December 22, 2015
1 Samuel 31
Therefore, Saul took a sword... 1 Samuel 31:4
LET IT GLOW
When people keep showing hate toward me, repeatedly, keep stabbing me with their mean words, time and again, what do I do?
I spew them back at them. Then I mumble and grumble around the house all day, thrashing words back at them, while alone. Chompin' at the bits. When I finally get it all out, I am empty inside with a heavy heart. It doesn't last though. I hear about the love of Jesus through Christmas carols on the radio. Jesus came to end this crazy hate in the hearts of men and women. My heart. I need Him to fill this bruised and empty heart with His extraordinary love again. I bring my emptiness to Him, emptying myself before a Holy God. I need His forgiveness again so I can show His forgiveness to others. Oh, how hard it is-loving those who hurt me! Does Jesus think that about me? Am I hard to love and forgive? (Others would agree, I am sure.) Truth jumps off the page at me as I write, an arrow straight to my heart. Saul gets his arrow today. Read on to see how he handles it.
The Philistines were on their way to fight against Israel when they would not allow David to join them. God's providence intervened to keep him out of it. Meanwhile, the Amalekites burnt David's city of Ziklag and captured their families. David and his 7,000 man army surprisingly attacked their enemy and killed all but 400, who fled on camels. He recovered all their livestock and possessions, as well as families. Also, David took all the loot that the Amalekites had obtained in other battles. He shared the loot with others who had helped him in protecting David against Saul.
You will recall, while this was happening, King Saul of Israel sought the Lord as to whether he should fight the Philistines, but due to his rebellion and sinfulness, God did not answer him and did not protect Saul. Saul sought a medium, witch, to conger up the dead Prophet Samuel. Well, that was another story, previously studied.That is where we are as we begin the last chapter in this book:
- The fighting grew fierce, NLT tells us. It is the beginning of the end for Saul.
- As the Philistines attacked Israel, Israel fled and was slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa.
- The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons. They killed 3 of Saul's sons-Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua.
- A Philistine archer wounded Saul. McGee described it as a "real bull's eye." Sounds good to me. The bully taunting David is finally dropped to his knees. Sorry, that wasn't very nice.(Probably, the archer did not know that he hit the king of Israel.)
So many of our American troops have died while serving our country. It seems that the good do die young. We read of so many stories of this happening. Are we supporting them in prayer?
LET IT GROW
In verse 4, we read of Saul telling his armor-bearer to draw his sword and thrust into him. Saul was concerned that the Philistines would taunt and torture him. However, the armor-bearer was afraid and would not do it. so Saul fell upon is own sword to his death. Saul's armor-bearer did likewise. So there was quite a death toll-King Saul, his 3 sons, and his armor-bearer all died that same day. What a sad ending to their lives.
We don't read of Saul repenting of his rebellion and sinfulness before he killed himself. Saul was warned back in chapter 28, by that Samuel which appeared, that Saul and his sons would be with Samuel the next day, meaning in death.
How did all this killing of the Israelite leaders affect this nation, those living beyond the Jordan River? When they found out their king and 3 sons were killed, they fled their towns, leaving them for Philistine occupation.
That isn't all that happened:
- Gloatingly, the next day, the Philistines took the bodies of Saul and his 3 sons. These were ruthless pagans.
- They cut off Saul's head and stripped off his armor. An enemy's decapitated head was a sign of victory. (D. Jeremiah)
- They spread the news of Saul's death in their pagan temple and to their people throughout the land of Philistia.
- It wasn't enough for them to place Saul's armor in their pagan temple, they fastened his body and 3 sons' bodies, to the wall of the city of Beth-shan. How gruesome.
Oh, but wait, looking down through the ages, there was another man brutally beaten, Jesus, King of the Jews. He was nailed on a cross for only declaring, truthfully, Himself to be the Son of God, which the Jews called as blasphame. They thrust a sword through Jesus' side, then He was buried in a borrowed tomb. Now that was not the end of His story. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven, making intercession for us His children.
His birth we celebrate in December; His coming was into such a bitter and hateful world; He showed love to everyone; demonstrated to us the way to live a holy life. His Spirit lives within us Christians-that is our evidence that He is alive today!
LET IT GO
Forgive and love.