1 Chronicles 10 quickly changes from a discussion of genealogy to that of the life of the king. Saul was still the leader of the Israelites, and they were under attack from the Philistines. Things weren’t going well “and the men of Israel fled”. It was a massacre of huge proportion. “The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons”. They continued to chase the Israelites and could smell victory. And they dealt with Saul’s sons and “struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul”.
Saul could see the writing on the wall. He would soon be captured and his worst nightmare would be that he would not be killed but rather tortured. So he asks his armor bearer to “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it”. After all, he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his days as a prisoner of war. But the armor bearer is afraid of Saul and “feared greatly” and refused, so “Saul took his own sword and fell upon it”. He was determined to put an end to his life as not to be captured. The armor bearer saw what Saul had done and follows suit as he didn’t want to be captured either. So “Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together”. Rough day for the Israelites and the house of Saul.
So why did this happen? Why did God allow the Philistines, who were godless enemies of the people of Israel, to ransack His chosen people? The Bible makes it very clear: “Saul died for his breach of faith….He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord”. Want to boil it down to a word? It would be obedience. Saul died because he failed to listen and obey what God told him to do. He moved from following God to putting self on the throne and making the decisions about what he wanted rather than what God expected from him. Saul replaced God as the One who was in charge. And God doesn’t share that spot at all. He alone is God. He alone is worthy to be Lord.
Scripture gives us a little more insight into the problem. Saul “also consulted a medium, seeking guidance”. He didn’t turn to God for direction, but followed the ways of man to find out what to do. God alone wants to be the source of what we do and where we go. He alone is Lord. And Saul lost his way. “He did not seek guidance from the Lord”. Are you guilty of the same? Do you follow your own directions, or get guidance from others rather than God. Who is your GPS – God positioning system? I’m not insinuating that God will kill us if we fail to walk with Him in faith and follow His guidance. But I do believe it is His desire and expectation. For Saul, it was a requirement, and failure to obey cost him dearly. “Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse”. He lost all he had because he lost sight of the One who truly owns it all. We must keep our eyes on the Father. He alone is in control and worthy of our praise.