Bible: 1 Samuel 10:1-9, 20-24

Bottom Line: Humbly focus on what God has said, even if God calls you in over your head.



A pole or yardstick for each team


This is a classic team-building game.

Separate group into teams (at least 5 or 6 on each team).

Have each member on a team bend their arms at a 90 degree angle.

Lay a pole or yardstick across their fingers so that each member’s fingers are touching it.

If at any time any member loses contact with the pole/stick, the team must start over, so you’ll need a volunteer watching each group.

The object is to lift the pole/stick over their heads.

First team to lift the stick without any member losing contact wins.


It’s funny how the simplest task can sometimes be the hardest to do!

Have you ever had what seems to be a simple task, but it causes a bunch of anxiety? Like – trying to pass a test, be accepted by a group of people, or make the team.

We worry about these things because they might reveal that we don’t measure up?

We want to seem like we have it all together and we fear that everyone will see that we’re just a failure.

Perhaps you had a big test and weren’t really sure if you understood the material.

Maybe when you moved up to middle school you weren’t sure how the older students would treat you.

Maybe it was trying out for a team or auditioning for a play.

Have your ever worried so much, you ran away?

Have you ever been called by God to do something but were too afraid to even try?

Maybe he gave you an opportunity to share Jesus with someone at school, but you were terrified so you stayed silent.

Or maybe you need to take a stand when sin was all around:  gossiping, drinking, slander?

You worry because you just might be over your head in whatever task you have to do.


Israel, the people of God, were living in a wild west scenario without a real government.

Occasionally, when things got bad, God would raise up people, called “judges”, to bring justice and deliver people from oppressors.

Eventually, Israel looked at the other nations and wanted to be like them.

They petitioned a godly leader, Samuel, to pick a king for them.

Samuel picked a man of their dreams, Saul, who was tall, handsome and wealthy–everything we think a leader should be.

Things would not end well for Saul, as he eventually took a nosedive and another king, David, would take his place.

His life illustrates a major theme in the books of Samuel is that God exalts the humble and brings low the proud.

Saul, the king of their dreams, would eventually fail spectacularly, because of his pride.

At the beginning of his career, it’s hard to notice it.

It’s like a little seed, hardly recognizable, but it will eventually sprout into a massive destructive weed until God needs to take him out by his roots.

Let’s read how his story begins.


Read 1 Samuel 10:1-9, 20-21a.

Imagine if God called you to do something crazy.

What would he have to do to convince you?

God calls Saul to a crazy task, to be the first king over Israel, and promises him he will rule the people and save them from the surrounding nations.

God then gives him 4 signs that it will be as he said.

Samuel gives him the first three signs:

Verse 2 – Two men will tell you that your donkeys have been found.

Verses 3-4 – Three men will give you bread.

Verse 5-6 – Meet a group of prophets and God’s Spirit will come upon you.

Everything happened just as it was prophesied. (Verse 9)

That should be enough to convince most people, but God gives even more.

God then gives him a fourth sign, when he is chosen by Lot, which was a practice similar to flipping a coin, that trusted in God’s sovereignty to give guidance for a decision.

On top of the three previous, very specific signs given to Saul, it was then confirmed when all the men of Israel came together, and through a long process of “chance,” that God chose Saul once again to be king and save the people.


Read 1 Samuel 10:21b-24.

Even though God had given Saul four signs, when it was time for him to step into his role as king he was nowhere to be found, but was hiding among the baggage.

Leader note: Notice the stark contrast with David who left the baggage to enter into leadership (1 Samuel 17:22)

Saul’s inability to step into the leadership God had called him to does not show humility, but rather that he was completely absorbed by his own ability.

To his credit, he realized that he was in over his head but unfortunately that’s all he thought about.

When we think of pride, we think of the over-confident person.

We all know someone who thinks they are a great athlete, when they aren’t.

Or thinks they’re really smart or a great musician, when they aren’t.

Maybe they think they’re really cool or good looking, but they aren’t.

We recognize this as pride pretty easily and it most likely bothers us.

They are self-absorbed and convinced they’re something special.

Saul may not have been over-confident in his ability but he is self-absorbed, which means his mind is fixed on thoughts of himself.

He shows a different kind of pride that’s the other side of the same coin.

Both forms of pride think:  It’s all up to me, my ability and it’s about my glory.

The overconfident think because it’s all up to them that they must convince themselves that they indeed measure up.

Saul (and many of us who struggle with anxiety) think it’s all up to me, but are terrified that we don’t measure up.

Saul was given four signs that the Lord would deliver through him, but because he was so focused on his own inadequacy, he could never step into the call God placed on his life.

C.S. Lewis said, “Thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools.”

Lewis then goes on to say how this false attempt at humility actually reinforces pride because it keeps their minds revolving on themselves.

Example: Maybe God has given you an opportunity to share Jesus with someone.

Pride may say, “It’s all up to my ability to persuade and I think I’m smart enough and persuasive enough to convince them of truth.”

Pride may also say, “It’s all up to my ability to persuade and I don’t think I’m smart enough, persuasive enough, or confident enough to convince them.”

Pride says, “It’s my reputation on the line and I don’t want to look like a fool.”

Notice anything similar about all these statements? “I” is the subject of every sentence.

Humility says, “Even if they are hostile to the gospel, God is already at work in them.”

Humility says, “Even if I don’t have all the answers, God can still speak to them.”

Humility says, “Even if they don’t follow Jesus this instant, it may be part of God’s larger plan to draw them to himself.”

Pride focuses on your own ability to get the job done; humility focuses on the God who is at work.

Saul’s problem was not doubting his ability to do the job, but doubting the God who called him to do it.

The humble focus on what God has said, even if God calls you in over your head.


No matter how hard we try, we’ll always think that everything depends on us and that we have to measure up.

When we have a hard task ahead we will always be asking, “Do I measure up?” and will either try our best to convince ourselves that we do measure up or be fearful and anxious that we may not.

The things that we need to do and the things that God calls us to do will often intimidate us.

We, like Saul, will find ourselves hiding behind the luggage, trying to avoid hard situations that may show how much we don’t measure up.


When you choose to follow Christ, there is a change that takes place.

To accept the gospel is to accept that you can’t measure up and it’s only through faith in Jesus that you can be saved.

Your identity is no longer in how well you can do a job or how well you perform, but in how well Jesus has performed on your behalf.

Fear of failure no longer immobilizes you as it did Saul, because it’s no longer about how well you can measure up.

Both forms of pride are destroyed when you accept the Gospel: The overconfidence that assumes you’ll succeed and fearful anxiety because it forces you to focus not on your ability but what Christ has done.

You are freed from having to measure up and (unlike Saul) step into all the things God has called you to do.

Even if you fail at a task, you’re still secure – God still loves you and you still have value because you’re in Jesus.

Fear and Anxiety can reveal our self-absorption.

Sometimes our anxiety and fear stems from believing the lies that it’s all about my glory or my ability.

Fear shows distrust to God’s power or trustworthiness.

Humility trusts God to glorify himself in my weakness.

Humility allows us to trust God past our personal limitations.

God may call you to do things beyond your capacity and you can step into his call even when it’s above your ability, because His word can be trusted.

We are like a child held up in the water by their dad, who moves into the deep end.

Even though we would drown in the shallow end, we still get freaked out.

Whether we’re in the shallows or the deep end, we’re still over our head, but we’re not over the head of the Father.


What is meant by the statement, “Even if God calls you in over your head, the humble focus on what God has said?”  Agree/disagree? Why?

How do you think fear and anxiety can reveal how we’re focused on ourselves?

Can you think of a time when fear prevent you from doing something you thought God wanted you to do?

Can you think of something that God is challenging you to step into that you’ve been afraid to do?  What can you do to be faithful?


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