Slap in the Face

I’m gonna warn ya…this is a long one 😬

I finished up 1 Samuel this morning with the death of Saul. It was a tragic death and unfortunately, it was one that he seen coming. As I completed this book of the Bible, I have just been sitting here and thinking and studying about Saul and his life. He started out chasing lost donkeys that belonged to his father in Chapter 9 when he was approached by Samuel to be the king of Israel (that the people asked for). It wasn’t until after some convincing that he was anointed and scripture says God changed his heart…but then we see him in Chapter 10 hiding among supplies and they have to go get him out so he can be presented to the people. He wasn’t exactly praised and accepted…but
Saul does manage to rescue the city of Jabesh from Nahash (the leader of the Ammonites). Scripture says the spirit of the Lord came upon him and he was so victorious in battle that the survivors were so scattered that no two men were left together.
The people now are willing to confirm him as King and they celebrate the victory over Nahash.
Later in the thread of military crisis, Saul chooses to not do as God commanded and submit to the divine instruction given to him by Samuel. He chose his own way.
Saul did a lot of choosing his own way, people pleasing and disregarding that will of God. He seems really great at religious performance with no actual commitment to God.
We see in Chapter 15, the Lord regretting that He had made Saul king over Israel. Here is where we see David step onto the scene as the newly chosen king and the spirit of the Lord has departed from Saul. An evil spirit came upon him and he was miserable, depressed and we see him driven to madness, but this young David would play the harp for him and the evil spirit would leave. However, when the people praised David in Chapter 18 after the slaying of Goliath, Saul got very angry. Next thing we see is an evil spirit taking over Saul to the point that he tries to kill David as he is there with him playing the harp.
If you didn’t know, David goes on the run from Saul, because he sets out to try and kill him. It’s a lot of running, hiding, attempts of murder that make for great reading for several chapters…but I am going to skip over to Saul visiting the medium/witch in Chapter 28 because he didn’t know what to do. The Lord was silent and he turned to forbidden acts for answers. The answer he got was very troubling and we see God’s promises to Saul in Chapter 31 as he falls on his own sword after being mortally wounded. Saul, three of his sons and his armor bearer all lay dead at the hands of the Philistines (and from their own swords). They cut off Saul’s head, stripped him of his armor and hung their bodies to the wall of Beth Shan. They even place his head in with their god, Dagon as a slap in the face to the God of Israel.

That’s a lot, huh?
Saul was out chasing donkeys when we meet him, he chased David and then his sins caught up with him in the end.

It’s really sad that this man chose to do his own thing instead of listen to instructions of God. Most of his problems he brought on himself, because he chose to do what seemed right by him instead of what was right in the eye of the Lord. He chose to please self and others instead of pleasing God. It wasn’t about being a righteous king, but self-a righteous ruler. He didn’t want to honor God, only himself. Almost his whole life could be summed up as a slap in the face of God.

What did I learn from spending weeks in this book and looking at Saul?
You will never go wrong when you choose to follow God’s will.
Will it be easy? Not always.
Will you have to give up some things? Usually.

We must be willing to sacrifice what we want in this life for the purposes of God. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the life of Saul is evidence that when we try to take matters into our own hands, build statues to honor ourselves instead of God and bypass His word seeking answers in the wrong places, we end up cut off completely from our Heavenly Father.

We can’t pretend to perform righteousness and expect God to show up when we stand on the battle lines of life. God isn’t looking at the outside (as we know Saul was a handsome, tall man…like no other). He desired a man after His own heart (David)…who wasn’t concerned with doing what they desired, but what says the Lord.

Let’s be a people that lives to honor the Lord.

I don’t want my words, my actions or my body being used as a slap in the face to my God.