We have walked with David through hills and valleys over the last several weeks. Yet he is still not king. God has been forming him through the good and bad. He is almost there. But in this week’s text, David’s name is not mentioned. The story turns to another central character in the saga.
You may remember Saul’s encounter with the witch at Endor in chapter 28. Samuel speaks from the dead to inform Saul of his impending doom. In this week’s text, we see Samuel’s words come to fruition. We know from chapter 28 that Saul’s death is a result of disobedience. Samuel declares,
(1 Samuel 28:18–19 NIV) Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today. The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.
This is terrifying news for Saul. In chapter 31, Samuel’s prediction comes true.
As we study chapter 31, we might notice that details are matter-of-fact. The author of 1 Samuel does not recap the why of these events. He simply describes the tragedy. He is solemn, even reverent in his report. As we read about Saul’s death, we might be tempted to celebrate. Finally, David’s status as fugitive will be in the past; the stage is set for him to be king. But we must be careful to hold the party. Saul’s sin and death are not something to celebrate. It is a national tragedy approached in a somber tone.
As we reflect on 1 Samuel 31, we are challenged in our understanding of sin. Too often, we take pleasure in the consequences of sin. With noses in the air, we lecture of God’s justice. Yet, sin should cause us to weep, to mourn, to feel the pain of a broken world. Join us on Sunday as we explore the death of King Saul. May we learn what it means to grieve over sin in our world.