1 Samuel: The Demise of Saul

Sermon & Small Group Resources

This is the seventh sermon in our series on 1 Samuel ‘In Search of a King’. Preacher: The Rev’d Adam Lowe. Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 18-20

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

Next Steps this Week

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 20:24-34

So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat. He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean.” But the next day, the second day of the month, David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”

Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”

Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”

“Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.


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CONNECT: How can the account of David and Goliath and the example of Jesus inform the way you live as a disciple maker this week?

WARM-UP Question

  1. What is significant about a friendship between two followers of Jesus? How should it be different?

READ 1 Samuel 18:1-9

  1. What was the significance of Jonathan giving his clothes to David? What was this foreshadowing?

  2. In what ways is it necessary for us to lay down our own self-importance before Jesus as the true King?

READ 1 Samuel 18:10-16

  1. Can you identify (in this chapter) all of the ways in which David is superior to Saul?

  2. Why do you think it bothers Saul so much that the Lord is with David?

  3. As you scan through chapters 18 and 19, can you find all of the ways in which Saul responds?

  4. What do you think would have been the best way for Saul to respond to this situation?

  5. Why do you think Saul struggled to get ‘on board’ with all that God was doing through David?
    Do you think that you ever resist God’s will and purpose? How so?

  6. Do you think jealousy can be a problem for Christians? Should it be? Why or why not?

  7. If we delight ultimately in God’s purposes, how does that practically cause us to delight in how God is at work in others, even if we struggle to see how he is at work in us?

  8. When we find ourselves jealous, how should we respond? (Feel free to share an example) 

READ 1 Samuel 20:26-36

  1. How does Jonathan rescue David through this incident? How else has David evaded Saul so far?

  2. How is it evident that God is the ultimate one behind David being kept safe?

  3. What does this teach us about God’s capacity to accomplish his purposes and promises?

  4. If Jesus is the ultimate shield and protector, does this mean that we will be kept from all harm?
    How does this relate to God’s plans being accomplished in us?

  5. What promises from Jesus can we be certain will be fulfilled? How has he covenanted this with us?

APPLY: What is one aspect of self-importance that you can hand over to Jesus this week?


Gracious Father, we thank you that you have promised to save us through your son. Please help us to divest ourselves of all self importance, that we might run to the Lord Jesus, seek his forgiveness, and delight in all that you are doing in the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 


On Your Frontline This Week: What are you reading that is helping you to grow as a disciple maker? There are some books from FOCUS that would be helpful for all ages. Check them out here.

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