1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines pressed hard after 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 critically.
4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through 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 with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.
7 When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite 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 three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard of what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men journeyed through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days. 1 Samuel 31
Wow, the end of a journey in so many ways! I believe it was in July that I felt God ask me to read
1 Samuel daily and write out my thoughts, well after 130 blog post I've reached the end. I really had no idea it would take me this long and how much God would reveal to me during the journey! If you have been following along it has been my pleasure to be your guide and share with you the things that God was revealing to me through His Word.
So here we are, at the end of what many would say is a wasted life. But God has used Saul's story to teach me about obedience, to remind me of my responsibility as a leader, and revealed areas in my life that still need work.
Here's what I got out of this last chapter:
As a leader if your heart is not in it you are easy prey.
There are some battles you must fight on your own, no matter how dependent you've been on some warriors who have served with you. (David was not allowed to fight in this battle.)
God's will trumps my desires. (Saul died the way God said he would.)
If the leader is taken out the people will scatter.
As a leader you must not fear the enemy more than you fear the Lord.
Leaders do not die alone; they take many innocent followers with them.
It's not only the leader; the people's disobedience can take out a whole nation also. ("Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will be swept away." – 1 Samuel 12:25)
As a leader people remember what you do for them. (Saul's first act as king was to rescue the people of Jabesh Gilead.)
Always wait for God's timing. (Saul thought he was done and tried to kill himself, but he couldn't – 2 Samuel 1:6.)
Disobedience, even in the slightest, will bring about tragedy.
Well, it's the end of this journey and the beginning of the next!