Saul – a cautionary tale…

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1 Samuel 31:1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and many fell on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard upon Saul; the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by them. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, so that these uncircumcised may not come and thrust me through, and make sport of me.” But his armor-bearer was unwilling; for he was terrified. So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together on the same day. 

This is a sad ending to Saul’s life. He never expected to be the first king of Israel, but God chose him anyway. And if you read the entire book of 1 Samuel you’ll realize Saul wasn’t a very good king. His faith was weak. He was too easily influenced by the anxiety of his own subjects. He was ultimately replaced by David who would be a much better king.

In one sense, Saul is a cautionary tale of a man who failed to live up to expectations. But it’s also a tale of failure by God. God chose Saul, not the other way around. God raised him up, then sent evil spirits into him when he proved weak in faith (1 Samuel 16:4). Something about that doesn’t sit right with me.

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