1 Samuel 31 - An Empty Life
1 Samuel 31
1Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. 2And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul's sons. 3And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. 4Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. 5And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. 6So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together. 7And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. 8And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa. 9And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people. 10And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan. 11And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; 12All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. 13And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
Today's Scripture Meaning
Saul's defeat and death. (1-7) Saul's body rescued by the men of Jabesh-gilead. (8-13)
Verses 1-7: We cannot judge of the spiritual or eternal state of any by the manner of their death; for in that, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. Saul, when sorely wounded, and unable to resist or to flee, expressed no concern about his never-dying soul; but only desired that the Philistines might not insult over him, or put him to pain, and he became his own murderer. As it is the grand deceit of the devil, to persuade sinners, under great difficulties, to fly to this last act of desperation, it is well to fortify the mind against it, by a serious consideration of its sinfulness before God, and its miserable consequences in society. But our security is not in ourselves. Let us seek protection from Him who keepeth Israel. Let us watch and pray; and take unto us the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Verses 8-13: The Scripture makes no mention what became of the souls of Saul and his sons, after they were dead; but of their bodies only: secret things belong not to us. It is of little consequence by what means we die, or what is done with our dead bodies. If our souls are saved, our bodies will be raised incorruptible and glorious; but not to fear His wrath, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell, is the extreme of folly and wickedness. How useless is the respect of fellow-creatures to those who are suffering the wrath of God! While pompous funerals, grand monuments, and he praises of men, honour the memory of the deceased, the soul may be suffering in the regions of darkness and despair! Let us seek that honour which cometh from God only.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of 1 Samuel with Chapter 31 and we see the death of Saul and his sons. What catches my eye is looking at the life of Saul. A man who had everything on the outside (looks, wealth, fame, etc.) but had little on the inside (lack of Godliness) In making application we see many lives that follow this same direction. Focusing on the outward man they lead empty lives that end just as empty. The truth is a life without Christ is a empty life. It reminds me of a story I read of a football player that had it all on the outside but on the inside was empty and ended his life. He didn't see the value in the life that Christ died on the Cross to forgive his sin and give him life that is fulfilling and full. How about you? Is your life full as God created it to be? I can testify that a life with Christ is much better than a life without. If you have never received this fulfilling love of the savior let me encourage you to seek Him and His Salvation. Let us learn from our text today and the life of Saul to see that a life without Christ is a empty life.
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Sincerely, Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.