“Then Saul said, ‘I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.’”
1 SAMUEL 26:21
Read 1 Samuel 31:1-13
I often get distracted and when my in-laws first came around for dinner this characteristic certainly didn’t fail me. The embarrassment of them walking into the kitchen as I rushed to solve the inferno of melting plastic and smouldering spinach from a melting bag on the hob certainly left a lasting first impression! As we look today at the death of King Saul, I can see many similarities of a man who lived distracted from his true purpose and paid the ultimate price for many foolish decisions.
You can easily forget that Saul was a man of great potential chosen by God to be the first King of Israel. He was handsome and stood a head taller than any man in Israel. When he was anointed king, immediately the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him giving him a new heart. He led Israel to many military victories, starting his reign with great potential.
As you follow Saul’s life, you clearly see how foolish decisions cost him his royal lineage and ultimately, his life. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes” and Saul’s foolishness is a perfect example of this. Throughout 1 Samuel you see Saul’s unlawful sacrifice (chapter 13), rash words putting Jonathan in trouble (chapter 14), disobedience to God (chapter 15), jealousy, plus two attempts to murder David (chapter 18) and finally, seeking a medium the day before his death (chapter 28). Decision after decision, you sense Saul’s kingship ebbing away as he continually makes foolish decisions.
Our key verse today comes from Saul’s second attempt to hunt and kill David who was hiding in the desert. Both attempts failed spectacularly with David having opportunities both times to kill Saul but choosing not to harm the Lord’s anointed. Proverbs 26:11 says, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.” Saul is the perfect example of a man returning time and time again to his foolishness, neglecting his royal duties. Although Saul’s plea seems heartfelt, David refuses to believe Saul and he withdraws to a foreign land knowing that Saul would soon return to his foolish hunt of him. Saul’s life even ended in a foolish manner not befitting of a king. He was struck by an arrow before falling on his sword and dying on the battlefield alongside his sons whose bodies were publicly humiliated. Proverbs 3:35 sums this up well, “The wise will inherit honour, but fools get disgrace”.
Today, as believers with a great God-given potential and purpose, fix your eyes on Jesus. Live a godly life, throwing off all that hinders. Avoid all foolishness, remove all worldly distractions and chose to follow Christ with a full, unhindered devotion.
Author: Matt Rees - Elder, Living Hope Church, Isle of Man