"Now the Philistines fought against Israel...the battle went heavily against Saul, and the archers severely wounded him. Saul said to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and thrust me through'...but his armor-bearer would not, for he was terrified. So Saul took a sword and fell upon it."
I Samuel 31: 1-6, Amplified Bible
"The Cost of Evil"
"If we be ruled by sin, we shall inevitably be ruined by it."
What was the mistake that King Saul made which led to his downfall?
Have I made a mistake in my life that has undermined my relationship with my heavenly Father?
In what ways have I clung to disobedient behavior?
"We cannot think lightly of sin if we think honestly of its results."
David C. Potter
"All the sorrows of faith put together do not equal in bitterness one drop of the sorrows of sin."
Not long ago, I read a comment which said, "There is a high cost in low living." This truth is certainly evident in the life of King Saul.
He was a person with such potential. He was a person with purpose. And furthermore, he was a person specifically chosen by God.
And yet he fell flat, both figuratively and literally! We find that after seeking counsel from a medium who called forth a spirit from the earth, Saul was so overcome with the horrid message delivered by the spirit impersonating Samuel, he fell flat to the earth. J.C. Ryle penned this statement which is a true description of what happened to King Saul: "There is no sin so great but a great saint may fall into it. There is no saint so great but (she) may fall into a great sin."
Not only does this truth apply to King Saul, but in the coming weeks, we'll see in vivid detail exactly how this statement applies to the life of David. If we go back in time to the incident in King Saul's life when he disobeyed God in response to his battle with the Amalekites, we'll find it was "the corners" which King Saul began to cut that started him down a path which was paved with arrogance and pride. When I was a young girl and I'd start acting like a little smarty-pants, my parents would say "Don't act like you are too big for your britches!" It was their way of reminding me that I wasn't as smart as I thought I was.
Unfortunately, Saul quickly developed a Big problem. He thought he was a Big deal and this attitude brought him low down.
Like Adam and Eve in Eden's Garden, they thought they knew as much or more than God. And foolishly, I would be a liar if I didn't admit I've acted the same way in my own life. This puffed-up attitude develops frequently when things seem to be going my way. When I'm coasting through life, it becomes easy to think I can handle things just fine. This was how Saul behaved!
But one day, he saw the Philistines assembled at Shuneum, and when Saul saw this host, he was afraid and the Bible records that "his heart trembled greatly!"
Has this ever happened to you? Things in your life are going great. You think you are navigating through the roadblocks just fine when all of a sudden you come around a bend and there in front of you is a host of Philistines. You don't know who to turn to for help. In the case of Saul, because he had willfully walked away from God, he sought the assistance of a medium, in direct disobedience to God's instruction, hoping he'd hear good news. Instead, he was hit with a message of death.
This brings me to the point of the title of today's devotional. In Romans 6: 23, we are told that sin pays a wage. The Message Bible paraphrases this text in the most distinctive manner: "Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master."
Sometimes it's easy to think of "evil" and "sin" as abstract ideas or philosphies. It may seem that "evil" can survive just fine with no consequences whatsoever. Sin appears to go on and on without any end in sight. However, as John Boys aptly noted, "Sin is the great punishment of sin." For Saul, the day came when his choice to turn his back on God drove him to fall on his sword. Sin was the way Saul declared his independence from God and the same can be applied to you and me. John Bunyan described the evil that infuses our lives when we sin in this manner: "Sin is the dare of God's justice, the rape of his mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power and the contempt of His love."
What a tragic legacy to be left by one with so much potential. King Saul, who in his early reign stood out, ended his reign falling down. Forgetting God ended up leaving Saul with the wage and payment of death.
"All sin is a lie. By it we attempt to cheat God; by it we actually cheat our souls."
William S. Plumer
"Spirit of comfort and longing,
enfold my fear,
unclothe me of my pride,
unweave my thoughts,
uncomplicate my heart,
and give me surrender."
"Cleanse the eye of our perception, O God, and purify our hearts, that we may will one thing, that Your way indeed be followed through."
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. The book, When A Woman Meets Jesus can be purchased wherever Christian books are sold. They may also be purchased for $8.00 through Paypal or www.transformationgarden.com or by calling toll-free 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.