Today’s Reading: 1 SAMUEL 30:1-31, 1 CHRONICLES 12:20-22, 1 SAMUEL 31:1-13, 1 CHRONICLES 10:1-14, 1 CHRONICLES 9:40-44, 2 SAMUEL 4:4, 2 SAMUEL 1:1-27
While today’s list of reading looks rather convoluted and long, it isn’t. Today’s reading brings to an end the life of Saul. Today you will read or have already read three times about how Saul died. Twice you read what really happened and once you read what an opportunistic liar said happened.
We have been reading about Saul since the 11th of April. So in 9 short days we got read all we could about him. As a reminder, we met Saul as a herder of donkeys. He was wondering about in the desert looking for some lost donkeys. He meets Samuel the High Priest who realizes that Saul is to be anointed as the first King of Israel. On our blog posts we introduce Saul as Ja, Ja, Maar IV. He got to join the Ja, Ja, Maar Hall of Fame because he had received very clear signs from God through Samuel that he was to be the anointed king. When it was finally time for the anointing; where was Saul? Saul was hiding in the pile of baggage. He still struggled to accept the role God had planned for him.
As a reminder of Saul’s calling by God to be the first earthly king of Israel, lets go back to I Samuel 9
I Samuel 9:27 – 10:1 (NLT)
27 When they reached the edge of town, Samuel told Saul to send his servant on ahead. After the servant was gone, Samuel said, “Stay here, for I have received a special message for you from God.”
1 Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession.
Saul is eventually fond in the baggage and is anointed King of Israel in front of the gathered tribes of Israel. He does well at first. He begins to win victories against the enemies of God’s people.
However, as we continue in the story of Saul we find out that he eventually losses favor with the Lord. I posted To Obey is Better than Sacrifice just two days later. There we read that Saul makes a big mistake. A mistake that will cost him the throne and God’s favor. Saul was given very specific directions on how to defeat the Amalekites and not to keep any of the plunder. Unfortunately, Saul overrides the direction of the Lord through Samuel and keeps some of the plunder “as a sacrifice to the Lord”. Unfortunately, the Lord did not look favorable upon Saul’s disobedience:
I Samuel 15: 22 – 23 (NLT)
22 But Samuel replied,
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft,
and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.
So because you have rejected the command of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”
Today we arrive to the end of Saul’s story. Three times we will read of his death. Sure, we know tha the dies in battle with his sons at his side; but what is given for the final reason of Saul’s ruin?
I Chronicles 10:13 – 14 (NLT)
13 So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord. He failed to obey the Lord’s command, and he even consulted a medium 14 instead of asking the Lord for guidance. So the Lord killed him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
Matthew Henry in his commentary on this passage summarizes what we can learn from Saul’s life:
- That the sin of sinners will certainly find them out, sooner or later; Saul died for his transgression.
- That no man’s greatness can exempt him from the judgments of God.
- Disobedience is a killing thing.
To put this in more biblical terms:
- Numbers 32:23 “”But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. (NIV)
- Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (NIV)
- Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…” (NIV)
But the good news for us is that Romans 6:23 did not end with only “The wages of sin is death…” it continues with “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Saul’s life is a huge missed opportunity and spoiled destiny (remind you of Samson?). Saul was chosen of God, anointed and accepted by his people to be their King and he blew it. The sin of this world took him down and destroyed him and his sons.
The same can happen to us if allow our egos and desires and urges and pride and self import to get in the way of being used by God. Saul could have been the great King of Israel but he wasn’t due to his sin.
Oh that his life can be a lesson for us.