Friday, July 18, 2014

Lesson - King Saul, Jonathan, and the Philistines

VERSES:   1 Samuel 14:1-52

MEMORY VERSE:   1 Samuel 14:52   "And there was sore war against all the Philistines all the days of Saul..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   It is a good thing to know the books of the Bible. When a child or an adult knows the 66 books, they can feel comfortable knowing how to navigate through the Bible. It is beneficial knowing which books are in the front of the Bible, which books are in the back, if there is an 's' after the word Revelation (there is not!).  By knowing the books of the Bible, we can, with confidence, know if the story of Jonah in the Old or New Testament, we can follow along when the preacher or speaker refers to books in the Bible, we can make sure the speaker is reciting the scriptures correctly, and the list goes on. But it all begins with reciting the books of the Bible.  Sixty-six books is not a lot to remember in this world. Children are able to memorize spelling words and historical dates in school, so, surely, they can learn God's Word as well. Review the books of the Bible until all can recite from memory.

PRAYER:   May we never make any rash, unthinking statements that we regret at a later time. Let us guard our words because we know that "words live on after we are gone."

SPECIAL SONG:   Be Patient And Kind (see April - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him on this blog).  The Books Of The Old Testament and The Books Of The New Testament (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog).

VISUAL AID:   Draw on whiteboard or chalkboard "ARMY COMPARISONS", then under that title, divide the board in half with a line. On one side write "Philistines" and on the other side write "Israelites." Copy Activity below. (See picture above).

  • Last time we left King Saul and his son, Jonathan, preparing to fight thousands of Philistines with only 600 Israelite soldiers. (1 Samuel 13:15, 22). Sometimes we wonder why numbers have never mattered to the LORD, but they never have as we can see in this lesson.
  • As time passed with the Philistine army waiting, Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, or the one who carried his huge shield, "Let's go over to the Philistines' garrison on the other side" and they did, but no one knew they left. In the meantime, King Saul was under a pomegranate tree with his 600 soldiers, waiting.
  • Where Jonathan was going, there were two passages with sharp rocks on each side. Jonathan told his armor-bearer that they should get closer to the garrison because no one could stop the LORD if there were many or a few. Jonathan said they would show themselves to the Philistines and not hide. If the Philistines said to wait there and they would come to Jonathan, then Jonathan and his armor-bearer would stand still and not go with them, but if the Philistines said to come on over to them, then it will be a sign from the LORD that the Philistines would be delivered to Jonathan.
  • When Jonathan and his armor-bearer did not hide themselves from the Philistines and the Philistines saw them, the Philistines said, "Come over here!" HA! What did that mean? That's right! The LORD would deliver the Philistines into the hand of Jonathan! Jonathan was very brave because he knew the LORD was with him! Jonathan told his armor-bearer to follow him and up they went and they killed twenty bad Philistines. Then something happened! The earth started shaking! It was a great earthquake! It frightened the huge Philistine army so much that they turned around and ran away!
  • Meanwhile, King Saul asked for a count of how many soldiers were still there and the only ones who were missing were Jonathan and his armor-bearer. King Saul heard the noise of the Philistines trying to get away. Quickly, King Saul organized his army and they went after the Philistines and the LORD saved Israel that day.
  • It should have been a time of celebration, but King Saul had given a command that greatly affected his men. He had said that they should not eat anything until evening that day, so that he could avenge his enemies, so no one ate any food. As they went through the woods, the men saw honey on the ground, but no one ate any of it because of King Saul's oath even though they were very weak and felt faint from hunger. 
  • But Jonathan had not heard his father give that command because he was off fighting the Philistines and winning the battle, so when he came through those same woods and saw the honey, he didn't think one thing about it. He reached down and scooped up some honey with his hand and ate it. Because he ate the honey, he regained his strength and wasn't weak anymore. When a soldier told Jonathan about his father's command, Jonathan was a little upset. He said that his father had troubled the land and that if the men had eaten some of the honey, then there would have been an even bigger victory over the Philistines because the men would not have been weak and faint. His father, at this time, still did not know that Jonathan had eaten that day.
  • After their evening meal, Saul had the idea of going to finish off the Philistines, but found that there was sin in the camp. The LORD showed King Saul that it was his own son that had sinned and broken King Saul's command. When King Saul asked Jonathan what sin he had done, Jonathan answered by saying that he had only tasted a little honey and, because of it, he must die. Saul would have put his own son to death, but the people saved Jonathan that day. They asked why should Jonathan die when he had won such a great victory for Israel? They said no one would touch his hair that day because he won the victory with God's help. So, King Saul stopped fighting the Philistines and the Philistines went on back to their homes.
  • Saul continued being king over Israel, but he was fighting all the time. All of his neighbors were his enemies and the Bible says that King Saul was at war with the Philistines all the days of his life. (1 Samuel 14:52).
"Older Student" Tips:

  • God has never been concerned with numbers. In fact, God always liked to use a small number, so the people would not think that they had done a great thing. They would know that the LORD had been with them. How many examples can be named? Gideon and his brave 300 men, Samson and the Philistines in the temple, King Saul and his 600 soldiers, etc.

ACTIVITY:  Army Comparisons
Materials needed:  12" x 18" red construction paper, 9" x 12" blue construction paper, 2" x 18" white paper, glue, crayons, marker.

  1. Pass out red and blue paper.
  2. Glue blue paper on right side of red paper.  (If you are short on paper, you can tape one 9" x 12" red paper and one 9" x 12" blue paper down the middle of backs of papers.)
  3. Write "Philistines" at the top of the red paper.
  4. Write "Israelites" at the top of the blue paper.
  5. Pass out white paper and glue to bottom of bottom of red and blue paper.
  6. On the red side with bullets, write "30,000 chariots", "6,000 horsemen", and "Like the sea on the seashore - people". (Drawing small figures adds personality to a chart.)
  7. On the blue side with bullets, write "King Saul", "Jonathan and 600 soldiers" and "earthquake" and "God's Help".
  8. Write "Numbers Mean NOTHING to God!" and "1 Samuel 14" on white paper.