Dead–but not Friendless
Touch me afresh with Your Spirit, Lord, and cause my heart to sing.
Read 1 Samuel 31:1-13
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psa. 23:4). This is a word of great comfort for us when we face death.
We are told several times in previous chapters that Saul came to God to ask what would happen or what he should do. He did, in chapter 26, acknowledge to David that he had sinned, but we never read of him coming to God in repentance and humility. Perhaps things would have been different if he had. This chapter leaves a great sense of sadness–hope seems to be missing. It is true that Saul died seeking to fulfill the task he had been given, namely to fight for Israel, but he died by his own hand, racked by fear of what others might do to him. He knew in his heart that he would fail in this battle, and he was right. Not only that, but his sons, whom he so wanted to succeed him that he tried to kill David, died with him.
The passage does have some positive aspects, however. Saul’s armor-bearer retained a loyalty that left him both unable to harm the king and also unable to live without him. And the actions of the people of Jabesh Gilead showed that they retained love for and loyalty to Saul. Saul did not die unmourned. The actions of this city remind us of the time when, just after his anointing by Samuel, Saul showed his potential as a leader, warrior and strategist when he rescued Jabesh Gilead from the Ammonites (1 Sam. 11). Sadly, that potential remained unrealized, but the people of the city had not forgotten.
Sometimes, when the end comes to a life that has apparently failed in its calling, it is tempting to see only the failure. It is perhaps good to remind ourselves of the people who loved them and of the good that they achieved.
Remember those times in your life when God turned what seemed to be failures into achievements. Consider what you might bring to God in repentance and faith before it is too late.
Gracious Father, I know there is unrealized potential in my life. Enable me to grasp opportunities of growth and service for You. I don’t want to waste what You have given me.
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