07 Saul, The First King of Israel

UNIT #: 
Lesson Theme: 
Obedience is the Key to Victory and Success.

Saul's anointment by Samuel, putting God first over man's prideful ways

Bible Passage: 

1 Samuel 11:12-15

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

12 The people said to Samuel, “Who is it that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Give them to us so that we may put them to death.” 13 But Saul said, “No one shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has brought deliverance to Israel.”

14 Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed offerings of well-being before the Lord, and there Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.

Teacher’s Preparation: 

 Years before Saul’s rule, Samuel the prophet was Israel’s religious leader. In fact, Israel was ruled by judges who presided over domestic squabbles. They were not, however, equipped to rule in times of war.
God’s people wanted a king instead of God to lead them. God heard their cries. It became Samuel’s task to anoint a king from among the people. Saul was secretly anointed the first king of all the tribes of Israel

Saul came from the tribe of Benjamin, one of the smallest tribes in all Israel. From a tribe seeming to have little significance, God chose the first King of  Israel. His name, Saul, means “prayed for” and he was said to be young and handsome. He was a tall man and size and beauty were highly valued in rulers as signs of manly strength. 

Samuel told Saul that God chose him to rule over Israel. Saul was surprised and humble. He did not come from a powerful family and he did not of himself as a king. God changed Saul heart and he became a great leader of God's people. Samuel advised Saul that he must obey God if he wanted to be successful  as the king of Israel.

Slowly, Saul stopped relying on God and started doing things the way he thought it should be done. 

Saul’s life ended in a sad way – he was defeated by the Philistines, the sworn enemies of Israel. Saul was a man who started very well but, sadly, ended very badly indeed!

Main Ideas: 

The people asked for a king and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin and he ruled for forty years. 

  • How did Saul come to know the Lord?

Saul was a young man who was obedient. Saul’s father Kish had misplaced some of his donkeys.  So he sent Saul to find the lost donkeys.  This is what the Lord used to establish Saul as king over Israel.  Saul went to Samuel and the Lord chose Saul and had Samuel anoint him king.  aul was humble, being little in his own eyes.  God changed the heart of Saul that day and he went and prophesied with the prophets when the Spirit of  the Lord fell upon him.

  • How did Saul turn away from the Lord?

            Sometime later, Saul acted foolishly.  Instead of waiting for Samuel to come and make sacrifices to the Lord, Saul offered the burnt offering himself.  This was during the battle with the Philistines.  The consequence for Saul not keeping the command of the Lord was that his kingdom would not endure.  Therefore, Samuel said to Saul, "The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you." (1 Samuel 13:14).

            Next, Saul really does evil in the eyes of the Lord.  When he fought against the Amalekites, he disobeyed.  Rather than completely destroying the Amalekites like the Lord had commanded, Saul saved their king, Agag, and some of the spoil to sacrifice to the Lord.  Then, Saul even had the boldness to tell Samuel that he had carried out the command of the Lord.  And the Lord regretted having made Saul king.  This instance and the previous one were both blatant disregards of God's commands. Saul was concerned for his own glory and not God's.  He displayed this again right after he sinned by asking Samuel to honor him before the elders of the people.  He was not a man after God's own heart.  Saul had turned aside from the Lord and let sin become his master.

  • What were the consequences of Saul's rebellion?

            In the end, the kingdom of Israel was taken away from Saul and his descendants, and Saul and his sons died in battle with the Philistines.  "So Saul died for his trespasses which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord.  Therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse" (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).  Saul was cut off because of his rebellion to the Lord's commands.


Lesson Review: 


  1. Who ruled, judged, and fought for Israel? 
  2. How did this make the Israelites different from all other nations? 
  3. Why did the Israelites say they wanted a king? 
  4. What did God say was the real reason they wanted a human king? 
  5. After God warned the people, through Samuel, of what would happen if they had a human king, did the Israelites still want one? 


Values for Life: 
  1. God must be the Lord of our life.
  2. We must make God's will our will.
  3. Lead our lives such that we bring glory and honor to God


Life Response/My Decision: 

  Our success in life will be dependent on our obedience to God. The Lord's word tells us what we should and should not do. We must also be on guard so that we do not get on our own program and disregard the Lord, as Saul did.  For it is written, "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your body, and refreshment to your bones" (Proverbs 3:7-8).

Memory Verse: 

Matthew 6:33

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Closing Prayer: 
 Dear God, help me to hide Your word in my heart so that I won’t sin against You.
Give me a humble, obedient spirit that desires to wholeheartedly obey Your commands.
 May I be diligent in seeking You so that I will not stray from Your commands.
scope and sequence



Revamped the lesson 

Publisher mistakenly copied teacher's preparation into the main ideas section and completely forgot the main ideas section. Please correct this in the future published copy