828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday June 10 - 1 Samuel 8:4-20, 11:14-15; Israel Demands a King

June 10, 2012, 2 Pentecost
1 Samuel 8:4-20, 11:14-15
Israel Demands a King
Background: The book of 1 Samuel is considered part of the Deuteronomistic history; among its functions is to introduce the transition from the divinely selected judges as leaders in Israel to the secular kingship as leaders. The continuing story of Israel’s apostasy is laced through the opening portion of 1 Samuel culminating with their demand from Samuel to tell God they want a king like the other nations.

Theme: This passage helps designate Samuel’s successor as the leader of Israel. After the people demand a king Samuel intercedes with God and God “relents” to let Israel have their king, as long as they realize what they are getting into. The writer implies that this demand may simply be the next step in the recurring cycle of apostasy by God’s chosen people.

Questions to Ponder

* Describe the setting of this passage to include social, political, and religious relationships.

* What is the significance of the places named in this passage: Ramah and Gilgal? What might the significance of a city named Mizpah be? (A reference to Mizpah can be found in 1 Sam 7:2-17)

* How had Samuel been successful in defending Israel against its oppressors prior to the elders’ request for a king?

* What justification is offered by “all the elders” to demand a king of Samuel?

* What do you see as a principal issue with the elder’s demand to have Samuel “appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.”?

* Why do you think Samuel took their request personally?

* What, if anything, about God’s response to Samuel strikes you as odd?

* How might this request be seen as a continuation of Israel’s continuing rejection of God since the Exodus?

* Why might God tell Samuel to “warn them (the elders and all Israel)”?

* What is disturbing about the six items identified by Samuel as the traits of future kings in Israel? Do you think these traits were demonstrated by future kings or rulers in Israel?

* Do you think the one-tenth that will be taken by the king is in place of or in addition to the tithes that the people were supposed to give to God through the priests? Why might this be an issue to the people and to God?

* Why might the Israelites be so determined that they were willing to reject God’s leadership, even when they had been warned by Samuel?

* Do you think the king would, in fact, “govern us, go out before us, and fight our battles” as the elders propose in verse 20?

* Why might Samuel have told the Israelites to go to Gilgal to renew the kingship?

* What might be an issue with the Israelites sacrificing before the Lord?

* How do we demand “kings like the nations around us” today?

* What is the application of this passage to our community life at St. John’s?

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