1. Describe a time when you had to confront a parent or older colleague who was no longer able to do his/her job. Perhaps it was no longer safe for them to do so.


Samuel had been the spiritual and judicial leader of Israel for many years. In his old age, he appointed his two sons to lighten his load and begin to serve with him. Bad idea! They both turned out to be corrupt. The country’s elder statesmen asked Samuel to appoint them a king so they could be like their neighboring nations. At first, Samuel resisted, but God told him to let the people find out, the hard way, what it would be like to have a king of their choosing instead of God himself. Nothing would change their mind, however, so Samuel began to set the selection process in order.

God’s Story

Have someone read aloud 1 Samuel 8:1-22.

Finding My Story in God’s Story

2. Get inside Samuel’s head. How would you have felt if a leadership team told you that you were too old to be in charge anymore and that your sons were unqualified to succeed you?

  • Depressed and miffed—I had the succession plan all worked out.
  • Confused and blindsided—what do they know (that I don’t) about my sons?
  • Embarrassed and ashamed of the job I had done as a father.
  • Glad I could finally take this job and shove it.
  • Other _________.

3. If you had overheard Samuel’s dialogue with God, what would you have thought?

  • I’d be amazed at Samuel’s resistance to letting go of leadership.
  • I’d cringe, afraid God would “fry” Samuel with a lightning bolt.
  • I’d ask why Samuel hadn’t done anything to correct his sons.
  • I’d learn all I could from the way Samuel and God talk back and forth.
  • Other __________.

4. Recall a time when someone (your boss, spouse, friend, or adult child) confronted you about the need for change because of something you did or failed to do. How did you respond?

  • Like Samuel, I got upset, resisted change, and told God.
  • I ghosted the person confronting me.
  • I realized they were right and thanked them for their courage to tell me.
  • I took stock of things, and came to the same realization, but on my own terms.
  • Other __________.

5. Wanting a king instead of a judge was just one more way the nation was rejecting God. Why would that be seen as a rejection of God?

  • God doesn’t like competitors of any kind.
  • God wanted Israel to be unique, unlike neighboring nations.
  • What’s the big deal—isn’t a warrior king an upgrade from a righteous judge?
  • God can still be sovereign over Israel under either form of government, right?
  • The issue wasn’t a “judge” vs. a “king,” but corrupt judges vs. the righteous Samuel.
  • Other __________.

6. Wanting a “king” that rivals God sets up a conflict of loyalties. Who or what functions as “king” over you?

  • My family—”if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
  • My work—if the boss says “Jump,” I ask, “How high?”
  • The why beneath what I do—fear, perfectionism, avoidance, imposter syndrome.
  • Sports—I gotta win at all costs and will do whatever that takes.
  • I worry about what others think and other things out of my control.
  • Other _________.

7. Make a “Note to Self” about something in today’s study that you will act on this week before it is forgotten. What will you write on the “Note?” And when will you get around to it?

Our Story

8. If you’re taking mental notes of what others are sharing, go to God now, asking for one thing on their behalf.

9. In what specific ways can this group encourage or support you this week?