“So, Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the Lord; therefore, He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse” (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).
After describing the descendants of the various tribes of Israel in the first nine chapters of the book of 1st Chronicles, the inspired author now turns his attention to the first kings of Israel. Whereas the book of 1st Samuel describes King Saul’s reign over 21 chapters, the chronicler only devotes one chapter to Saul’s reign and focuses solely upon the final days of Saul as dies in battle at Mount Gilboa in a battle with the Philistines (1 Chronicles 10:1-10).
As mentioned in the opening verses above, the writer of 1st Chronicles makes it perfectly clear why Saul died. He died “for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord” (1 Chronicles 10:13-14). He then describes in what ways Saul had been unfaithful.
First, Saul had been unfaithful to “keep the word of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 10:13). At the very beginning of Saul’s reign Samuel had told Saul to wait for him and Samuel would come and offer sacrifices to the Lord. Instead, Saul grew impatient and offered the sacrifices himself (1 Samuel 10:8; 13:8-14). On another occasion God, through the prophet Samuel, told Saul to utterly destroy all the Amalekites and their possessions. However, Saul chose to spare Agag their king and the best of the animals of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:2-3, 12-28). Saul was unfaithful because he refused to follow God’s commands!
Saul was also unfaithful because he “consulted a medium for guidance”, but “he did not inquire of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 10:13-14). Before the eve of the battle against the Philistines in which he would lose his life, Saul was greatly afraid and troubled. King Saul then consulted a spiritualist, a medium, for guidance as to what he should do (1 Samuel 28:8-19). Saul’s failure to humble himself before God and seek God’s guidance and direction in his life was another way he had been unfaithful.
The life of Saul is a very sad one. His kingdom had started out so promising as he had been anointed by the prophet Samuel and blessed by God to lead the people of God (1 Samuel 10:1). However, because of his unfaithfulness to follow God’s commands to him, God told Saul that he would tear the kingdom from him (1 Samuel 13:13-14; 15:27-29). Rather than accept God’s judgment upon him regarding the kingdom, Saul spent the rest of his life fighting against God’s Will for him as his soul was filled with distress and his heart was filled with jealousy over David who would succeed him (1 Samuel 16:14; 18:8-9). Saul would spend the majority of the 40 years of his reign pursuing David all over the countryside trying to kill David in his jealous rage.
As I think about Saul, I surely do not want to follow his example. I do not want to die the death of the unfaithful. I rejoice that God has not left me to guide myself in life. He lovingly gives me direction because He made me and knows what is best for me. I will strive to seek His guidance and heed His commands for me in my life. “Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah!”
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12)