(weekly I write a five minute “doctrine talk” based on the doctrine in the passage of scripture we are studying in “People of the Promised Land 1 – Bible Study Fellowship”)
Saul ended his career as a fallen king who lost everything.
The end of Saul’s life was not a pretty one unfortunately but by no surprise. I felt since his introduction in 1 Samuel 9 is was not going to end well and it sadly did not. As we have been doing since the start of the drama of David and Saul lets compare again glory and defeat.
First Saul. Turn to 1 Samuel 28:5-6. This is where Saul freaks out. “When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid and trembled violently. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.” Now I am not sure why God did not answer him at this time. Perhaps he was not being “considerate of others and respectful” therefore his prayers were hindered (1 Peter 3:7) or maybe he asked with the “wrong motives” (James 4:3) or maybe he was “cherishing iniquity in his heart” and therefore God wouldn’t listen (Psalm 66:18).
Regardless, Saul’s life can be somewhat convicting to us as well.
How long do I wait for God’s answer? Is my heart right in the asking? Do I run to another source out of impatience?
It seems that is what Saul did. As we continue on in the story. He decided to consult a Medium, a big no-no! Interestingly enough God uses his sin to still deliver truth. 1 Samuel 29:17-19 “The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” And that is exactly what happened. In the midst of the battle 1 Samuel 31:4-6 Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.”
A sad end to a kings life. Still hard to read… “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord” 1 Chronicles 10:13-14.
His death was self-inflected in response to terror of the enemy.
Deep breath. That’s tough.
Humanity’s fall means believers still struggle with a fallen nature.
Let’s look at David where instead of tragedy we see glory.
Read along with me: 1 Samuel 30:1-6
David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, 2 and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
It is that last verse that makes all the difference…1 Samuel 30:6, but David found strength in the Lord his God. Highlight, star, circle that verse in your Bible. That’s the key!
Both men were devastated, the enemy had conquered, everything was taken and now their very lives were about to be taken as well. Saul apparently tries to connect with God but David? David, found strength in the Lord HIS God.
You know exactly what I am about to ask you. It’s the same questions I have been asking myself throughout this whole chapter. In crisis, when decisions have to be made, when push comes to shove and I am at the end of the road, where do I go?
Humanity’s fall explains the believers struggle to trust God. Do you struggle to trust God? Don’t be surprised. We KNOW we can trust Him in our minds, yet we need His help to trust Him. Sometimes we think if we read enough, pray enough, experience enough we won’t ever struggle to trust enough. Nope. We want to trust God, and yet we often default to trusting in our own strength, ability, knowledge, friends, past experience, etc. It is a reality of the Fall. God created a perfect world, sin brought separation from God therefore all people are sinful and face God’s judgment.
So who’s example of a response to this struggle to trust God do you want to follow? Saul? Absent and void of God’s voice, direction and purpose therefore absent of comfort, forgiveness and mercy? Or David, directed by God through obedience and suffering for His purpose?