Heavenly Father, today may I hear your voice over the clatter of daily distractions, and the din of many attractions.
Read 1 SAMUEL 31
Saul Takes His Life
31 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. 3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.
4 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.
7 When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.
8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men marched through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him’ (Psalm 37:7).
Defeated in battle, Saul has turned tail and fled his enemies. Three sons are killed before his eyes. Mortally wounded, he begs his armor bearer to put him out of his misery and is refused. He dies at his own hand, and his body is displayed to be gloated over and mocked. This first king of Israel, so promising and so clearly called by God, has come to as ignoble an end as could ever have been devised.
And we who read this account, what do we feel? What judgments do we cast, what questions do we ask ourselves? As inured as we are to gore by violent entertainment, are we able to react with any humanity at all?
We’ve been invested in David over these past weeks. Saul has become, in my mind at least, something of a cartoon villain. His death clears the way for David’s long-awaited ascent to the throne. He was a problem and the problem has been solved. But this is never how God sees a person. Notice the costly, respectful grieving of the people of Jabesh Gilead (vs 11-13). So let’s seek God’s perspective and discover what he’d have us learn from Saul’s sorry exit.
In what ways can you make this sad story of Saul relevant for your own life?
Loving Father, enable me to avoid a life that is wasted, and to live a life worthy of you at all times.
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