This Study Guide is for the Obedience article by Ken Boa. Read it first.
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The Men’s Bible Study Leadership Series is presented by bible.org to help you build and fortify men in preparation for their roles as leaders in their families, churches, communities, and workplaces.
It is a leadership series because no matter what age or station in life a man finds himself, he is called to lead. Leadership hates a vacuum. If a man of God doesn’t stand up and lead, then someone else will and the consequences can be drastic for generations.
It is also a discipleship series because building men’s leadership requires ongoing personal relationships with someone who will shepherd and mentor them over the long term. Just as Christ lived in a community of relationship with His disciples, preparing them to lead, so too must we if we are to grow and be effective.
There are sixteen lessons that are designed to be conducted over a thirty-two week period. Your group should meet weekly at a specific time and place. First, participants should be expected to read all of the Scripture verses thoroughly, on a daily basis, and be encouraged to meditate on them. Second, they should read the article carefully and look for aspects of it that impact them personally. Third, they should complete the discussion questions thoughtfully, completely, and honestly, and diligently address personal applications. Finally, they should be prepared to share their answers during your group sessions.
The articles used in this series are written by Dr. Kenneth Boa. Dr. Boa is engaged in a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England.
By the time your group has finished this series, relationships and spiritual bonds should have formed. Authentic spiritual interdependence will be experienced, and men will know they are not alone in being who and what God wants them to be. It will be critical for the group to either stay together for the next series, or to stay in close touch weekly to continue the shepherding experience and forming true Christian brotherhood.
Leadership Qualities: Obedience to God
Saul disobeys the Lord, blames others, and is rejected as king.
Read “Leadership Qualities: Obedience to God” by Ken Boa and listen to his audio message online.
1. What did you learn in this message that you applied to your life this week?
2. Explain the “Gethsemane mindset” as it is described in the message.
Read 1 Samuel 15:1-3.
As chapter 15 opens, the prophet Samuel brings a critical message to King Saul. We recall that Samuel had anointed Saul as king at the direction of the LORD. Now, the Lord has a direct command for Saul and delivers it through Samuel. The Amalekites are enemies of Israel and had been a hindrance to them when the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt. The LORD now commands Saul to kill all the Amalekites, including their women and children, and all of their livestock.
3. Has God ever directed you to do something that seemed impossible? What was it?
4. Is God directing you to do something now that appears too big or too outlandish? What is it?
Read 1 Samuel 15:4-12.
Saul goes to war against the Amalekites and sets an ambush against them. But, Saul redefines the Lord’s command. Instead of killing all Amalekites, he spares their king, Agag. Instead of slaughtering all their livestock, he saves the best animals. Then, he goes to Carmel and erects a monument to himself.
5. Why do you think Saul decided to spare King Agag?
6. What do you think were Saul’s reasons for keeping the best livestock, even after he was told to slaughter them all?
7. In what areas in your life do you redefine your obedience to God?
8. How do you rationalize your “redefined” obedience?
9. In what areas of your life do you have the most difficulty obeying God?
Read 1 Samuel 15:13-20
The LORD regrets that He made Saul king. He reveals His feelings to Samuel. When Samuel confronts him, Saul immediately protests his innocence. He claims that he kept the prize sheep and cattle so he could make a sacrifice to Samuel’s LORD. Besides, he claims it really wasn’t his idea in the first place. He blames his army.
10. How did Saul try to rationalize that his disobedience was really obedience?
11. How do you rationalize when you are disobedient and don’t want to admit it?
12. In what way do you believe that living a completely obedient life can cost you your career, friendships, and social status?
13. In what areas are you using your hard work, sacrifice, or generosity to make up for being disobedient?
Read 1 Samuel 15:21-35.
Samuel rebukes Saul, declaring that the LORD values obedience over sacrifice and rejects rebellious and presumptuous leaders as sorcerers and idolaters. The Lord rejects Saul as king, promising to anoint another. Saul pleads with Samuel, saying that the real reason he was disobedient was his fear of the men in his army. Nevertheless, Samuel tells Saul that the LORD does not go back on His word and that he indeed was rejected.
14. God regards the sins of rebellion and presumption as sorcery and idolatry. Where are you being rebellious or presumptuous in your life?
15. What must you give up in order to be obedient to God in all things?
16. What monuments to yourself must you tear down?
17. Specifically, what price must you pay to be obedient to God in all areas of your life?
Christ sets the ultimate standard for obedience.
Read Matthew 26: 36 – 39.
Jesus knows that the hour has come when He will be betrayed, mocked, scourged, stripped naked, nailed to the cross, forsaken by His Father, and die. As the Son of God, Jesus has the power to do whatever He wants. During His agony in Gethsemane, Jesus is in brutal anguish and distress. He throws Himself to the ground and calls out to His Father, “My Father, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will” (v. 39). And again He cries out, “My Father, if this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will must be done” (v. 42). In obedience, Jesus goes to the cross.
18. Is there a cup that God is calling you to drink? What is it?
19. What are you doing today that is a reflection of your will and not God’s will?
20. What steps are you taking today to be Christ-like in your obedience?
21. Who is helping you take these steps on a daily basis?
22. Will you seek that help today?
Going a little farther, he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.”