This lesson was taught at WEPC Kids Club on January 8, 2020.
Main Theme of whole year: “King David shows us Jesus!” He does it by showing us what a good king looks like! He does it also by showing us that even good people do terrible things and we need Jesus! God rescues good people and God rescues bad people.
An Elementary School Lesson on 1 Samuel 27-31
Into the Box
Every week, we look in the box to discover what we are learning about this week.
Pull out board that says END.
This doesn’t sound good. Uh oh. It means TWO ENDS – (1) it’s the end of the first book of Samuel, and (2) it’s the end of… well… lets’ find out.
We last saw David in the wilderness. He traveled all over the countryside, into different Judean towns, into caves, and being pursued by King Saul. Many fighting men came to join David.
1 Samuel 26 ends with Saul going back to Jerusalem and David heading back into the wilderness. They are at a STALEMATE. No peace, but no war.
1 Samuel 27 opens with this proclamation by David, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”
Chapters 23-26 (we looked at last time), all the action took place in the wilderness of Judea. For the remainder of 1 Samul, all of the action takes place in another country – in Gentile country, in Philistine country!
David is EXILED.
And the Philistine king, Achish, and David have an interesting relationship. (David settles in the town of Ziklag, promises to fight Israel, but instead fights the traditional enemies of God’s people. Was this wrong to lie to Achish?
1 Samuel 28 – But it comes to a head. Achish asks David to join him on a campaign against Israel.
28:1 In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, “Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army.”
He can’t avoid it any longer. What will David do?
28:2 David said to Achish, “Very well, you shall know what your servant can do.”
CLIFFHANGER because it switches back to Saul.
Saul sees the Philistine army coming for him (is David in the Philistine army at this point? We don’t know!)! Saul gathers his army, but he is SCARED.
What should you do when you are scared? Pray! Seek wisdom in God’s word!
What does Saul do? He goes to a SUPERSTITION. (Leaders note: I’m not going to discuss Saul going to a medium (witch), or that Samuel’s apparition comes to speak to Saul. That will be too scary for our little ones. Instead, we will focus on Saul’s attempt to find the answers of life OUTSIDE of God’s revealed will.) Without going into detail, Saul attempts to (1) find answers of the will of God, and attempts to (2) make God give him a victory through superstition.
You and I do this all of the time.
When we are scared, we should pray to the Living God, and listen to His voice in the Bible. That’s what we should do. But sometimes, you and I do something different.
If we want to win the baseball game, we have to wear the exact same shirt or socks we wore the last time we won a game.
If we want to find God’s voice in our life, we look for signs in the world, in the music that is played, or in shape of clouds, or in the constellation of stars… But where is the voice of God? In the Bible! We need to listen to it… and believe it, trust it, obey it.
In the end, Saul’s superstition actually made him even more scared. “28:20 Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear.”
1 Samuel 29 – back to the Philistine camp. What will David do?
Well… before David can answer, some of the other Philistine generals had something to say about this. After all, David had killed thousands of Philistines, including Goliath. Do you think they liked David? They didn’t want to fight with him! Nearly the same time, ANOTHER ENEMY, the Amalekites attacked David’s town in Philistine, Ziklag. So… David and his men, leave the front line against Israel and go have war against the Amalekites. David didn’t have to fight against his own people!
Chapters 29-30 discuss David’s battle against the Amalekites. David fought heroically, and 30:6 says “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” And the following verse shows David seeking God’s will. Where Saul tried to strengthen himself in superstition, David found strength in the LORD his God and in listening for God’s voice in His word.
Speaking of King Saul, 1 Samuel 31 – the last chapter of 1 Samuel – the action returns back to him and the battle of Israel against the Philistines.
Mount Gilboa. Only one verse about the actual battle: “31:1 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa.”
King Saul dies. And so does, sadly, Prince Jonathan, Saul’s son David’s good friend.
And so the book ends with the Philistines winning a great battle! The king of Israel and his son, the supposed successor, both dead. And David in exile.
Remember, we see in this final chapters of 1 Samuel that Saul tried to find comfort and answers in superstition, where David tried to find comfort and answers in the LORD.
Point to Jesus
This sounds like a sad ending. It kind of is. But remember two things…
- When one thing ends, something else is beginning. When it looks hopeless, it means that God has something more on the horizon.
- Jesus in the tomb was dead…. But Jesus wins.
- The LORD God is always reigning as king of the universe. And God is always bringing glory to Himself, and redeeming His people.
- He loves you. When it looks dark, we can find the light in Jesus and His word.
Broken in the Box:
- What did we learn about today? END
- It was the end of King Saul’s reign, but it is not the END…
- Break the END board
- While breaking it, say: “We need something else.”
- We need Jesus and the power He gives His people. Power to forgive, to love, to boldly move forward in life!
- At the end of the year, the first letters of each of the boards will scramble to spell: “King David Shows Us Jesus!”
DEEPER INTO THE SCRIPTURE & INTO THE LIVES OF THE KIDS
- What superstitions do you have? Are they harmless or harmful?
- What role does the Bible play in your life? Do you read it? Do you try to memorize it?
- When do you need to be comforted? Is Jesus comforting to you?
- When do you need to have answers? Does Jesus give you answers?
- Does God speak to you today? (Yes – in His Word)