1 Chronicles 10: 1-7
“Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. The battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers. Then said Saul to his armourbearer, draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So, Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died. So, Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together. And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.”
The above account is a record of the death of a king and his sons. It was the ending of an era in Israel that was brought about by the people’s desire to have a king like the nations round about them (1 Samuel 8:20). While God would provide Israel a king in David, the first 40 years of the first king ended here, in 1 Chronicles 10 (see 1 Samuel 31:1-8). If you have ever questioned whether your actions affect your children, consider this text. Sauls son Jonathan was devoted to truth and righteousness, yet, because of his father’s sins, he paid with his life. Two of Jonathan’s brothers were slain with him also.
Saul was a man who had a good beginning, yet the pride of life and foolish ways destroyed him. He began his life as king in humility. Saul was “hidden among the stuff” (1 Samuel 10:22). Maybe this “humility” was really fear manifesting itself, because in the process of time, the “humility” of the beginning would end in the destruction of pride. “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
The truth of the matter is, before Saul was mortally wounded by the Philistines, and sped up his imminent demise by falling on his sword, he was already a dead man. Saul had refused to walk in the ways of the Lord (1 Samuel 15:11). He suffered from self-exaltation (1 Samuel 15:12) and self-deception (1 Samuel 15:13). He thought he knew better than everyone else. He was blinded by his arrogance and thought he was right in doing all the wrong he involved himself in (1 Samuel 15:20). This is what makes a man “dead” though he is alive. This is why the article is entitled, “He was dead, and then he died.”
Saul was out of step and out of tune with God. All Saul had to do was obey God, but instead he let the cares of this life rule over him and drive his self-centered decisions.
Paul wrote, “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Saul chose to live the life of a dead man, and then he died. He could have had the favor of God and a descendant to occupy the throne, forever. But, because of his poor choices, the text shows his life snuffed out on the battlefield, full of arrows and fallen on his own sword. “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.”
The lesson that should be learned from this account is that you better get right with God and stay that way! “Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Be made alive in Christ so you can pass from death to life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14). You don’t have to die lost and spend an eternity separated from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9). You can enjoy the fellowship that leads to eternal joy (1 John 1:7).
Don’t be dead before you die!
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