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    November 10, 2015


    Samuel's prophecy concerning King Saul was fulfilled in the final chapter of 1 Samuel. Israel lost the battle against the Philistines, and Saul was mortally wounded. The mighty had fallen in battle, and although it is not too late to call upon God in the moment of fatality, it mostly tends to be. Saul took his own life to avoid dishonor and humiliation from the Philistines. His corpse was, nevertheless, dishonored (31:9-10; 1 Chron 10:10).

    A primary challenge of Saul’s life was his accountability to God’s sovereignty (1 Sam 10), which meant that he could not function without first considering God’s will for his life. 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).

    The contrast between Saul and David reaches a climax with the final chapter of 1 Samuel. 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” (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,” and sometimes one may also receive the undesirable. Israel certainly received some of what they did not want. God used the kingship of Saul as discipline and revelation. Saul was so entirely devoid of spiritual illumination and power that he shunned God, and thus God sent his discipline. He was a revelation to the people of God as to what possessing a king like the nations really meant.

    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). 

    David learned that God’s grace was sufficient for all his needs (1 Cor 2:3-5; 2 Cor 12:9), and that his strength would be through inquiring of the Lord (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).

    By God's Grace and for His Glory,

    Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
    Capitol Commission Georgia

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