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Sermon 4/9/00
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Beth Shan


Sermon presented in Israel

(House of Security)

The Two Sauls

Beth Shan

  • Assigned to Manasseh (1 Chronicles 7:29, Joshua 17:11)
  • Gave forced labor (Joshua 17:12-16)
  • Users of iron chariots (Joshua 17:16)
  • Near the feeding of 5,000 (Luke 9:10-17)
  • Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants (1 Samuel 31:10-13)
  • King Saul’s corpse hung there (2 Samuel 21:12-14)

 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In 1 Samuel 31, we find King Saul and his armies defeated by the Philistines, and running for their lives.  He did not escape, for he was "severely wounded by the archers" (1 Samuel 3:1-3).  Saul ordered his armor bearer to run him through with a sword, "lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through, and abuse me" (31:4).

His armor bearer was "greatly afraid" (this was his king) and he would not do it.  Saul then took a sword and killed himself.   This was a brave man.  We would call him a man’s man, but he was not a Godly man.  His armor bearer saw Saul’s death, and then ran himself through, just like his king.  Many years later, in 66 AD, another Saul (a.k.a. the Apostle Paul), would be killed by a sword, which was held by an "uncircumcised" man, a Roman soldier.

The one Saul killed himself to avoid embarrassment (to save his pride), and the other died for the glory of God.  The difference between Paul and Saul, is profound, and another excellent comparison is between King Saul and King David.  All three of these men were flawed (we ALL are flawed), but two of them came to God, whereas the third died as he lived - doing life HIS way.

An important distinction, and one that has great consequences, in your life and in mine.

King Saul often tended to act, and forget to pray.  David would sometimes forget to pray and then act, but he prayed later, and sought forgiveness.  The apostle Paul was a man who prayed in everything.

Don’t misunderstand, however, for all three of them had been religious.  King Saul was undoubtedly among the first in religious observances, as was the younger King David.  Saul’s namesake (who later became Paul the Apostle) was the same way, until he encountered the power and love of God.

"’Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts" (Zechariah 4:6), and He continues on into verse 7:   "Who are you, great mountain?  Before Zerubbabel, you shall become a plain…with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’"   In our lives, we tend to be like the mountain, high and lifted up, and we are disappointed, when life brings us low.  Yet, when we are, it is opportunity in your life for God, who offers "Grace, grace" to you and to me.

When David was brought low, he looked to God.  The later Saul, who was also Paul, was brought down from his lofty attitude, and he learned to worship the Lord.  King Saul never did, although he had the same opportunity.  He chose to carry on, in stiffness and arrogance, and he died, still clutching his sword and his pride.

From the human perspective, the two Sauls had been very much alike.  Both attended religious services, both participated in outward prayers, both tithed, fasted, and spoke much of God.  Both died by the sword; but one by the will of God, and the other by his own hand.

To what extent are we self-willed, right now?  Each of us needs to "trust in the Lord with all your heart", but King Saul leaned to his own understanding.  God teaches us "in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."  What is the watchword of YOUR life?  Is it stress?  Think of yourself in 10-years - where are you going, in relation to your present circumstances?

The answer for you and for me, as it was for both the king and the apostle, is "trust in the Lord…and he will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Father, we confess we don’t even know how to trust in You.  We want to be "good" but we also understand there is no one good, except God Himself.   Lord, we confess our self will, and our arrogant self-determination.  Heal us, and bring us completely to the Messiah of God.  In His Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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