Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Samuel 31:3-4New International Version (NIV)
The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically. Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”
But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.
1 Samuel 31:3-6 (MSG)
The battle was hot and heavy around Saul. The archers got his range and wounded him badly. Saul said to his weapon bearer, “Draw your sword and put me out of my misery, lest these pagan pigs come and make a game out of killing me.”
“The battle went heavily against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was severely wounded by the archers. Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised [Philistines] will come and pierce me through and abuse and mock me.” But his armor bearer would not, because he was terrified [of doing such a thing]. So Saul took his sword and fell on it.” -AMPLIFIED
The focus of His-Story (God’s Story) once again changes; this time from David, back to Saul. Today we will scrutinize the final moments of King Saul’s life. Here was a man who had the potential for greatness; if only. Opportunity had come knocking at his door with the chance for a great future, but…. But Saul allowed the seeds of destruction to take root in his heart. Some of those seeds were:
*Self-reliance (He did not rely or trust on God)
We are told in 1 Samuel 31, the final chapter of the book, there was a battle raging between the Philistines and the Israelites. The Philistines had the upper hand and the Israelites were running for their lives. Many of the Israelites were killed on the heights of Gilboa as they were fleeing.
The background is being set for the climax of Saul’s story. All of his men are in fear for their lives, so most of them have basically left him to fend fend for himself. Saul’s sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua, are near in proximity to him; possibly trying to protect their father. The Philistines close in upon them and we are told they kill Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua, the sons of Saul.
The battle closes in around Saul even more and we find that he is badly wounded by a Philistine archer. In desperation, because he did not want to be killed by an uncircumcised heathen, (Saul’s pride stayed with him till the bitter end.) he begs his weapon bearer to kill him. “Please take out your sword and thrust it through me. Don’t let these uncircumcised dogs come and put their swords and spears into me for their sport.” -1 Samuel 31:4 (VOICE)
Saul’s armor-bearer was afraid. He would not touch the Lord’s anointed and kill his king. We then find Saul drawing out his own sword and falling upon it. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Scripture also tells us this, “When the armor-bearer saw this, he also drew his sword and fell upon it and died. So Saul, his three sons, his armor-bearer, and all his men died together on the same day.” -1 Samuel 31:5-6 (VOICE) Once again we see that Saul’s sin did not just affect himself, but those around him as well.
You could say that Saul became his own worst enemy. He began his career as king humble and with a good character, but it did not take long for prIde to take over in his life. He made unwise choices. He chose to disobey God. He allowed his anger and emotions to rule; which lead to more foolish decisions. All of these facts lead him down a road of self-destruction.
Inside each of us is God given potential; an opportunity for greatness. It is God’s promise that he has a plan and a future for our lives. This potential is an opportunity for us to accomplish great things for God in our life time. “For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” -Ephesians 2:10 (AMP)
In spite of all our God-given potential, many of us never live up to our fullest potential. How sad is that? Just like Saul, we insist on doing things our own way. We allow pride to dictate what we will or will not do. We carry unforgiveness, anger, hatred and fear in our hearts. Too often we allow our emotions to guide our decisions. To top it all off, in doing all of this we have not only chosen to disobey God, but we have sown the seeds of our own destruction in our lives.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.” -Galatians 6:7-9 (AMP)
Beware of the journey toward self-destruction. Lest we forget, the first step often begins with pride. It is that thought that we DO NOT need God; that we can quite easily handle the situation on our own. It is that thought that tells us that “I am better than this….”
Remember, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” -Proverbs 16:18 (AMP)
Father, forgive me for those times that I have let my pride dictate what I should do. I know that my first priority is obedience to you and your directives. Please, allow your Holy Spirit to dig up those seeds of destruction out of my life. I do not want to be bearing that kind of fruit. Instead, may I have the fruit of your Spirit in my life: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I want you to be pleased with me, Lord.