“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” ― R Zaccharias
King Saul had totally given up on God, and God had removed His Spirit from him. Saul became totally obsessed with discovering the whereabouts of his divinely appointed replacement, David, so that he could kill him.
When Saul was chosen by God to be Israel’s first king, he had started out well. The Spirit of God had come upon him and given him every tool he needed to successfully rule Israel with wisdom, integrity, and power.
But Saul’s heart toward God was weak, and his faith did not stick. He began to wander further and further away from the Lord, until he was now in active opposition to Him.
Saul fell into a demonic obsession with killing David and had tracked him into the presence of the prophet Samuel. Even now, God gave Saul one more chance to turn away from evil and to repent, turn around, and head back toward the Lord.
22 Then he (Saul) also went to Ramah … and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” 23 So he went there… Then the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on and prophesied…24 And he also stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 1 Samuel 19:22-24 NKJV
After a long dry spell, King Saul was once again in the Presence of God’s Spirit, and he was overcome by it. He began to prophesy, speaking God’s praise as the Spirit gave him words. Saul even lay down naked before the Lord for a full day and night in awe of His Presence.
Saul would have been forgiven if he sincerely confessed his sins before the Lord. Anyone who approaches God in an attitude of humility, confession and repentance will be shown mercy, because of the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ would make on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.
David wrote about this blessing in Psalm 32:
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity. Psalm 32:1-2 NKJV
Saul’s story should have taken a turnaround for the better at this point. With God’s help, he could have accepted the situation with David as God’s will, and begun to act as a mentor and elder statesman to help David prepare to assume the throne of Israel.
Unfortunately, Saul’s story would take a more evil turn. His second opportunity at faithful obedience to God did not last, either. Saul returned to his homicidal ways, even attempting to kill his own son, Jonathan, when he began to suspect Jonathan was helping David to escape.
Full of envy, Saul began to spiral deeper down a path of sin and death. When we choose to abandon God to follow our own destructive ways, He will eventually give us over to the evil desires of our heart.
The apostle Paul wrote about this condition in the book of Romans:
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness. Romans 1:28-29 NKJV
Saul became a textbook example of a gifted life wasted by sin, becoming pure evil and working in direct opposition to God.
When Saul heard that Doeg the Edomite had witnessed David at the tabernacle getting showbread and a sword from the high priest Ahimelech, he became enraged enough to commit mass murder. He ordered his men to kill all the priests of the Lord, eighty-five in all, as well as the entire town of Nob, where God’s tabernacle was. Saul’s men were repulsed by the order and refused to carry it out, but Doeg the Edomite, seeking Saul’s favor, obliged him.
Saul’s evil obsession with David had now become a national tragedy for Israel.
We need God’s loving presence to help us successfully navigate the journey of life. We turn to God each day, trusting His Son Jesus Christ to bring us strength, deliver us through our trials and help us to walk in obedience to Him.
Lord, keep me free from the slippery slope of sin, which will surely take me down a road of death and destruction if I choose to live my life without You. Help me to stay close to You. Keep me on the road of faith, which You have lovingly prepared for me. When I sin, help me to return to You, confess it, and experience the goodness of Your forgiveness. Though I am unable to live “sinless”, help me to “sin less” as I walk through each day.
Protect us, heal us, and guide us. Help us to walk with You in purity and freedom. Use us to reflect Your light, hope and faith to those around us. Bless all those who desperately need Your help or a healing touch. Draw new believers from all corners of the world to Yourself.
We ask this in the name of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.