1 Samuel: A King Like the Nations

Sermon & Small Group Resources

This is the third sermon in our series on 1 Samuel ‘In Search of a King’. Preacher: The Rev’d David Browne. Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 8.

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

Next Steps this Week


When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”


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CONNECT: What situation do you need to bring before God this week?

WARM-UP Question

  1. If you had to pick a leader from anywhere in the world today to rule Australia, who would you choose and why?

READ 1 Samuel 8:1-9

  1. What cycle is repeating itself in v.1-3 (see 1 Samuel 2:12-17)? Why were the elders so anxious?

  2. Why is Samuel so offended by the people’s request for a king? 

  3. Read Deuteronomy 17:14-20. Did the people want the type of king described in Deuteronomy?

  4. How are the people rejecting the LORD as their King? Why does he tell Samuel to ‘listen to them’?

  5. In what ways do we reject the LORD as King over us today? How can we stop doing this?

READ 1 Samuel 8:10-18

  1. Make a list of the things Samuel says a king will do. How do rulers today perpetuate this cycle of taking? 

  2. What experiences of kings have the people of Israel had in their history? Should they know better?

  3. The people wanted a king to bring justice to their land. What will this kind of king bring?

  4. Summarise: 1 Samuel 14:52; 2 Samuel 15:1; 2 Chronicles 2:17-18; 1 Kings 21:5-16; 1 Kings 9:10-14; 1 Kings 12:1-16. How do Israel’s future kings fulfil Samuel’s prophetic warning?

  5. How is Jesus better than the ‘kings’ and ‘functional saviours’ look to to save us today?

READ 1 Samuel 8:19-21

  1. Why do you think the people ignore Samuel’s warning and insist on having a king?

  2. What do you make of the way the people speak with Samuel and then Samuel speaks with the LORD? Does it seem like the people have a personal relationship with the LORD? 

  3. Why do you think the Lord decides to give the people a king? Is the LORD abandoning his people or is there justice and mercy in his actions?

  4. How can 1 Samuel 8 influence how we speak and relate with God?

APPLY This Week: As we disciple those around us, how can we correct misconceptions and speak into people’s doubts about whether to make Jesus king of their lives?


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: Almighty God, KING of Kings and LORD of Lords we thank and praise you that you are a merciful king who forgives us when we reject you and saves us when we enslave ourselves to sin. Help us to trust you, obey you, and please enthrone yourself in our hearts by your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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. 

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