Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10- Who Killed Saul?

July 10, 2011

Scripture Readings:
1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14; Acts 27:21-44;
Psalm 8:1-9; Proverbs 18:23-24

Anything under God's control is never out of control.  
~Charles Swindoll

1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14

When a great leader is murdered there are often multiple conspiracy theories on who was behind the killing.  Take for example the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., to this day no one is quite sure if there were multiple parties involved in hiring the persons who shot these men.  For Lincoln, some say there was a Confederate connection.  For JFK, the theories include the CIA, the FBI, and even the Mafia.  For Martin Luther King, Jr. it is a bit murky.  Many people believed that there was no way that James Earl Ray acted on his own.  In our Old Testament reading, we finally get clarification on who killed Israel's first king, Saul.

In the books of 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings, the history of the kings of Israel is given from man's point of view.  Great portions were written about King Saul in those books.  We learned about his anointing, his troubled relationship with David, and his death in battle.  Today as we read 1 Chronicles, we have God's point of view about Israel's history.  God's viewpoint only allows for one small chapter about the first king of Israel.  God also clears up who killed Saul.

In 1 & 2 Samuel, Saul was mortally wounded in battle against the Philistines.  Saul asks his armor bearer to kill him to avoid the humiliation of being killed by the Philistines.  He refuses.  Saul then falls on his own sword.  It is unclear if he dies as a result of doing this.  Later, an Amalekite goes to David and claims that he killed Saul upon his request.  The young man does not realize that David will have him killed for doing this and dishonoring the Lord's anointed king (2 Samuel 1:16).   This brings up a question.   Did the Amalekite really kill Saul?

Today in 1 Chronicles, we read that Saul was mortally wounded and falls on his sword and dies.  Saul's armor-bearer also falls on his sword and dies, just as in the account in 1 Samuel.  The Amalekite must have been lying and must have just seen Saul when he was dead.  But this still does not answer if Saul truly committed suicide.  God answers this question in today's passage. 

We learn that Saul's head is severed from his body by the Philistines and hung in the temple of Dagon.  You may remember that Samson was in the Temple of Dagon when he moved the pillars and destroyed the temple.  This is the same pagan god of the Philistines.  Valiant men come to take Saul's body and the bodies of his three sons to be buried properly in Israelite territory.

But now, we have the answer to our question.  In 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, the Bible tells us that God Himself killed Saul because Saul failed to obey the Lord's command and because he consulted a medium for guidance rather than the Lord.  Does this seem harsh to you?

Remember that in the Laws of Moses, the penalty was death for consulting a medium.  This was one of the regulations that was designed to keep the Israelites as a set apart people group.  They were to be holy and committed to the One True God.  Saul had decided to consult Satan, rather than God.  This just would not do.  So in the end, it is God who took Saul's life from him.  The Lord gives life and the Lord can take life away. 

Lessons:  Don't consult psychics or mediums about your future.  This shows a lack of faith in God.  Worse yet, it shows a reliance on Satan, rather than a reliance on God.  God is in control. Trust Him, alone.

Do you try to find out the future through horoscopes, mediums, or psychics?  Do you trust God to allow your future to unfold without trying to get the answers through these means? Do you have enough faith to trust God without trying to see into the future?

Acts 27:21-44

Today, Paul and the men on the ship are in the eye of a hurricane.  Paul has an "I told you so" moment.  He HAD told them so, but they had not listened to him, and now they are adrift in a terrible storm.  Have you ever had this happen to you?  You make a few bad decisions and all of a sudden you are in a hurricane of trouble. 

One thing that stood out to me as I read today was that the Apostle Paul is salt and light to the men on this ship.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-16,
"You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Paul's words and actions are good deeds that cause these men on this ship to praise God in heaven.  Here are some of Paul's salt and light actions:
  • Paul tells the group to take courage because no one is going to lose their life.  Vs. 22
  • Paul says that an angel of the Lord came to him and said that he (Paul) had to stand trial before Caesar, so everyone would survive the ordeal because of Paul.  Vs. 23-24
  • Prepare to be shipwrecked on an island. Vs. 25
  • Paul warns everyone to stay on board the ship in order to stay alive. He stops certain sailors from abandoning ship. Vs. 30
  • He encourages people to eat and sets an example by eating first. Vs. 33-37
  • After being strengthened by eating, they throw over more cargo to lighten the ship. Vs. 38
  • Paul's presence prevents the commanding officer from allowing the prisoners on board to be killed. Vs. 42-43
  • Everyone escapes to shore safely, just as Paul prophesied. Vs. 44
Wow.  Can you believe what a blessing the presence of the Apostle Paul on that ship was to everyone?
This is how God wants us to be in the world.  As followers of Christ we are to be salt and light as we help to preserve those around us and guide those who need a light while navigating through dark and stormy times.

Lesson:  I should be salt and light to those around me.  With the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I can give wise advice to people in need and share God's perspective and comfort to those who are experiencing life's storms.

Does your faith in God translate into being able to help others through tough times?  This is one reason he gave you the Holy Spirit and put you on earth.

Psalm 8:1-9

Notice in this psalm that God put us in charge of everything on earth.  This is why we need His Holy Spirit!

Proverbs 18:23-24

A real friend sticks closer than a brother.

What did you learn today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton