Samuel lays out the dysfunctional relationship the Israelites have with God: You cry out, God rescues, you forget God, God disciplines you, and then you cry out again, and then the cycle repeats. How does this pattern resonate with you? What causes you to forget God after he rescues you?
What are you most fearful of? How do you act out in response to fear? Have you noticed any patterns in your life when you are fearful of the wrong things? (E.g. overly controlling, make hasty decisions, arrogant and forgetful of the call to live a quiet, faithful life)
In response to your own sin, do you tend to minimize it, act like it is not a big deal, or become paralyzed with guilt and shame? What are some ways that you do that? What does it look like for you to move forward in faithfulness and repentance?
God is at the same time severe, merciful, and kind. How does this change your understanding of the fear of God? In what ways does this affect your everyday life?
God gives the people the king they want, but the King they need is all-powerful, righteous, and benevolent—King Jesus.
Although we often find ourselves in the destructive cycle of crying out, God rescuing, us forgetting God, God disciplining us, and then repeating the cycle, we continue to forget him because we get fearful.
Fear causes us to be overly controlling, make hasty decisions, and be arrogant as we forget what it means to live a quiet, faithful life.
The Lord gave the Israelites something that he did not want to give; although he is sovereign, he is simultaneously in a real, personal relationship with his people.
If you have made a decision that you realize was for the wrong motivation, what do you do now? You can’t roll back time. But you can move forward and live a faithful life.
The problem with idols is that they give us the illusion and allure of control and comfort that we can see and touch.
We are entirely dependent on God’s kindness and faithfulness which are not in doubt.
God is at the same time severe and merciful.
Fear of God is not just a respect for God but an understanding that God is both kind and severe.