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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel (chapter 31) A Sad End to Saul’s Life!

In I Samuel 30, David and his men have just conquered the Amalekites and secured a major victory. But what about King Saul? Is he still pursuing David?

We learn that the Philistines fought against Israel, killed Saul’s three sons, and wounded him critically. Saul asks his armor-bearer to run him through in fear that the uncircumcised Philistines would abuse Saul’s body (v. 4).

The armor-bearer wouldn’t do it, so Saul falls on his own sword. The armor-bearer follows his master in death. Thus, the prophecy of the deceased Samuel (brought up from the dead by the witch of Endor) comes true: “18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce

A sad way to die.

wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” (I Sam. 28.)

The Philistines take over the Israelite towns, cut off Saul’s head, and strip off his armor. His body is fastened to a wall for public display. The people of Jabesh Gilead valiantly march through the night, retrieve the bodies of Saul and his sons, and burn them. They bury their bones under a tamarisk tree and fasted for seven days. (v. 13).

What a sad story!

Some takeaways for me:
1. To be sure, Saul was not a man who finished his life well. Might he have conquered the Philistines if his jealousy had not caused him to chase David all over the countryside? What if David and his men had been able to join forces with Saul? Needlessly dividing God’s people is never a good idea.
2. God allows the truth delivered by the spirit of Samuel to become reality as Saul and his sons die. One especially laments the death of David’s friend Jonathan.
3. The bravery of the men of Jabesh Gilead is admirable. Where is courage in my life to do what needs to be done?

Thus endeth our study of I Samuel. There is so much in this OT book that merits further study. Thank you for sticking with me in our work together!

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2018 in I Samuel 31

 

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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 9

A friend has died. A beloved friend has been allowed to die by the Lord of glory. Now He decides it is time to go and “wake him up.” Let’s look at these verses one more time …

6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Emotionally, this passage is rich, for we see what made Jesus “glad.” He says to His disciples, “for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” (v. 15). At whatever cost to us, and at whatever cost to Him, Jesus makes decisions that are intended to lead us into a deeper faith. (Later we will see Jesus’ sadness shown as He stands at Lazarus’ tomb).

The disciple Thomas (not the betrayer) instructs the other disciples about this suicide mission: “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (v. 16). It seems obvious what Thomas thought would happen. Maybe Lazarus will get resurrected, but Jesus and His followers will get executed!  But life, not death, is on Jesus’ agenda today, as the disciples will soon see.  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2017 in death

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 35)

Again Jonah wants his life to be over!  After affirming God’s grace, compassion, slowness to anger, and love, Jonah is ticked that God is not sending calamity on the people of Nineveh!  And he wants to die.  Again.

What a strange prayer request:  “Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (v. 3).  If chapter one had Jonah attempt suicide by sailors, chapter four has Jonah attempting suicide by God!

“It is better for me” — How in the world did Jonah think he knew what was BETTER for him?  Perhaps this is one illustration of the consequences of Adam and Eve taking the forbidden fruit:  “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil,” God said. (Gen. 3:22)  The test in the Garden was whether Adam and Eve would obey God rather than choose their own way.

Such autonomy produced devastating consequences.  Jonah, as one of Adam and Eve’s descendants, exhibits that autonomy by evaluating what he thought was “better.”  Watch out for those words in your own life — “It is better” — either thought or spoken out loud.  Who are you to decide?  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 14)

“Suicidal ideations” — that’s a term I learned in working with pastoral counselors!  And Jonah has a number of them in this book (suicidal ideations, not counselors!).  As the sea threatened to drown all of them, Jonah gets fingered as the one whose fault it was that the ocean was determined to gobble them up.

He volunteers to be chucked overboard, thinking that was the only solution to their dilemma.  Of course, all he really had to do was repent.  He could have had his own prayer meeting there on that stormy deck, asked his God’s forgiveness, and bought a ticket to Nineveh when they arrived (sans cargo) in Tarshish.

But REPENTANCE does not appear to have entered Jonah’s mind.  And the cause-and-effect thinking of the sailors left him, in his mind, with only one choice:  sacrifice.  Perhaps his offer is not as magnanimous as it sounds.  Perhaps he is beating them to the punch, thinking they would be ridding the ship of him as soon as they could.  But he didn’t know anything about their fear of the God he was supposed to share with others! (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2017 in Jonah

 

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