1 Samuel: God is King

Sermon & Small Group Resources

This is the second sermon in our series on 1 Samuel ‘In Search of a King’. Preacher: The Rev’d Dr Daniel Rouhead. Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 4-7.

Download the Small Group Questions, Going Deeper, and Sermon Transcript (PDF).

Next Steps this Week

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 5:1-6, 7:1-6

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

The hand of the LORD was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory.

1 Samuel 7

And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the LORD and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the LORD. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only.

Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the LORD and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.


Download in PDF format.

CONNECT: How is your trust in God, fear of God, and listening to God going?

WARM-UP Questions

  1. Have you ever been chosen for a special role or task? How did you respond? If you have time, watch this short clip from Surf’s Up.

  2. Why are we so fascinated with the Royal Family? What do we expect from earthly kings and queens?

READ 1 Samuel 4:1-11

  1. Why were the Israelites defeated in the first battle? How should they have approached the battle?

  2. How did the Israelites respond after the first defeat? What was their solution?

  3. Why was the ark of the covenant important? What did the Israelites hope would be achieved by bringing the ark of the covenant to the battle?

  4. Why did the Israelites lose the second battle? Why was the ark lost to the Philistines?

  5. Can you think of a time when you have wanted God’s power or intervention but not God?

READ 1 Samuel 5:1-9

  1. Why did the Philistines place the ark of the covenant next to the statue of Dagon?

  2. Dagon’s statue fell before the ark of the covenant and was damaged. What did this signify?

  3. Many people in the town’s when the ark was taken died or were afflicted with tumours. What did this signify?

  4. When the ark was returned, 70 of the Israelites were punished for looking into the ark (see 6:19-20). Why did God punish them so severely?

  5. We worship a living God. What difference does this make?

READ 1 Samuel 7:2-11

  1. Once the ark is returned, how do the people respond? What is Samuel’s role?

  2. How can we tell if the Israelite’s repentance is genuine?

  3. What does Israel’s victory tell us about God? Who won the battle?

  4. The Israelites experienced peace under the leadership of Samuel. How can we experience peace? How is it different to the peace experienced by Israel?

APPLY This Week: What situation do you need to bring before God this week?


Heavenly Father, we thank-you for your steadfastness and faithfulness. We give thanks for Jesus’ death and resurrection, and acknowledge him as King of King and Lord of Lords. Help us to recognise by your Spirit that you are King over all things and humbly seek you each and every day. Amen.


On Your Frontline This Week: God uses our prayers to transform us, our families, our work, our city and world. Come along to our Prayer Night on 13 May to partner as a church to pray for these places.

Audio and Video 

Key Resource

  • 1 Samuel For You” by Tim Chester is an excellent introduction to 1 Samuel that will be suitable for people reading at a range of levels. The guide includes helpful discussion of the content of 1 Samuel, along with plenty of practical and devotional application. Watch an introduction to the book by Tim Chester. 

Other Helpful Books, Articles, and Courses