Genesis 39:6-12; Joshua 3:9-17; 1 Samuel 24:1-6; 1 Kings 12:1-16; Job 1:1-12; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
The Bible is one long story made up of many shorter stories. Knowing a story’s setting and historical context makes it easier to understand its people and principles.
Blank paper, crayons, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Fold paper in half as though it were a book. Draw a scene on the front that depicts your favorite childhood story. Take turns showing your “book cover” to the class, explaining why this was your favorite story.
- Take turns discussing the last storybook that you read. What was the setting? What was the historical context? What made the characters interesting? What lessons did you learn from the book?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- When studying biblical people, why is it important to understand the historical background of their lives and the settings in which their stories were written?
- Thought Questions
Read Job 1:1-12. What is the plot of Job’s story?
1. A rich man faces troubles.
2. Whether or not Job will curse God if he loses everything he has
3. A conversation between God and Satan about who is allowed access to humans
4. A two-dimensional view of happenings both on earth and in heaven
5. The plot really has nothing to do with earthly characters, but rather is a supernatural controversy.
Read Genesis 39:6-12 and 1 Samuel 24:1-6. How does the setting add to our understanding of these two people?
1. Joseph worked hard and gained his master’s trust.
2. Joseph was a man of character who wanted to honor his earthly master and his God.
3. Joseph has access to everything in his master’s house, so it would have been easy for him to give in to his master’s wife’s seductions.
4. David didn’t listen to his men when he had the chance to capture or kill Saul.
5. David was faithful to his earthly king as well as his heavenly King.
Compare Joshua 3:9-17 and Judges 17:6. What do these verses tell us about Israel’s condition?
1. In Joshua, the people still acknowledged and respected their earthly and heavenly leaders.
2. In Joshua, the people still trusted the God of Moses to guide and protect them.
3. In Joshua, God was able to perform yet another miracle because the people had faith.
4. In Judges, there was no king, so there was no law and no order.
5. In Judges, there was no earthly king, so the people forgot about their heavenly King.
Read 1 Samuel 8:7-20. Where did the people go wrong, and how are we often like them?
1. They became impatient because things weren’t happening the way they thought they should.
2. They wanted their plan, not God’s.
3. In a sense, they gave in to “peer pressure,” saying they wanted to be like the other nations.
4. They completely ignored God’s warnings because they simply weren’t paying attention.
5. When our prayers go unanswered, we get tired of waiting for God to act, so we act.
Applying the Message of the Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
Option 1: Choose a story from the Old Testament in which a person made a bad choice. Briefly rewrite the story to show how a better choice might have changed the course of history.
Option 2: Think of your family as a “people”—like the children of Israel. Is your family following God’s leading? Is it making productive choices? Has it wandered from God? How can you become its spiritual leader?
Option 3: Choose a favorite Old Testament character. What is it about his or her life that makes this person your favorite? Can you relate to this person in some way? How or why?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
A. Rethink the stories of Joseph and David. Ask yourself: Compared to Joseph and David, how well do I resist temptation? How could they be so strong? Their strength came from their close, daily connection to God. It came through their disciplined lives. It came from practicing the word “No.” Read more about their lives and aim to follow their examples.
B. The people of Israel insisted they wanted a king because they wanted to be like the other nations. Do you find yourself blocking out God’s Word and insisting on having something you know you shouldn’t have? If so, begin to pray about the matter. Ask for God’s guidance and search for it through prayer, Bible study, and conversations with trusted Christian friends.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
Numbers 13; 14; Joshua 14; Judges 1:12-15