1 Samuel: The King is Dead, Long Live the True King!

Sermon & Small Group Resources

This is the final sermon in our series on 1 Samuel ‘In Search of a King’. Preacher: The Rev’d Adam Lowe. Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 28-31.

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

Next Steps this Week

BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 28:3-19 & 1 Samuel 30:7-25

1 SAMUEL 29:3-19

Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land.

The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.”

“There is one in Endor, ” they said.

So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”

But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”

Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.”

Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”

“Bring up Samuel,” he said.

When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”

The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.”

“What does he look like?” he asked.

“An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.

Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”

“I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”

Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”

1 SAMUEL 30:7-25

Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod. ” Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”

“Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue. ”

David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit.

They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat— part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.

David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?”

He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.”

David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?”

He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.”

He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled. David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.”

Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Valley. They came out to meet David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were. But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.”

David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike. ” David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this.


Download in PDF format.

CONNECT: As you trust in the Lord, how can you grow this week in either patience, endurance, or hope?

WARM-UP Question

  1. Why does the sincerity of heart matter so much in relationships? Why does it matter to God?

READ 1 Samuel 28:3-19

  1. As the chapter begins, what is the state of the nation at this point?

  2. How does the narrator of first Samuel describe how Saul was feeling about the Philistines? Considering Saul had faced enemies such as these many times before, why do you think he felt this way?

  3. As Saul goes to the Lord, why does the Lord not answer? In response to not hearing God, what could have been some good options for Saul to pursue?

  4. Do you ever feel like God is silent? Because of Jesus, how is our situation different? When feeling distant from God, what should be our response?

  5. How does Saul respond to the silence from God? What is so tragically wrong about this?

  6. Was the warning from Samuel new information to Saul? How does this show that a heart dependent only on oneself leads to destruction?

  7. Do you ever think that you can do it on your own without God? What do you think encourages this sort of thinking? What might encourage us to daily express our dependence on Jesus?

  8. How does Saul’s rebellion against God ultimately lead to his own destruction?

READ 1 Samuel 30:7-25

  1. What is different (compared to Saul) as David seeks the Lord’s guidance? Why is David not afraid of the situation compared to Saul?

  2. When you are in distress, what helps you to call out to the Lord?

  3. How is David’s generosity towards even those who had not fought different to to the approach of other’s at the time? How does Jesus demonstrate a radical and undeserved generosity towards us?

  4. First Samuel really charts the lives of two people who have a fundamentally different approach to God? How would you describe your heart towards God?

APPLY: How do you demonstrate a daily dependence on the Lord?


Loving Father, thank you so much that in Jesus we find our good, gracious, dependable, and generous King. Please help us to grow in our dependence, that our hearts might heart for you and you alone. Thank you that we can know your voice through your Word, and be assured of your presence through your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 


On Your Frontline This Week: What does following Jesus have to do with leadership? Listen to a great talk from George Savvides from our first frontline breakfast last week: http://bit.ly/2L0RTCA

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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