.
    • Ask: “What’s the first thing Samuel said to Saul?” (that Saul acted foolishly; he called him a fool).
    • Ask: “According to verse 13, whose commandment had Saul disobeyed?” (the Lord’s).
    • Ask: “According to verse 13, what would God have done for Saul?” (established his kingdom forever).
    • Ask: “According to verse 14, what was the cost of Saul’s disobedience?” (his kingdom would not continue).
    • Ask: “What kind of man would the Lord choose to replace Saul?” (“a man after His own heart;” in other words, one who would obey Him).
    • Ask: “According to the last part of verse 14, why was God going to replace Saul?” (because he did not obey the Lord’s commands).
    • Summarize: Saul’s disobedience cost him the continuation of his kingdom. The Lord promised to choose a man after His own heart to replace Saul.
  4. Saul’s Partial Obedience (Which is Actually Disobedience).
    • Explain the following:
      • In chapter 14, Saul and his army stayed home while Jonathan bravely defeated a Philistine garrison.
      • Later, Saul foolishly ordered that if any of his men ate anything before nightfall they would be put to death.
      • Jonathan didn’t know about the ridiculous order, so he ate some honey.
      • Saul tried to make himself look strong and powerful by ordering Jonathan’s execution.
      • Saul’s army overruled his foolish order because Jonathan was such a valiant warrior.
    • Read 1 Samuel 15:1-3.
    • Ask: “In the end of verse 1, what did Samuel tell Saul?” (hearken to the words of the Lord; in other words, obey what He says).
    • Ask: “What were God’s instructions to Saul?” (to completely annihilate the Amalekites).
    • Explain the following:
      • This decree of total annihilation sounds terrible to our modern minds, but God does not take lightly the offense of trying to destroy His chosen people, Israel (v. 2).
      • Modern haters of Israel should take note of this fact.
      • God may wait a long time in human years to exact judgment (in this case 400 years).
      • In time, however, the Lord will punish those who harm His people (Gen. 12:3).
      • Saul’s army fought and defeated the Amalekites.
    • Read 1 Samuel 15:8-9.
    • Ask: “Who and what did Saul and his soldiers spare?” (the Amalekite king Agag and the best of their animals).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 15:10-11.
    • Tell the students the Lord told Samuel that Saul had disobeyed, expressing sorrow He had chosen Saul to be king.
    • Ask: “How did Samuel feel about Saul’s failure?” (he was grieved and cried to the Lord all night).
    • Read 1 Samuel 15:12-13.
    • Ask: “What did Saul proudly announce to Samuel in verse 13?” (that he had done everything God commanded him to do).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 15:14.
    • Ask: “What did Samuel ask Saul, and why?” (he asked why he heard animal noises, since all the animals were supposed to be dead).
    • Read 1 Samuel 15:15.
    • Ask: “Who did Saul blame for sparing the animals?” (he again blamed his army).
    • Ask: “Why did he say they spared the animals?” (to sacrifice them to the Lord).
    • Summarize: Saul partially obeyed God’s instructions, but partial obedience is actually disobedience. He rationalized his actions by blaming his soldiers.
  5. Cost of Saul’s Partial Obedience.
    • Explain the following:
      • Samuel reminded Saul that God elevated him from being a nobody to being king.
      • Samuel reminded Saul that the Lord gave him very specific instructions.
      • Samuel asked why Saul hadn’t obeyed God’s instructions.
      • Saul again insisted that he had obeyed, but admitted that he spared Agag.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 15:21-23.
    • Ask: “Who did Saul blame for sparing the animals?” (his soldiers).
    • Ask: “Why did Saul say the soldiers spared the animals?” (to sacrifice them to the Lord).
    • Ask: “What did Samuel say in verse 22?” (the Lord cares more about obedience than sacrifice).
    • Tell the class this means if we live a life of disobedience to God, He doesn’t care how much money we give to the church or other Christian causes.
    • Ask: “According to verse 23, what does the Lord think about rebellion and stubbornness?” (it is the same as witchcraft, iniquity, and idolatry; see Ex. 22:18; Deut. 18:10).
    • Ask: “What was the cost of Saul rejecting the Word of the Lord?” (the Lord rejected Saul from being king).
    • Explain the following:
      • Saul admitted his sin (but still blamed his soldiers) and asked for forgiveness.
      • Samuel turned to leave, Saul grabbed his clothing, and a part of it tore off.
      • He told Saul that God had torn the kingdom from him.
      • Samuel then did Saul’s job of killing the Amalekite king.
      • Samuel went home, mourning over Saul’s disobedience and failure as king.
    • Summarize: The cost of Saul’s disobedience was that God rejected him from being king.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the class that this lesson is about Costly Disobedience.  Ask: “In what ways did Saul disobey God?” (first, he didn’t wait for Samuel to come offer sacrifices, but did it himself; secondly, he only partially obeyed God’s commands).  Remind the students that partial obedience is actually disobedience.

Ask: “What was the cost of Saul’s disobedience?” (first, his kingdom would not continue; secondly, God rejected him from being king).

Ask: “Are you disobeying God in some area of your life?  Is it in your church attendance, tithing, honesty, or moral behavior?  Whenever we disobey God, there will be costs.”

Tell the class that we can’t erase the consequences of our past disobedience, but we don’t have to continue in our current disobedience.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes, and tell them to ask God to point out any areas of disobedience in their lives.  Urge them to confess their sin and ask for God’s forgiveness right now.  Allow a moment for silent prayer, and then voice a closing prayer.

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize 1 Samuel 15:22-23. Tell them to obey God in every way they know this week.  Tell them that disobedience just isn’t worth the cost!

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