I Did It My WayKen Ture
The book of 1 Samuel highlights three lives critical in the building of the nation of Israel: Samuel, Saul, and David. We watched Saul, full of promise at the outset, accept the benefits of a sovereign God who is all-knowing and all-powerful (and who was also exceedingly gracious to Saul). God also gave Saul clear instructions and warnings. But Saul repeatedly deviated from obeying God, thinking he could tweak God’s plan. In this final chapter, we get to see the result of Saul’s pride and independence. Whenever we choose to do things our own way, the end results are never pretty.
- When have you heard from God, but then tweaked his plan your way? How did that turn out?
Read the Word
1 Samuel 31:1-13 (ESV)
31 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6 Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together. 7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled. And the Philistines came and lived in them.
8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
- How did it go for Israel in the battle with the Philistines (vs. 1)? How did it go for Saul personally and his sons (vss. 2-3)?
- What action did Saul take in this battle (vs. 4)? How did this play out for Saul (vss. 8-10)?
- How did the men of Jabesh-gilead handle this (vs. 11)? Were they striking out on their own or seeking to do the right thing and honor God?
- How is God leading you, and what actions are you taking in obedience to (or rejection of) his Word? Take some time for a serious evaluation of things you may be doing your way instead of his.
Respond to God
The gospel proclaims God’s mercy and grace, meaning that God has dealt with our sins and sin nature through the blood of Jesus. But it does not mean that we continue on our own and ignore the kingdom life that God intends for us. This horrific account of Saul reminds us that God’s authority and his Word are final. And he will not be trifled with. If we continue to ignore or attempt to alter his plan, the final result of our independence from him will never be good.
- Thank God that he is gracious and merciful, and has paid for our sins with his son’s blood.
- Pray and listen to his instruction, so that you would live in his grace instead of doing things your way.