A Refresher Course.
“Saul died in disobedience, disobedient to GOD. He didn’t obey GOD’s words. Instead of praying, he went to a witch to seek guidance. Because he didn’t go to GOD for help, GOD took his life and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.” – 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 MSG
For nine chapters the chronicler has painstakingly presented the genealogies of the twelves tribes of Israel. He has reminded them of their unique and rich heritage as God’s chosen people. They have returned from exile due to the grace and mercy of God. Chapter nine pictures a reinstituted priesthood and a revitalized sacrificial system at the temple in Jerusalem. This mention of the holy city reminds the people of their duty to worship God and Him alone. Jerusalem is also the city where the king resides. It is the place where David and Solomon had their palaces and conducted their reigns as the kings of Israel.
Now the writer is going to give the people a refresher course in how they got to where they are. He starts out in chapter 10 by revisiting the unflattering demise of Saul. He is going to juxtapose the reign of Saul with that of David and he does so by simply concentrating on Saul’s death. Chapter ten is virtually word for word what is recorded in 1 Samuel 31. What a contrast we seen in the life of Saul and that of David, the man after God’s own heart. Saul was the king appointed as a result of the people’s demand for a king just like all the other nations had. They got what they wanted. Someone who looked like a leader, but lacked the integrity and character that true godly leadership requires. Solomon was the king after the people’s heart. His name means “he who was requested.” But Saul had a problem. He refused to obey God and His prophet Samuel. Unlike David, Saul was not a man after God’s own heart. In fact, he really didn’t have a heart for God. Since Saul refused to listen to God, God reached the point where He stopped listening to Saul. God even chose Saul’s successor long before his life and his kingdom came to an end. God chose David.
The writer makes it clear that Saul died because of his own trespasses. He had sinned against God. Saul had refused to obey God and worship Him as God. In telling Saul’s story, the chronicler is telling the story of the people of Israel. They had been in exile all these years for similar reasons. They had failed to listen to and obey God. In fact, the very fact that Saul was ever on the throne goes back to the people’s stubborn insistence that they have a king – instead of being satisfied with God as their king.
The following chapters will contrast the faithfulness of David with the unfaithfulness of Saul. David was God’s choice for Israel. Because David was faithful, he reign was blessed. The book of Chronicles makes a repeated tie between blessing and faithfulness and judgment and disobedience. We can probably stand to listen to what the writer of Chronicles is trying to tell us. God is a holy God who demands that His followers live holy lives. But the good news it that He is not expecting us to manufacture this holiness on our own. He supplies all we need through the presence of His Holy Spirit and His written Word. We can live faithful lives and enjoy the blessings of God. We can live in obedience. We can be a people after God’s own heart. He has equipped us to do just that.
Father, may obedience mark our lives more than disobedience. May we be a people who turn to You and not the counterfeit gods of this world. We want to be faithful. We want to be pleasing to You. Thank You for making it possible through the indwelling power of Your Spirit and the truth found in Your Word. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men