What A Mess!


God, regardless of my circumstances, help me to live in light of eternity.


Read: 1 CHRONICLES 10:1-14

[1] Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. [2] The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. [3] The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him. [4] Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and abuse me." But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. [5] When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died. [6] So Saul and his three sons died, and all his house died together. [7] When all the Israelites in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them. [8] The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. [9] They stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news among their idols and their people. [10] They put his armor in the temple of their gods and hung up his head in the temple of Dagon. [11] When all the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, [12] all their valiant men went and took the bodies of Saul and his sons and brought them to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones under the great tree in Jabesh, and they fasted seven days. [13] Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, [14] and did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. 


Reflect: What legacy will you leave?

We have 12 days together to travel through 1 Chronicles, thinking mainly of what makes for good leadership. But we begin with bad leadership: enter (and exit) Saul. The passage is soaked in blood. Israel's army, Saul's three sons, the armor bearer and Saul himself, all lie dead.

What is going on? The answer is a failure of leadership. Saul began so well (1 Sam. 9:16) but then dipped into an alarming downward spiral ending with the carnage on Mount Gilboa. What went wrong? Saul's leadership is increasingly marked by the wielding of power for his own well-being instead of the exercise of authority for God's glory. The Chronicler is in no doubt about the root issue (13): Saul turned away from God's purposes. Unfaithfulness led to disobedience which turned into panic and a sad reliance on witchcraft. So his kingship unraveled.

You and I are unlikely to experience such a dramatic downfall, but disloyalty to God, held in the heart, will bear its unwholesome fruit in due time. The only answer is the devotion we shall trace in David's life (1 Sam. 13:14). Please read on--it gets better!



Read 1 Samuel 13:14. May my heart be faithful, my will obedient, and my eyes fixed on Jesus.



Lord, You who search hearts, search me and lead me to live in truth and for Your glory alone.


Syndicated via Scripture Union


Terry Schneider