Today is our last day in 1 Samuel. We are reading 1 Samuel 31. If you’ve been reading along since the beginning, today you finish reading the entire book of 1 Samuel!
A couple days ago we heard about how the Philistines and Israelites were about to go to battle. David at this time was living in Philistine territory to escape from Saul, but he still wasn’t allowed to fight in this battle for fear by the Philistines that he would turn on them. While David was in his own battle that we read about yesterday, Saul was in the fight for his life. And he ended up losing it. The Philistines first took the life of his three sons, then Saul got injured really badly, and our application tells us that the Philistines were known for torturing their captives, so Saul asked his armor bearer (his right hand man in battle) to kill him, when his armor bearer wouldn’t, Saul killed himself, which in turn made his armor bearer kill himself, too. I know this is ugly, but it gets uglier. After everyone in the area was dead or fled, the Philistines came through and took Saul’s head and hung it in the temple of their idols, his armor went in the temple of the Ashtoreths (one of their goddesses) and then they put his body, and his three sons, on the wall of Beth Shan, which overlooked the whole area. But, the people of Jabesh Gilead, another tribe, heard about this and they went and took the bodies down and burned and buried them properly. After doing so, scripture says they fasted for seven days, which showed their respect.
I know, dark stuff, so I want to quote one thing our application said about Saul before we read on and jump into 2 Samuel tomorrow to find out what happens with David. It says, “Saul was tall, handsome, strong, rich and powerful, but all of this was not enough to make him someone we should emulate. He was big physically, but he was small in God’s eyes. He was handsome, but his sin made him ugly. He was strong, but his lack of faith made him weak. He was rich, but he was spiritually bankrupt. He could give orders to many, but he couldn’t command their respect of allegiance. Saul looked good on the outside, but he was decaying on the inside. A right relationship with God and a strong character are much more valuable than a good looking exterior.”
And that is where we are going to focus for our time of reflection/journaling, so let’s read that again, “a right relationship with God and a strong character are much more valuable than a good looking exterior.” Do you believe that as we grow closer to God, our character starts to change? That once we accept Christ and the Holy Spirit lives within us, we are constantly trying to change to better reflect the Lord? Saul was missing the Lord, so his character suffered. It suffered so much that it says “he was decaying on the inside”. Write about an area in your life where you need the Lord to come in and refine, a part of your character that you think he may be missing from. Invite him into that area and ask Him to start transforming it so that you feel closer in line with Him and more in reflection of who He is.
As we finished 1 Samuel, our first book of the Bible together, let us worship the Lord together with this song and end in our time of prayer.
Lord, thank you for walking us through the book of 1 Samuel. We have learned SO MUCH from this book in Your Word. We know you are the ultimate judge and that Saul had to die in order for your plan for David to be fulfilled. Thank you for showing us people like Saul in your word so that we can visualize and understand better what it looks like when we are apart from you. Help us to refine our character to look more like you, help us to desire a right relationship with you. If someone reading this today doesn’t know you or know what a relationship with you looks like, I pray you guide their hearts into seeking you out and that you put other Godly people in their life so that they can get to know you. In a world that looks so much like Saul, help us to look like David, trusting in you and your plan, your will, not jumping to take matters into our own hands while we wait to hear from you, that when someone does something against us, remind us that it’s okay, they have to go before you as their judge. Thank you for lighting up scriptures that you orchestrated for us to study and reflect on. Thank you for this devotional community that you have put together to get into your word. We love you Lord and we thank you! In your mighty and loving name we pray, AMEN!