The Slaughter of the Priests

Scripture: 1 Samuel 22:3-23

Topics: Control, Lies, Truth, Violence

Study Guide

In 1 Samuel 22, Saul learns that David is gaining some traction, and he becomes unhinged. Saul’s fear and insecurity flare up in this perceived loss of control. Because Saul has placed his value in his role as king, he lashes out in violence at any threat to his kingdom. In contrast, David foreshadows the sacrifice and protection of Jesus, who will ultimately provide refuge for all who place their trust in him.
Application
  1. When we lack control, we often respond in fear, which affects those around us. Who is the subject of your violence, whether it’s the violence of presence or absence?

  2. Saul’s fear is fueled by lies that he is telling himself about the source of his value and security. What lies are you telling yourself about your identity?

  3. We need to carve out channels of orientation—avenues for truth to come in. This is how we prevent our minds from breeding false narratives. What are some practical steps you can take to increase your intake of God’s truth?

  4. Consider a time when you have felt out of control. How did you respond? Why? In what areas of your life do you need to surrender control and align yourself with God?

  5. As believers, how can we be encouraged by this story? How does it point us to Christ?

Key Points
  • On the outside, Saul appears to be in control. However, on the inside, he is tortured by fear and paranoia. Deeply insecure, Saul has created a false narrative that he is living into.

  • Saul is so focused on self-preservation, he shuts God out. As a result, his mind becomes a breeding ground for lies.

  • Likewise, we cultivate untrue stories for ourselves. Many of these lies stem from where we place our value and identity.

  • Saul did not become evil overnight. He made daily choices to protect himself and reject God. He was willing to sacrifice people to maintain control over his own kingdom.

  • In our lives, people will be hurt if we selfishly promote and protect our own personal kingdoms. The narratives we tell ourselves are powerful, and if they are based on lies instead of God’s truth, there will be dire consequences.

  • Even in this dark moment, we see evidence of God’s sovereignty. His judgment on the house of Eli is being fulfilled. (1 Samuel 2: 31-33)

  • In contrast to Saul, David wants to become a place of refuge for others. This foreshadows Jesus, who is able to absorb our sin and provide refuge for us.

Other Scripture References