July 8, 2014
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 8 July 2014
The final chapters of 1 Samuel provide a contrast between Saul and David that is nothing short of climactic. David and everyone associated with him were victorious, whereas those affiliated with Saul were defeated. David would receive an everlasting kingdom (2 Sam 7:10-13), but Saul’s kingdom was rejected permanently (1 Sam 15:22-23; 2 Chron 10:6).
The life of Israel’s first king (Saul) ended in tragedy. The people demanded a king “like all the nations” (1 Sam 8:20). Israel was not mindful of God’s actions on their behalf and did not seek God’s counsel, but rather made demands of Him. God granted the request in a manner similar to the time of the Exodus.
“So He gave them their request, but sent a wasting disease among them” (Ps 106:15; cf. Numb 14). An old adage states, “Be careful what you wish for – you may get it.” Israel certainly received some of what they did not want. God used the kingship of Saul as discipline and revelation. G. Campbell Morgan’s summary is appropriate.
Saul stands out upon the page of Israel’s history, an object lesson in the real meaning of their choice. He was a man of enormous physical strength, yet fitful and failing from first to last; a man of doubted mental acumen, yet a man of moods, who presently became a madman; a man as to spiritual life characterized from the very beginning by torpor and slowness, and at last, so devoid of spiritual illumination and power, that he turned his back upon Jehovah, and consulted a witch who muttered and worked incantations. He was a revelation to the people of what the possession of a king like the nations really meant [Living Messages of the Books of the Bible, 2 vols. (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1912) 1:153].
Samuel previously anointed David as king over Israel (1 Sam 16:12-13), but David was not ready at that time to lead the people; rather, he needed to learn some challenging lessons first. Saul and David both learned the truth that because God is holy He blesses those who are faithful to Him and judges those who rebel against his revealed Word.
David needed to trust God in whatever circumstances that he would encounter. Saul learned that God is a holy and jealous God (Exod 20:5; 34:14; Deut 4:24), and therefore, He will not be mocked (Gal 6:7). Saul was accountable for his actions, and following the events of 1 Samuel 31, he would give a personal account to his Creator (cf. Heb 9:27).
The primary weakness of Saul’s life was that God did indeed touch him (1 Sam 10), which meant that Saul could not function without considering God first. The tragedy was that Saul was never willing to surrender his will and trust God unconditionally. Temporal expediency is not without personal expense (cf. 2 Chron 19:2; Jas 4:4). First Samuel closes with the end of Saul’s life, and therefore, the cessation of his opportunity to glorify God. David’s reign was soon to begin.
David learned that God’s grace was sufficient for all his needs (1 Cor 2:3-5; 2 Cor 12:9), and that the Lord’s strength would be through inquiring of the Lord God (1 Sam 30:7-8). The Apostle Peter stated this truth.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence [2 Pet 1:3].
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