What big change was going on in you—or in your world—when you were age 30? If you are not yet 30, what do you hope will change in that milestone year?


Samuel, a pivotal king-making priest and prophet (formerly known as a “seer”), anoints Saul as king—something the Israelites want, to be like their surrounding nations. This happens just as God instructs (1 Samuel 9–10), but to desire a king is to reject God. Granting them a king represents a concession by a merciful God. Saul hesitates to become King and tries to hide on the day of his anointing. Nonetheless, he stands out—literally, as he is a foot taller than everyone else.

Gifted by the Spirit and experiencing new-found authority, Saul’s reign begins well by crediting and trusting God. But he confuses the roles of king, prophet, and priest by not waiting for Samuel to arrive at Gilgal (10:8); instead, Saul takes on the prescribed priestly prerogatives himself. For this lack of restraint, Saul is rebuked by Samuel.

In becoming king at age 30, Saul soon attacks the Philistines. Israel is vastly outnumbered and underequipped by the Philistines, who have 3000 chariots. Saul’s premature, foolish move is why his reign is cut short and given to “a man after God’s heart,” who (we learn later) is David (13:14; 16:7).


God’s Story

Have someone read that war story in 1 Samuel 13: 1-15. Read it straight through with dramatic flair.


Finding My Story in God’s Story

Had you been in Saul’s army, how would you have reacted?

  1. Hiding in the back, so no one drafts me.
  2. Picking another hill to die on.
  3. Going AWOL.
  4. Shaking with fear but hanging in there.
  5. Other __________.


What do you suppose is so “foolish” about what Saul did—or didn’t do?

  1. Not waiting the full “seven days,” as instructed, Saul usurps Samuel’s priestly role.
  2. Saul was more interested in using God than obeying God.
  3. Saul did not consult the Lord or count the cost before engaging.
  4. When in doubt, don’t—yet without direction Saul acted anyway.
  5. Other __________.


What are the consequences for acting so foolishly?

  1. The enemy raids their land and possessions.
  2. His family’s role in the kingdom is cut short.
  3. A door of opportunity opens for son Jonathan.
  4. He loses the battle, but Israel will ultimately win the war.
  5. Other __________.


In starting this war, it seems Saul leaped before he looked, hoping God would bail him out. When have you been in an unclear “What-do-I-do-now?” situation? What happened?


Our Story


How is God directing you in a significant decision you’re facing right now? Or is he silent?


Who is the “Samuel” in your life? And what is he/she telling you?


From hearing Samuel rebuke Saul, what is God asking you to do this week?

  1. Identify and speak up to the “Saul” in my life who is acting foolishly: ____________.
  2. Identify and listen to the “Samuel” in my life whenever I act foolishly: ____________.
  3. Do not take matters into my own hands, but trust God for: ____________.
  4. Take a wise next step in the decision I am facing. (Follow through on question #7)
  5. Other


Pair off within your group and pray about those next steps (identified in Question # 9).