Call to Worship July 4 2021

Expository Thoughts on 1 Samuel 14:47-52

Human perception alone always clouds the overall perspective on life and happiness. These verses summarize an earthly view of Saul’s reign with mostly positive commentary. “This catches us by surprise,” according to D.R. Davis. “We’ve just heard an extended story depicting Saul in negative tones…and now we hear such a positive assessment! Whom to believe? If we want the truth, we must believe both.”[1] Saul was used by God to conquer the enemies of the Israelites and to prove to Israel God was always the greatest King.  

Saul fought many of the “ites” and defeated Israel’s enemies from every side. He inflicted “much punishment and plundered them” (14:47-48). His valiant victories are to be noted for several reasons. Although He did not rule as a man after God’s own heart, he did rule under the true King who loves His people. So God was leading and guiding even when Saul was not honoring God through his reign. Saul was under God’s authority although Saul often sought his own way.

Furthermore, man never brings ultimate blessing to himself or others. All the victories were won, but with constant turmoil and severe hardship. God’s warnings, of course, were correct (8:10-18). Saul had used their sons for all his battles with little return for their lives. Yes, predominantly their enemies had been kept at bay. Yet it is not as though Saul had brought them ultimate blessing. So, Saul is a definitive lesson that outward success does not equal true happiness.

God always brings joy to His people. No, this does not mean there will not be hardship. Remember the lives of Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Yet their perspective was different. They knew joy may be restored and finally completed by God alone. Even through remaining sin they sought the Kingdom of God foremost above all else. So they rested in Him and the promise of His Messiah. God ordered and orchestrates all the happenings of life. He wins battles along the way. The skirmishes He seems to lose are still a part of His ultimate purpose in victory over sin and Satan. Saul simply managed the earthly victories with little forethought and hope of anything greater than the moment itself. Not so with the LORD; His foreordination is a guarantee for hope, life, and eternal victory through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. May we have an earthly view that is founded upon an eternal perspective of the sovereign reign and covenant lovingkindness of the LORD almighty. Soli Deo Gloria!