Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Death of Saul- A Father's Day Message

I readily admit that 1 Samuel 31 is a bit depressing for Father’s Day. I might prefer to take a friendly jaunt through the pages of the Bible and find a good father or two, although they are hard to find. Noah got along for a while but did not persevere in righteousness. We could rejoice in Job, who offered sacrifice in case one of his children had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. David’s father, Jessie, seems to be an honorable man and raised a pile of boys who eventually figured it out.  The Patriarchs muddled along. Joseph one and two seem to be good fathers, the latter probably better than the former. I am sure we could find others but they do not readily jump to mind. The Scriptures are full of father failures and from this we should take heed.
         So, I will take this Sunday as a Providential day to warn our fathers to be faithful, persevering in fatherhood by first attending to your own Father in Heaven and secondarily to your children on the Earth.
         This chapter records the death of Saul. We see where his disobedience ended, in judgment and death. But it was not only Saul who died. His sin enveloped his sons and they perished with the foolishness of their father. Jonathan did not ‘deserve’ to die because of his sins. He was righteous and loyal, both to David and to Saul. But Saul’s disobedience had grave consequences that reached out and destroyed the good and the innocent as well as the bad and the guilty. The sins of fathers, like the sins of all men in authority, have far reaching consequences.
         With Saul, in particular, judgment brought not only personal judgment on him, death, but it also brought judgment on Israel. He was the king and the king could not be judged without judgment falling upon the nation.
         But we should also keep in mind what God is doing as He brings chastisement to His people. Death of sin and disobedience is a good thing. As sin is judged, obedience is revealed. As death is decreed, life is decreed. Keep in mind the contrasts that we have been seeing all the way through Samuel.
         The people asked for king before the time that God had appointed to grant them a king. They were impatient in waiting for God’s promise so they were hasty. They choose in the flesh and God gives them a fleshly king, King Saul.
         God gives Saul a chance to rule in a godly way but he quickly fails to wait upon God, choosing rather, the haste of the people in forging his own way, ahead of the Spirit of God.
         But David is the one who waits on God. David is the one who will not get ahead of God and forge his own way. He will not raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed.
         We have these two ways, presented to us. God’s way or the way of rebellion. And we see where they end up. The one who seeks to exalt himself is abased. Saul dies. The one who does not exalt himself but leaves the promotion in the hands of the Lord is exalted. David becomes King, a man after God’s own heart.
         Sin and Death must die for new life to begin. So, while Saul’s end, even as we look at it on Father’s Day, is a bit depressing. But we see that for all of us, the way of the flesh must end for the way of the Spirit to begin.
         These part is not a depressing word. We already know this but sometimes we continue in the flesh anyway, for self, exalting ourselves, not waiting on God, not trusting God, or walking in sinful ways that we know will lead to destruction.

It is true, continual sinful ways do lead to destruction. So, we can learn from Saul and David. Turn from sins. Wait on God. Receive God’s blessing.

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